Travel is the best kind of education you can enjoy! It takes you on a journey and makes the world known to you in ways you may have never expected. When you move across borders, you learn, change and evolve in many ways. From meeting people of different cultures and seeing incredible sights to stepping out of your comfort zone and doing things you never imagined you could! Travel education teaches you new things every day. It is definitely a form of learning anyone can invest in!
It is easy to look at a map and have an idea of what a country or region is. However, when you physically travel there, you begin to see and understand it in a new light. You begin t understand just how small we are and how big the world is. You also realise how much more exploring there is to be done! Sometimes it’s only upon your return that you find how much you’ve changed and what you’ve learnt.
Here are a few reasons why travel is a special kind of teacher:
Yes, there are people all over the world and this is something you can do in your own neighbourhood, right? Wrong. Getting in touch with people from a different culture than your own teaches you things on a whole other level. Whether it is the idiosyncrasies of your fellow travellers or those of the locals you meet, there are different lifestyles, modes of etiquette and types of heritage to dig into. You will think about things you’ve never thought about, and realise just how much your own culture differs from the others out there. There is a wealth of knowledge out there.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. – Saint Augustine
When you travel you have the time to learn more about history. There is just no textbook that can measure up to exploring museums and visiting historic landmarks. To wake through the Colosseum, stand inside the Acropolis in Greece, or take in the sombre Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial in Austria is like a history lesson in itself. And it moves you as a person. You’ll understand more about how nations were shaped, where we come from and where we’re headed.
In Italy people go for post-meal walks; in Portugal people sit on street corners drinking coffee and eating pastries; in England, people have tea and scones somewhere between breakfast and lunch. Outside of your culture, there is a whole world made up of others. And the same way you realise the differences, you also get to know the similarities, and you realise that people are people and there’s more common ground than you think.
Once a year go somewhere you’ve never been before. – Dalai Lama
In truth, Italian cuisine is so much better when you’re actually in Italy. Eating a macaron in a French street cafe while listening to the French locals in the background – nothing like it! Eating pretzels and drinking local beer while visiting a Bavarian beer hall? Party in your mouth. Food experiences are a massive part of travel and they change the way you look at food and local staples. You also find and taste food that you’d never thought you would even consider eating. Back home you will go grocery shopping with new items on your list. It’s just one of those things travel does to a person.
Travel forces you to learn new languages; to try and say “hello” and “thank you” in someone’s mother tongue. Even if you’re not into learning a second or third language, travel will develop your communicative capabilities and teach you how to slow down, listen and speak in a way other people can understand. Friendliness is the international language after all, and when you travel, you get to hear it in every dialect!
Our views of other countries, cultures and people are often influenced by what we see in the media. Travel gives you the opportunity to get out there and figure it out for yourself. You get to experience people inside of their culture, their own context. You get to know their history, their reality, even the weather and the way they commute to work and school. The more you travel, the more you begin to understand people and the world we live in.
Don’t tell me how educated you are. Tell me how much you’ve travelled. – Mohammed
To get around without your car or the bus you’re used to taking. To order coffee in a language you don’t speak nor understand, and to wake up in a city you’ve never been in. That’s what it means to be outside of your comfort zone. It asks you to grab the opportunity and make the most of your time. You get into a new routine, shake off any insecurities and get by with what you’ve got – fellow travellers, a map, some Wi-Fi and good old human instinct. In short, you gain independence and that’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
There’s an expense to travel. Saving to travel and planning a travel budget is something all of us have to figure out in order to travel. Learning how to do some forward planning and learning how to manage your money out on the road is a valuable skill. There’s no better place to learn how to balance a budget than in a foreign country with a foreign currency. Things like exchange rates, tipping, lodging, entry fees and so on come into play, and you rely on locals and guide books (or your Expat Explore tour leader) to find the best deal, the nearest ATM (cash machines) or a great free experience in town. You’ll soon learn that the important thing is to come home with a bucket load of memories, and not bills or debt.
Travelling is not something you’re good at. It’s something you do. Like breathing. – Gayle Foreman.
Possibly one of the most important things about travel. You experience yourself in a whole different context. You become a photographer, a storyteller, a nomad, a daredevil, a globetrotter. You learn how to live and not simply exist. You learn that adventure is the best way to learn. It also makes you more thankful. Thankful for the opportunity to travel, expand yourself, to be able to make memories and have stories to tell.