Unlike a classroom that confines learners to only the knowledge that textbooks provide (some of which is inaccurate), the world out there is one big pool of raw, undistorted data. The more you quench your thirst for knowledge in this pool, the more you realize how thirsty you are for more and more. What’s more, traveling is a fun form of education which doesn’t require you to sit for exams every now and then. And again, where else can you study as you vacation?
Technology has made traveling easier and cheaper than ever before. Like in my case, I’m able to backpack across continents together with my kids with an unimaginably small budget. Vacation rentals are everywhere nowadays so accommodation isn’t an issue anymore while blogging and YouTubing has grown to become reliable income sources for travelers. If you are anything like me, therefore, you will be able to travel the world with only a camera, a laptop, a versatile bag, and anything else that you feel is essential for your traveling.
I know what you are probably asking yourself right now: Are there other solid reasons that would convince me to leave everything behind and follow the wind all over the world? Well, here are the 5 reasons that qualify traveling as the purest form of education:
1. History is most real when you travel
If you are a history enthusiast like my kids and me, you will find traveling very fulfilling and fun. Everything you have read in your school library is a tiny part of a greater puzzle that is the history of the world. Do you want to understand British history in the rawest form? Just visit London; walk around its streets and visit different museums. Do you want to learn more about slavery? Visit West Africa, the Caribbean, and the USA and talk firsthand to the descendants of the slaves. In a nutshell, you will understand the history of a people by interacting with them and sharing in their pain.
2. A road to self-discovery
For those who travel purely for vacation purposes, traveling is a bed of roses whose extravagance and glamour is to be admired. But this isn’t entirely the case. Traveling with the aim of learning takes you to places that you can’t fathom as of now. You will meet people who live in abject poverty, societies that were destroyed by civil war or diseases, as well as people who have experienced the worst form of tribalism, ethnicity, and religious intolerance. I have seen all these; I have volunteered to help where I could. At the end of it all, I have developed a stronger sense of resilience, tolerance, courage, and patience. My kids have discovered strengths, passions, and interests no one would have thought they had. If life is a school, traveling is, indeed, the best class to be in.
3. Boosting your social skills
Social skills, social development, and a host of other courses taught in high schools and colleges are good at boosting the learner’s confidence, but they cannot beat traveling at that. Traveling necessitates inner confidence that helps you to ask for directions from strangers, speak foreign languages even when you understand very little of it, and trust people you probably could not have trusted had you been home. The practicality of traveling boosts your social skills in ways you can never imagine.
4. You learn new languages
Forget translation apps and the foreign language classes you’ve been attending. Traveling and interacting with a language right from its source is invaluable. If you want to learn French, book a vacation rental in Paris and spend some time with French native speakers. During summer, If you want to master English and yet want to visit some of the best beaches in the US, I would recommend visiting Florida. You will learn the official language, the slang, the exact pronunciation, accent, and much nitty-gritty that your teacher cannot teach you. My teenage son speaks 5 international languages fluently and can get along with about ten others, yet he has never been to any language class.
5. You understand the grandeur of nature
Are you a nature enthusiast? How many conferences on global warming, nature conservation, air pollution, and climate change have you attended? As many as they could be, their combined value can never exceed the value of a trip to regions affected by all those things. You cannot appreciate the importance of wildlife conservation until you visit Africa, for example, and discover how poaching is swiftly wiping wild species from the surface of the earth.