The Traveling Community: A Closer Look

5 Dec

            From a young age, I caught the travel bug.  I like to think I have the right to blame as well as thank my parents for such an expensive yet rewarding passion.  I have traveled throughout the United States, as well as to parts of Europe and Central America.  While my parents and older sister feel a strong connection to Central America, I on the other hand have always loved Europe.  At the young age of ten, I had the luxury of traveling to London with my family for three weeks.  The instant I stepped off the plane and walked about the streets of London I could feel the energy of the city.  Last year, the travel bug brought me all the way to Italy to study for three weeks.  Similar to London, Italy has an indescribable feeling and energy.

            During my time in Italy, my professors cautioned us about protecting our money and belongings because Europe is known for pick-pocketers.  My professors not only warned us about pick-pocketers, but about Gypsies as well.  Gypsies were mainly described to me as young traveling girls (and young boys) often wearing provocative clothing.  I heard horror stories from friends about being backed into a corner by gypsies.  For example, one of my best friends warned me that she heard gypsies threw their young children into the arms of tourists as a way to distract them as they stole all their money and belongings.  The tourist would be in such shock that the Gypsies would have enough time to take their child back and run away with their newfound riches.  After hearing only negative things about gypsies, I began to develop a picture in my mind of that all gypsies must be like this.

            Once I arrived in Dublin and began to sign up for mobile seminars, I chose to sign up for Pavee Point in the hopes that I would learn about the Gypsy and Roma community.  Once I arrived to Pavee Point, the experience exceeded my expectations.  Not only did I learn about gypsies, but about the entire traveling community (which I knew absolutely nothing about).  After meeting two travelers and hearing them speak to our group, I learned that traveling from place to place is a part of their life and culture.  Just as I have the urge to travel and experience new cultures and places, the traveling community has the same desires as well.  Traveling has become a way of life for these people.  Prior to Pavee Point, I assumed that the travelers were always on the move because they did not have money or the means to be settled.  However, it is quite the opposite.  The travelers live in wagons with their family and craft bins out of metal to use for trading their crafted goods for food.  Pavee Point opened my eyes to the stigma that both the world and myself have placed on the traveling community.  Just as my way of life comes with being settled, theirs comes from traveling—and with the information I learned at Pavee Point I have realized there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.




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