Josh Bolinger: Why Travel is Essential to Learning
Travel is a life-changing experience.
One of the greatest experiences of my life was getting the chance to see the world outside my own little zone of comfort. Experiencing another culture, seeing how the people of other nations lived first-hand and meeting people whose lives were different in so many ways had a very profound impact on me. I learned things on these trips you just can’t learn in a classroom. There are certain skills, experiences and relationships that can’t be taught – they have to be experienced.
In this time of exploding college debt, when students change their major an average of three times before graduation, I feel that people need to take some time to know themselves, and to experience a bit of the world outside their own home base, before assuming a lifetime of debt – often in the tens of thousands of dollars – to pay for a degree that they have no real plan for using. Education is never wasted, of course, but going to college just because you believe it is a necessary step in life, and having no thought beyond that as to why you’re there, can lead folks to make very poor use of their time, and assume more debt than is necessary to help them get ahead in life.
While my opportunity to see and live in other countries was very eye-opening, even traveling to another state within the US can do wonders for perspective. When I relocated from New England to Texas, I certainly had my eyes opened, enlarged my mental map of the world, and broadened my understanding of cultural differences to a great degree.
The best advice I think anyone can give a person just out of high school is to know yourself, and to also know something about the world around you. Enlarge your experience, and know who you are and what you really want out of life. Then you will be able to plan your education from a set of clear goals, and make the most of your time in school.
7 thoughts on “Why Travel is Essential to Learning”
Even a short stay in another country can open one’s eyes to a new culture or a new way of doing things. I remember learning a lot when I was in the military and it really changes your perspective on life and the world around you.
You can learn a lot from people in other parts of the world, especially when you open your minds to their culture and listen to the stories they have to share.
Its amazing what stepping out into the world and getting away from your comfort zone can do. I was able to go to Guatemala a few years ago and wow, what an incredible place and beautiful people. It made me realize how fortunate I am to have the things I do. My life was changed because of this trip and I am so glad I did it.
A move from New England to Texas is a big change! I moved from Georgia to United States and their was a culture shock for me that I thought I was prepared for but really wasn’t.
I love the idea of travel being a part of people’s education. If you go out there and get to know people, it changes how you see them. Less likely to hate or dismiss.
I worked for a few years after finishing school, got married and then began to travel with my wife. What a journey it has been, physically, emotionally and mentally. Even after traveling for many years I can’t confidently say I completely know myself, but I certainly know myself a lot more.
There’s nothing like getting out of the comfort of your own home and going somewhere completely different. I grew up in a pretty normal town in the midwest and lived a pretty sheltered life, after graduation my girlfriends and I decided to go on trip to Spain. What an amazing experience and an eye opener for a midwestern farm girl. The Spanish are an amazing people and in those two weeks I learned not only a lot of about Spain and it’s culture but a lot about myself as well.
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