For those of you who are still contemplating taking time off from work and school to travel, this one is for you. As it may seem irresponsible, illogical and costly to travel, you may want to go over the pros and cons before foregoing the opportunity to travel. That college education you're paying for surely isn't the most logical thing to do with your life, and it's definitely not the only way to "educate" yourself.
In our modern-day society, the successful ones are those who have practical intelligence, those who have high emotional intelligence and those who are intellectually creative. It's highly debatable that formal education teaches us these crucial elements. This leads to the next point that there are many differences in the education you obtain between formal schooling and the education of a traveler.
1. You truly experience foreign economies and cultures.
Rather than making a PowerPoint presentation about them, the best way to understand a foreign economy is to live there and to gain firsthand knowledge about its culture and ways of living.
Although you think you may know statistics about a country's unemployment percentages and such, you'll obtain a grander gist of things while living in a foreign country by experiencing the real vivid energy of the economy and its people.
2. You learn new languages in the streets of native countries.
The thing about learning a language at university is you hardly speak it outside the classroom, but when you travel, you are surrounded by the language on a daily basis and speak it with the natives.
3. You obtain an entrepreneurial mindset and tangible life skills by experiencing the real world.
Rather than studying theory in a classroom, traveling teaches you creative ways to live and to get by, as you are challenged through many scenarios that will enhance your ability to persevere and get sh*t done.
Entrepreneurship is one of the most crucial skills you could obtain nowadays, and it's a skill that can only be obtained by overcoming adversity out in the real world.
4. You establish connections and make friends in different countries.
Something about meeting people when you travel is special, as you tend to cherish those friendships in a unique manner. And who knows? You can potentially meet a future business partner, lifelong friend or your soulmate, as traveling opens so many doors to meeting new people.
5. You learn how to communicate effectively with all types of diverse people.
Meeting people from all over the world teaches you how to communicate in various manners, as you learn how to spot out distinct accents, read body language and pick up on different forms of slang.
The value of person-to-person contact is much higher than any valuable lesson you could learn in a communications course.
6. You self-educate while reading books on trains and subways.
In my opinion, nothing inhibits creativity more than being stuck in a classroom and going through a monotone routine of studying and assignments. Rather than studying for standardized tests, self-educating gives you the freedom to learn whenever you want, wherever you want, as long as you're curious.
7. You become a better version of yourself while soul-searching through your travels.
Rather than taking a personal development class, you teach yourself about yourself while traveling. Isn't life constantly about personal development? Who needs a class for that? Traveling allows you the freedom to learn about yourself in a creative manner, without having to do homework or take tests on the subject.
8. You live in hostels instead of dorms.
Hostels are quite similar to dorms, and they're a great way to meet new people and connect with likeminded individuals from all around the world with whom you can explore and party.
9. You learn valuable philosophy and business lessons during deep conversations with people in hostels and cafes.
All those business classes normally come back to the same principle of supply and demand. Do we really need four years to grasp that concept?
This concept is constantly portrayed in the real world, and it doesn't take a degree to learn it. When traveling, you will stumble upon diverse and intelligent people who you'll share meaningful and valuable conversations with, and that's much more memorable and valuable than any philosophy or business course.
10. Most importantly, you gain real world experience and candid life lessons you never could have learned in a classroom.
Life is based on moments and experiences, and nobody can take away those palpable experiences you had while traveling. You can only fully grasp the world by exploring it, which increases your competence on the bigger picture of life. A piece of paper doesn't do justice for our lives; it's the journey that's important.
The best thing is, you aren't learning all these things with the intention of getting a degree. Rather, you are just enjoying life while accumulating the knowledge and lessons in a subtle manner. You genuinely become a better person while traveling, and you also become smarter, more creative and more cultured.
So, to those who are still contemplating traveling, take into account all the benefits you can gain, and don't worry so much about your degree for the time being. School will always be there, but your youth won't.
If you are really worried about it, then you can open up a Microsoft Word document and create your own "travelers degree." Make it a bachelors, a masters or even a PHD if you feel like you've earned it. Either way, traveling brings you a lot of education, and to those who haven't traveled yet, the world is awaiting your arrival.