Before I begin to my epic monologue on why travel may or may not have given me a better education than school ever did, I want to say that everyone’s experiences are subjective and unique. Just because this is how I feel about travel, doesn’t mean you should drop our of university and become a globe trotting nomad who lives out of a backpack (even though you are more than welcome to, if that’s what your really believe you should be doing).
I have been traveling from the young age of 10, and I’m not talking about trips to Florida with the fam. I’m talking month long journeys, with heavy itineraries, and a non stop go-go-go attitude. How my parents thought a 5 week road trip around 6 European countries with two little kids was a good idea, is beyond me. But strangely enough, I think it is this trip that has sparked my interest to travel in the first place. It is on this trip that they started taking us to world famous museums, introducing us to architectural marvels, and showing us that there’s more to the world than what’s in our front yard.And while some part of that trip might come up a bit hazy in my mind now, I can whole heartledly say that it was this exposure at such a young age that has shaped who I am now.
Since then, not a single year has gone by where I haven’t been to at least one new country, totaling to 43 countries in my 22 years here on earth. So how exactly has that helped me?
Other than always being ‘that girl’ at parties and dinners that says annoying things like ‘this pad thai taste so mcuh like the one we had in Phuket’, it has travel has given me an unparrelled amount of skills I wouldn’t have otherwise learned.
For one, it has done incredible things for my memory. While school may have exercised my short term memory, perfect for cramming things into my brain prior to an exam, travel has given me something more. I am able to recall the name of each and every small town or village I’ve ever been to, I can identify virutaly any artist’s work based on previous work I’d seen, or remember the name of virtually any restaurant I’ve ever been to. And while that might not seem to translate to a real-life skill that would be used on a daily basis, I believe that my ability to remember these facts is what helps me remember ‘non-travel’ facts as well.
Another ‘skill’ travel has given me is a sense of urgency. While I agree that ‘slow and steady wins the race’, there are times where decisions have to be made quickly and efficiently. Real life situations are the only thing that can give you practice like that, for example deciding what’s the fastest possible route to the train station in peak traffic in Vietnam to ensure you don’t miss your train and are stranded for three days. This also goes hand in hand with the ability to time manage… which I have gotten much, much better at.
I still went to a university and got my degree (which is important in much different ways), but I just believe that life experiences, mainly those I've gained through travel are what shaped my mind and the person I am today far more than school ever did.