Weekend Travel Inspiration – Moslih Eddin Saadi

Weekend Travel Inspiration - Moslih Eddin Saadi



Realizing that observing means different things to people, I set out last school year with a goal to teach my students how important it was to observe the world around them and then how to do it.  Every day we had a discussion about what we’ve observed.  Starting out with Dictionary.com and the definition of this crucial life skill, the first one is to see, watch, perceive, or notice.  Okay, done.  However, seeing something is not enough.  It’s the second definition of the word that I wanted to to teach them, “to  regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something.”  I would say that with our discussions, and the amount of time we spent on it that I was moderately successful.  Our classroom conversations started to revolve around human interactions, how the changes in the season looked and felt as well as how it effected our lives.  It was a much richer, more meaningful discussion that a mere “what happened.”

I think many travelers have mastered this skill, but I also know many who have not.  I can’t say I don’t travel to see things.  I am just as interested in seeing the Taj Mahal or the Seine as anyone, but it’s not the only thing that keeps me interested.  I want to observe daily life, parents and children, important family events, art in all forms, workers of all kinds, transportation systems.  I want to learn about the culture, experience the food, the dance, and try to understand what it is like to live there in that climate, or with that pollution, or without running water, or having to wait on the road and hitchhike to go to town.

Traveling, and most importantly, really observing the lives of the people who live there, helps me to try and put the world in perspective.  It certainly makes me realize how spoiled and lucky I have been in life, and helps me to appreciate diversity.

What do you think?  Are you an observer? Is it a crucial life skill?

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Weekend Travel Inspiration - Moslih Eddin Saadi


  1. I think I am observant in some cases and not with others. I am observant with people, moreso than with places or things. Trying to learn photography is helping me with this and blogging is certainly helping me. Well, more accurately, I’d say it is helping me to realize how much I miss so I can try to improve next time. 🙂

  2. I am a people voyeur in the very best way. I love watching people just do their normal day to day things. It is often the very best parts of the travels of not the best. Gordon and I can be sitting at the one place, see the one thing and interpret it totally differently. It is a game i guess.

  3. I agree it’s often the little things that make a journey or experience unique and to see these little things you have to observe. I like the idea of your lessons on observation. When I was in middle school we had to write an “observation” every week. It was a piece of creative writing (I can’t remember how many words, but a decent amount) on a very small thing, like turning on a tap or picking a flower.

    1. Phoebe, One of the reasons I chose this theme for the year is that I feel everyone is so self-absorbed or into their cell phones to even notice what’s going on, much less learn from it.

  4. I had this same thought while in Tokyo this year. Even though I wanted to see all the “tourist” sights I also wanted to get a glimpse into daily life – I think more so here than anywhere I’ve been (it was my first trip to Asia) because it was all so very different than my daily life in the states. I am happy we stayed in a suburban area so I could see the moms and kids together, schoolchildren on their way to school and families eating dinner together. Those are actually my fondest memories of Japan.

  5. Agree a 100% with everything you have written in here. Without observation, great part of the travel experience is lost. Observing how people interact and carry on their daily lives in a place I visit is one of the things that satisfy me the most when I travel.

  6. I do like to observe too when I’m traveling. My favorite thing to do when I’m in a different place is to just sit in a neighborhood coffee shop or garden – watch people and eavesdrop. :p I enjoyed this thing the most when I was in Paris for a week – there’s something about the Parisians which is just admirable.

  7. What a great skill and one that is very often overlooked, I couldn’t agree more. I might have to do that with my own students! And I like this topic for a future blog post. Thanks for the inspiration, as usual, guys 🙂

  8. Now that I blog, I must admit that I have become very observant in my travels. I want to share the essence of a place and how I reacted to it, not just mere instructions about how to tour a place. I do think it is a crucial skill, so good for you for teaching it to your students.

Share your thoughts!