Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. – Mahatma Ghandi
Mixing Travelling & Learning
Nelson Mandela, Ghandi and Einstein all emphasised the importance of education and that lifelong learning is one of the most important skills you can develop.
When I finished university and decided to travel the world, a lot of my friends doubted my decision.
“Dan, you’re not going to be employable if you go gallivanting around the world. What about gaps in your CV? Qualifications? Certificates? Accreditations?”
If there was one thing I’d learned from 3 years at University, it was that I didn’t need a certificate to prove my worth.
I knew that if I was proactive with my intentions, I could learn many new things while simultaneously travelling the world.
So with an open mind, off I went.
And sure enough, I was blown away with the potential for learning through new experiences.
Everything was new, and whether it was blogging about my travels, learning how to make wine, or hitchhiking for the first time, everyday there was something new I could try which encouraged me to leave my comfort zone.
Not only that, having the opportunity to learn new things added purpose and meaning to my travels and gave me something to work towards.
If you’re considering long term travel and setting off on a gap year and want to add purpose to your travels and learn something while you explore then here’s a few ideas to get you going.
Ways to Learn While You Are Travelling
Technology has led to the obsolescence of location. As a result, coupled with a proactive mindset, laptop and internet connection (even without) there’s great opportunities to learn new things while simultaneously travelling the world:
1. Take A Hobby on The Road – Is there a passion that is small enough to carry in your backpack? On the road i’ve met people who are painters, musicians and writers. They roam the world while working on their passions in their spare time, and even make money from their passion to fund more travel.
One of my friends started out scribbling in in a journal 3 years ago in between journeys and now makes enough to travel the world by drawing portraits of people in each city he visits. You can do the same if you can find a way to package your passion in a convenient way that you can carry with you and offer to people you meet on the road.
2. Teach Something While Travelling – Do you already have a skill that you can teach other people on the road? Perhaps you are a translator, yoga or English teacher, and you can offer your skills?
There’s also potential to monetise your skill and fund your travels. For example, if you want to teach English on the road, then taking a TEFL course is a great starting point.
3. Start A Business – If you’re business savvy, with a laptop, internet connection and you can start up a low cost business from anywhere in the world. To mention a few ideas, you could start a blog about your travels, offer consulting (social media, marketing, strategy), invest in the stock market, or freelance with pretty much anything.
4. Learn a Language – Learning a new language will open up a world of new opportunities for you and truly complements the travel-learn philosophy. Why not settle down in a place for a while and immerse yourself completely in a new culture? Most cities will offer integration courses and with a quick search on Facebook, you’ll be able to find group pages for Tandem Partners. If you want to be a bit more casual about language learning, then Duo Lingo is a great starting point.
5. Books & Media – All those long bus journeys and delayed flights make travel a great opportunity to read, read and read a bit more.
I personally prefer physical books but when travelling it can be troublesome to carry them. I’ve found book swaps useful in cities to get over this problem. Interestingly, one of my friends rips out each page he reads and puts it in the bin (not for me, but each to their own).
If physical books aren’t for you, you can carry 1,000s of ebooks, documentaries, and media on a hard drive. I have a 2TB hard drive which I use to store all my self-development resources, books, and media. With a simple hard drive or even the cloud, you can free up some space by leaving your laptop behind and using local libraries or incubators to do your work.
6. Work Abroad – There are great sites such as Workaway and Helpx that give you the opportunity to volunteer for about 4 hours a day in return for food and accommodation. From agriculture to hospitality to learning English, you can find all types of jobs.
Alternatively countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada offer working holiday visas. Here, you have the freedom to get jobs in any industry and learn tonnes of new skills. Here’s a useful website to find out more information.
7. Self Development & Learning About Yourself – Last but certainly not least, travel gives you a great opportunity to learn lots about yourself (especially if you decide to travel on your own).
It’s a great idea to take a journal with you and use this as a means to monitor, reflect and explore yourself. Instead of writing about what I’ve done, write about your feelings, what you’ve learnt, and the people you’ve met.
Other ways you can invest in your own self-development on the road too: yoga/meditation retreats, visit libraries, attend TED talks, university lectures, visit start-ups, research interesting projects in each city you visit, and meet interesting people through sites such as Couchsurfing and MeetUp.com.
Of course, you don’t have to learn something or have a purpose while you travelling.
It’s equally beautiful to travel with no plans and simply experience if that’s what you want to do.
Learning on the go is simply an option which can add purpose, mission and direction to your travel adventure.
Thanks for reading and all the best,
Daniel Beaumont, 31st May 2016
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
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