Yesterday, I was working at one of my favorite schools. A place that I am going to be broken hearted to leave when my contract ends in nine (9) weeks. Yes, nine weeks. Of my year in Japan that is all that remains left to it.
We were speaking about a friend of mine who cancelled his contract early, and went home. She was introduced to the new replacement and the school told her the reasoning for my friend leaving was so he could attend school back in America. This is what the company said in order to show face to the school board. It is a half truth.
She continued on saying, "Many people who travel, like you, love school and go back." The slight language barrier (as her English is great) initially had me feeling a little defensive. I took it as meaning that instead of working we run to school.
She clarified and said, "No it's good. People your age, like you, who travel, like school." She's right.
A few weeks ago, I pondered on whether or not there is a correlation between how much someone travels and how important higher education is to them.
For instance, my best friend, who (hands down) has travelled more than anyone I know has been a doctor since her mid-twenties. A bonafide (pardon the pun, B. lol) genius in my eyes.
My friend Daniel, who I boast having an international friendship with. For we have only met three times in real life, and it's only been in major international cities. He's another one whose gaps in traveling were only filled with obtaining a master's degree in Salt Lake City (and snowboarding, of course).
For many of the new friends I have made in Japan, continuing through higher education is on their radar, as much as continuing travels are.
And myself...as many of you know I got accepted into the University of London, Goldsmiths College this fall, and am due to begin my masters in Sept of this year.
Is there a correlation between heavy travelers and this need for higher education?
I'd venture to say yes.
When you travel the world, your mind is opened in ways unimaginable. You are tested. Sponge-like, you soak everything in and you are educated through life. This theory is not un-like the same one I proposed during my Commencement speech, in Madison Square Garden, on behalf of Iona College's undergraduates, in June 2006.
As I said then, we got the textbook education, now don't waste it by faulting on acquiring the life experience education.
I personally feel you cannot fully benefit from one without the other.
Travel is an addiction for those who do it a lot. Travel is also a type of learning. Learning that some people simply cannot do without.
Sadly, a rendition of learning that some people are too scared to attempt.
There is less fear in opening a textbook, than getting on a plane to a place that may shake up your comfort zone and your beliefs.
In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, I had a dear friend (who has family there) tell me that this disaster woke him up to what has been going on in the world. You hear about tsunamis, mudslides, earthquakes, etc...happening all over the world. Because it isn't in your immediate area, you don't feel the affliction. Now that is has happened somewhere that he has a personal connection to, it has become more real, more tangible.
Sadly, this initial complacency is true until it hits home.
When you travel, you never forget. It becomes difficult to be complacent because you KNOW, FEEL, OVERstand, and in some cases have SEEN what these people are actually going through. That is the education of travel.
For me, travel is too important not to.
I hated History/Social Studies in school because I felt I couldn't relate to it. Now, if I was to take those classes again, it would be a whole other story.
My future goal, with my future family, is to be able to have my kids travel during summer vacation to the places they are learning about in History books during the school year. I want them to have both facets of learning, as soon as possible in life.
With that, I would like to say....this India visa is looking real sexy in my passport right now. ;)