School gives us the foundation to survive this world, university gives us skill sets to thrive in this world and traveling the actual world gives us everything else.
“Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.” -Paulo Coelho
Vagabonding is an enlightening hands on education, training and experience for invaluable life lessons.
Culture Shock is Like an Adrenaline Sport
Most humans don’t actively seek the high of adrenaline coursing through their blood. As it’s a response to stress, increased heart rate, pulse rate, and blood pressure caused by fear, stimulation and or too much excitement – symptoms of culture shock. Symptoms that a select few find gratifying and thrilling like extreme sports enthusiasts.
Ever since I started to embrace the “shocks” of experiencing new cultures, it has become the most intense learning, self improving and fascinating experiences in my travels.
Living Out of a Backpack is Optimal
Although I was a minimalist before traveling the world, I took it to another level by effectively living out of backpack with great satisfaction. It’s profoundly liberating to be this mobile and efficient without the literal and figurative baggage of a “normal” lifestyle. I carry about 1/3 of the gear of typical nomads, yet my functionality and comfort is equal or greater.
I’ve learned that you don’t need a massive backpack to live out of a backpack, just the essentials. Male or female, traveling for a week, a year or indefinitely, people just don’t need a lot of stuff.
Getting Lost is a Great Way to Explore
In normal circumstances, getting lost is one of the 3 worst things (accident and police incident) that can happen while in transport. But when I’m out exploring a new city, I tend to wander without direction or a specific destination and the result is often rewarding.
Being lost compels me to hone my navigating skills but more importantly, it takes me off the well beaten path to places and things not in guide books. Places and things that I would never have found without getting lost.
Culture Offers Immense Knowledge
The world is like a perpetually self-writing interactive textbook full of history, art and ideas. Culture being the most significant of the world’s knowledge. Culture shows us the past, present and future of a people.
As my understanding of the different people around the world advanced, I’ve become significantly more; socially perceptive, tolerant, intelligent and evolved. Knowledge on a level no school or training can offer without literal hands on experience traveling the world.
There Are no Races, Just 1 Species
We humans started from a single race but now there are about 30. While the differences and diversities of each race is what makes us special, its also what keeps us detached and conflicted. From extensive travel as well as living in many parts of the world, I realized that people are all the same no matter where they are from – that is, once I got to know them.
Our looks, beliefs, lifestyle and of course culture may vary greatly, but in essence we are all the same. Now I have a broader, more open-minded and intelligible perspective on the world and myself.
The Low Cost of Happiness
Although I’ve long retired, I still make a decent living. But at the risk of oversimplifying, I spend much less as a world traveler than I ever did living at “home”, all the while being happier. Exploring and living in poorer countries makes you see that happiness is not expensive.
For example, a $2.50 dinner for 2 people with 5 courses and drinks. Sure, it makes me happy that it’s so cheap, but it’s because it’s cheap and damn good that makes it special.
It’s deeper than that though. Seeing people live and smile with so little is a beautiful thing, of which I’ve learned from. Money can most definitely buy you real happiness, but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive.
These are just a few of the life lessons that world travel can teach but there are countless others to learn with more time and distance.