“Travelling is the best education.” as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe noted. Whenever we’re abroad, no matter where we are travelling, we get the feeling of learning so much. You certainly know this feeling, too. But what causes this feeling? I will reveal here the 3 secrets which will make you feel wiser after travelling.1. You start your adventure full of joy. And here’s the first key! Because you are full of joy and anticipation, your brain increases perception. On the contrary, if you’re managing a situation only half-heartedly, without any interest, you can’t even remember it after a few weeks.
Do you remember those days, sitting in the classroom, without any desire to listen to boring topics, the days when the sun was shining outside and you had to get your homework done…inside? You’ll remember more positive than negative events. So, if you’re happy and curious, your mind will automatically soak up everything around you. If your brain is in travel mode it is full of anticipation and ready to learn.2. You become more courageous and more ready to leave your comfort zone. No doubt, you’re braver during your travels! Abroad, it’s easier to do things you would never dare to do at home. You get overwhelmed with lots of new feelings and strange situations. You lose the fear of the new!
With how many strangers do you talk during a journey abroad and with how many do you talk at home during the same period? How many unknown doors do you dare to open inside your comfort zone and how many while being on the road?3. Here comes the biggest secret which will make you learn more while traveling abroad… you are exposed to new surroundings, different cultures.
I see our horizon, our potential to learn, as a marble cake. We are a thin slice of it and everyone around us is another slice with nearly the same marbling. From the beginning we copy everything that happens around us, our friends, our family… because it feels familiar, “the same marbling”. How have you learned your mother tongue? With grammar and vocabulary? No, you imitated your surroundings until you learned it! And this is 90% of our being.
The more we move away from home, the greater the marbling changes! I remember that day when we landed at Changi Airport, Singapore. This was our very first time in Asia. We headed up to the baggage claim and I was looking for the restrooms. While standing in front of the urinal a man appeared next to me and spit loudly, full of enthusiasm, into the urinal. A few seconds later, another man came in, gave a friendly nod and started farting like I never heard before! I mean WTF, is this Asia?!
Whether it’s a Bedouin guiding you through the desert or a French man who can’t live without his daily baguette, you’ll always meet people who are different from you and who will turn your comfort zone upside down. These are the people with different marbling. If you accept them, you’ll accept their culture and you begin to learn. Maybe you’ll even start to lightly imitate those people and their lifestyles. At the end, you realise that your attitude starts to change. And you feel more comfortable with it than before. Your slice of marble cake begins to grow and it contains more structure, more of you… and more chocolate!
That’s the pleasant thing about travelling, that even the ordinary gains the reputation of adventure through novelty and surprise… as Wolfgang von Goethe said.
And these are exactly the secrets that make you learn while travelling abroad!