If you didn’t know already, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. There, I said it. I even dressed up as him on my 19th birthday. Basically, I want to be Harry Potter. But that’s a whole other kettle of fish.
The series of books are probably the most popular ever and for good reason; not only do they act as a form of escapism to a fantastical world, but they can teach us many things about life in general.
This might be the part where I create a religion based on Harry Potter. Or it could be where I highlight the things we can learn about travel through the books. Let’s go for the latter so I don’t get the people in white coats knocking on my door any time soon.
Knowledge is all around us
Yes, the Harry Potter books are based around Hogwarts, a school where witches and wizards can learn about their powers and how to use them. Yes, these lessons take place in a traditional classroom setting with desks, books, and chalkboards. But this isn’t where the trio of friends do most of their learning. In fact, I would guess that the majority of knowledge gained by the characters in the books is collected from outside the classroom when they are solving magical problems and trying to put the good back into the wizarding world.
Where does travel fit into this? Just remember that learning can take place anywhere. It doesn’t have to equal stuffy classrooms or textbooks. Knowledge can be gained all over the world and in many different ways.
Home is all about the people
Remember that scene at the end of the first book where Harry, Ron and Hermione are getting on the Hogwarts Express to head home for the summer and Harry says “I’m not going home,” even though he technically is in the sense that he lives with his aunt and uncle. What he means is that he has created a new home where his friends are.
Where does travel fit into this? Home can be anywhere. Yes, lots of people love having a place of their own to go back to after a stint of travelling but it’s just brick and mortar. Home can be anywhere in the world if you are with the right people.
Most people are willing to help
Regardless of what kind of creature they are or what magical powers they have, the majority of characters in Harry Potter are willing to help him out (I’m talking Dobby the House-elf, Buckbeak, Bane the Centaur). But they don’t just help him out for the sake of it; he treats them as equals and they return the favour.
Where does travel fit into this? You will find that regardless of where you are in the world, the majority of people you come across will be willing to help you out if you are polite, friendly and respectful.
Ignorance makes you bitter
Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and Cousin Dudley are probably the most hated characters in the books. Why? Because they are ignorant of the magical world, because they treat Harry badly out of fear, and because they aren’t willing to be open minded.
Where does travel fit into this? Life is difficult and bitter for ignorant people. It’s obviously okay to be scared but to treat someone badly because of it? Not so much. Travelling with an open mind will ensure there are no nasty surprises along the way and, overall, will help you have a much better time.
First impressions aren’t always right
Snape was a tricky one to figure out throughout the books. He went from bad to good and back to bad before returning to good again. Harry made a quick judgement on him when he first met him which kept faltering as time went on. Remember the Quidditch game where Harry thought Snape was trying to kill him but he was in fact trying to save him?
Where does travel fit into this? You might find yourself judging a place very quickly based on a series of unfortunate events as soon as you arrive and during your time there. It might be that your plane was delayed, you got mugged, or you simply weren’t ‘feeling’ it. I felt exactly like this when I visited Madrid earlier this year – I made a rash judgement based on my personal experience there. Of course, Madrid isn’t a bad place and many, many people love visiting it. Instead of being bitter about my time there and promising to never visit again, I can’t wait to head back to see if my opinion has changed.
Are there any more lessons Harry Potter can teach us about travel? Do you agree with the above lessons? I would love to hear your view!
About the author: Lizzie is a full time marketing assistant and part-time travel blogger promoting the ways to get the most out of grab-it-when-you-can travel. She spends her time creatively thinking of ways to plan trips around her job and advocating the idea that you don’t have to be ‘homeless’ to enjoy the perks of frequent travel. Aside from this, Lizzie likes questioning why people travel and the psychology behind it, watching crap American TV programmes, and drinking too much tea (cider). You can find out more about Lizzie here (go on – I know you want to see what’s behind the melon…)