“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” Mohammed
As a teacher, much of my instructional time is spent convincing my students that what I am teaching them is important for life, and it is. But, in many ways, I feel that travel is more important. Seeing and experiencing the world is a better way to learn about it, and I believe, it is much more effective than sitting trapped between four walls at a desk watching the clock. Which is why, I try to bring the world back to my students by showing them pictures and telling them stories of life outside their middle school mentalities.
For me, the ideal teaching situation would occur outside the walls of a school, and instead, take place as an exploration of the world. There’s no better way to learn about culture or history than to actually experience it. If teachers could bring their students on field trips across the seven continents in place of classroom-based instruction, the world we live in would be an entirely different place; one full of understanding and compassion with far less prejudices and stereotypes. Beyond that, travel is important in each person’s journey to self-discovery, something that can also be difficult to teach within a school setting.
My views on travel and the lessons learned by it, come from my own experiences. Travel has been extremely enlightening, especially in helping me understand more about myself and the world I live in. More importantly, it’s been essential in my own path to self-discovery. Just three years ago, I was completely lost, unhappy with who I was and the life I was leading. I didn’t know where to turn.
But then, I found myself fully immersed in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. I could completely connect with her, along with her experiences. After many relationship problems, Gilbert realized that she completely lost sight of who she was, which was exactly what I was experiencing.
Not long after, I found myself, in Gilbert fashion, using travel as an escape, an experience, and opportunity to find out who I truly was. Not only did I discover who I was, but I also fell in love with travel. When I realized that I couldn’t rely on anyone else to make me happy, I began to understand that travel was something that could make me happy and fill the void of emptiness I felt for so long. I began to see what Gilbert meant, when in Eat Pray Love she said,
“…Traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt…that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves.”
Travel was my great true love, and a love that I would never fall out of. One that would always make me feel good, loved, and positive, never put me down. It has taught me more about myself then any other experience that I have gone through. Not only have I learned to face my biggest fears, but I have also overcome the anxiety that was hanging over my life for so long. I have started to break out of my comfort zone, learning along the way that it isn’t always as easy as it may seem, even when you want it to be.
So, my lessons in travel have not come from classrooms while studying abroad, or during cooking classes in Asia, they have come from my experiences in each country and from those I’ve met in my journeys. They have come from the time I’ve spent alone in transit or those late nights out at the bar. They have come from my thoughts before drifting to sleep or while lying on the beach under the warm sun. They have come from sitting in a cafe watching life go by or by talking to people in the markets. To me, these are the lessons we learn that make life worth living, that make life exactly what it is meant to be. And, they are the ones that we will forever take with us on this journey through life.
This post is part of BootsnAll’s Indie Travel Challenge 2012.
Week three’s topic: Indie Travel: Have you ever studied or taken classes on a trip? What did you study, and perhaps more importantly, what did you learn while on that trip? What would you like to learn on your travels this year?