The Power of Travelling

“The world is a book, and those who do no travel read only one page.”

Living in the 21st century the opportunity to see the world has never been greater. A quick search now tells me that the furthest city from my home town of Edinburgh is Dunedin, New Zealand. For less than £1000 I could go. Not that I have a spare grand lying around, but it’s very much saveable. For that price I would be able to see the full influence of travel in the world with Dunedin taking its name by the old name for Edinburgh and actually being modelled on Scotland’s capital. The perfect opportunity to see the real influence of human adventure over the years. Around 60’000 years ago humans first ventured out of Africa to all corners of the globe. With this brought visible changes to the world and the start of how we can change our planet; for good and for bad. Since then we have seen the rise and fall of many, many empires and changes in power and religion but this is all done by the natural human impulse to travel and explore.

Working for Tree of Knowledge allows me the opportunity to see parts of my country I would have never seen before. Couple with my personal travels, I am now lucky enough to have visited places like Laurencekirk and Los Angeles, Dunblane and Durban, Shettleston and the Shetlands or even Bradford and Bangkok. The incredible thing about this is that no matter where I venture, these places go back to how they were after the briefest of moments in each other’s company.

Or do they? I’ve always been a believer that places and travelling changes who we are but we also change the places we go. Seeing the extreme poverties in a South African township allowed me to experience a level of empathy previously unknown. The affluent Orange County in California afforded me a heightened, and slightly materialistic, ambition usually out of character for me. These places have undoubtedly changed me but they’re just places. Some of them have long lasting cultures, all weird and wonderful in their own way but you just have to look at Dubai over the last 20 years to see the massive impact humans continue to have on the world. So instead of this idea of going through life to try and ‘find yourself’, why not go through life and build who you are? Allow yourself to take small parts of the places you go to learn and grow. Leave your mark and take from it what you can.

Beyond this, remember that you shape the places you visit too, so think about how you do this and the effect this has on the next visitor. Above all, don’t litter.


Stuart Fenwick (@StuFenwick7)

Motivational Speaker at Tree of Knowledge (tree_of)


My top 5 motivational songs

Guns n Roses – Paradise City

The album that really kicked off my appreciation of ‘proper’ music. I first heard my big brother’s copy of Appetite for Destruction when I was about 7 and instantly the pop culture of Steps, the Vengaboys and the Spice Girls was in the bin. Whilst I wouldn’t exactly describe GnR as a motivational band, there are few things that get someone more pumped up than a good rock song. With the heavy drums and the classic sound of any guitar played by Slash, it gets the blood flowing. It would be an awesome entrance song to walk on stage to!


The Beach Boys – Then I Kissed Her

A little before my time. In fact I wasn’t even born until 1988. Yet this band, formed in 1961, were actually the first band I saw live. It was in Copenhagen some time around 2002. With my mum, my dad and one of my brothers we went into Tivoli Gardens just for a bit of sight seeing. There were arrows pointing in the direction of stage saying ‘Beach Boys Live this way’. We followed them assuming it would be either a tribute act (it wasn’t), fully booked (it wasn’t), rubbish seats (it wasn’t) or too expensive (it wasn’t). So we managed to get into the standing section less than 100 yards from one of the most iconic bands of all time for the entry fee in Tivoli Gardens. This was all a week before they were playing Edinburgh Castle back in our home town for £70 a ticket. What an experience as well as an amazing introduction to a whole new field of music.


Macklemore – Same Love

A great album for various reasons, but this song in particular has such an amazing message in it. The lyrics are strong enough to be a political and moral broadcast alone. Regardless of political persuasion everyone should battle for equality and standing up for the rights of all those around you. This song puts that into words alongside the amazing vocals of Mary Lambert and it works perfectly.


Oasis – Rock n Roll Star

I knew from the start that Oasis would be in here, but narrowing it down to one song has been really difficult! Ended up with Rock n Roll Star for the simple reason that doing the work we do at Tree of Knowledge, you have to portray the confidence of a rock star on that stage. There can be however many doubts floating about in your head before an event, but you need to walk up like one of the Gallagher brothers with a bit of a swagger and use that to make it awesome. ‘Tonight, I’m a rock n roll star’.


Circa Waves – T-shirt Weather

As the name would suggest, this is an awesome summer song. I believe one of the things we should look for in an inspirational song is something you’d like to drive along too. Not a drive when you’re in a rush and stuck in traffic; but a drive on the open road at your own pace and, of course, in the sunshine. Speaking from experience this song absolutely does that. It makes me think of nothing else in my life other than the amazing feeling of the sun on your back. There’s an amazing open and free feeling that summer can give, symbolised by the t-shirt and when it gets to the time of year when that happens, the good mood just comes naturally.


Stuart Fenwick (@StuFenwick7)

Motivational Speaker at Tree of Knowledge (@tree_of)