Since at the moment I’m on the stage of planning to get to know other continents than Asia, like to have a very long retreat in Italy, experience sustainable living in Switzerland, hang out with friends and family in England, go on a holiday to Playa de las Americas, I also feel there are people who can never understand why some perpetual travelers go on journeys like this.
Some people think that traveling is an expensive hobby. But not many people realize traveling and seeing the world is a great global education that you can never learn if you confine yourself in the classroom or the office cubicle. I have realized those valuable lessons and so I’m sharing with you what I have learned when you think I’m just spending unnecessary money:
Math skills. I have learned how to convert currency from Peso to Dollar to the currency of the country where I am in. I love math when I was studying in College (I suck at this subject in Elementary and High School). But to be honest, I fumble during practical applications. Traveling forces me to put theories into practice, otherwise I will be out of money if I don’t keep track of spending!
Barter and Negotiation skills. I have learned how to score cheap plane tickets and I have learned how to negotiate and haggle in the market, and even in hotels :D.. Trick is to ask different sellers selling the same product/service.. then buy from the one that is offering the cheapest price, and then haggle down more xD
Social skills. The typical traveler for many -> Western people from a rich family.. Well, I don’t belong to the bracket. If people will judge my shy and frail skinny appearance, people will find it hard to believe this wee lady has traveled solo at some point in a formerly closed country, Myanmar; or survived living in one of the poorest region in India, Kolkata, on 40+ degree weather.
I never knew what I’m capable of until I was thrown out of my comfort zone. I also thought I’m that shy frail skinny lady not capable of making any friends but hey, I checked on facebook and I’ve got friends all over the world including Tajikistan and Slovenia! What more if the Universe has granted me a gift to travel around the world ;D
I learned how to live the present moment. I don’t think much of events that is not under my control when I travel. It might be selfish to not think of the typhoons in the Philippines while you’re enjoying the weather in Thailand.. But sometimes, being worried is not helping. I’d rather stay calm, pray, meditate, that all will be well. And of course do the drill – the never ending fundraising and volunteering activities after every typhoon xD..
I now understand the culture and food differences of people. I understand the way that Indians like to eat with their hands even on public places. I have Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu friends and we all get along. I still try to appear that I’m not shocked when some friends drinks, smokes, I hope they do realize health is wealth.
On the other hand, I realized the value of being vegetarian and the health hazards of eating too much sweets.. And I hope my friends also understand why I point on things with my mouth. Or have to raise both of my eyebrows when agreeing. Or respond to someone who shouts – pssst!
But I also realize, even if I have learned life skills on the road and have met lots of people all over the world.. it is another challenge when you get back to the roots and re-learn everything for you to be part of your society again. Learning to reintegrate is another life skill that a person who has come back from a long journey also needs to master.
For those on the crossroads, let me know how we can help you in the transition. I may not be able to cater to your need, but I can refer you to people who is more knowledgable than me in this so called life.
For now, let’s enjoy the planning stage of travel again.. ^_^