Reclaiming The True Purpose Of Travel – Beyond The Likes & Country Counts

Social media and the chasing of certain travel goals can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, they have connected travelers and brought together an amazing community. They have shone a light on beautiful and unique places and helped immensely with logistics and planning. At the same time, one cannot but help feel a tinge of sadness at how travel has seemingly been distilled down to likes and followers on social media, records and claims, and country counts. As such, it is critical to reclaim the true purpose of travel and ask ourselves: What got us excited about family road-trips when we were children? How have we perceived travel as more than just the physical act of visiting a country? How has travel helped build and reinforce connections—both with strangers and with loved ones? For many of us, the latter is especially poignant, as the pandemic put a firm pause on travel for an extended period of time and kept us away from family, friends, and loved ones for months—if not years. Join Debjeet, as he talks about how travel not only helps to discover new lands, disabuse preconceived notions, and yes—check some country-counting boxes; but also serves as a powerful vehicle for creating bonds, making new friends, and coming together as family to celebrate, grieve, and heal.

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Debjeet Sen is a global expert in early childhood development, who travels while working full-time in a challenging, fast-paced job. While this requires him to travel at a fairly steady clip and make optimal use of leave schedules, it does not prevent him from immersing himself in countries to learn more about them. He loves learning more about the politics and recent history of countries that he visits. His travels have taken him to 166 UN countries and all seven continents, his favorite regions being Patagonia, Central Asia, and the Sahelian countries of West Africa. Debjeet’s favorite travel companion is his mother—who is still spoken of in hushed tones up and down the Pamir Highway for her dislike of mutton and legendary putdown of rude border officials. He is grateful for the numerous wonderful friends he has made through the travel community and cherishes the many memories created with them—including, (nearly) kidnapping a poor police officer in São Tomé.

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