We enter this world as newborns with an insatiable curiosity. Because suddenly, snatched from the comfort of the womb, we’re dropped into this foreign world where everything is new: the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, everything.
But as we grow, and as we ‘mature’, our environment becomes familiar. We can no longer just open our eyes to find a world of discovery; we must manufacture it. So we end up entertaining ourselves with university, careers, and heaven help us, reality TV.
Surely there’s more…
The last straw is when you catch yourself saying, “Wow, you learn something new everyday”. Because people don’t say this as a statement of fact; they say it when they’re honestly surprised to learn something new. Personally, I think it’s a grave travesty when learning becomes so unexpected.
So how do we re-visit that day when we left the womb; the day when life wasn’t such a grind and the world really was our freshly-shucked oyster? Simple… We travel.
When you open your eyes in another dimension (let’s imagine Calcutta, Cairo or Cartagena) you’re not clutching for the odd life lesson, you’re completely swamped by a world of contrasts. As you look in any direction, you see a world of humanity and life, rather than a world of financial derivatives, legal contracts and diet books.
The Case Study
When Lauren and I first arrived in Montreal, we found ourselves learning like children again. Everywhere we looked, we thought, “We should do it this way at home”, or, “Are these people nuts, why don’t they do it this way?” There were countless lessons, and this was only Canada (quite possibly the most similar country on the planet to our homeland, Australia).
When we visited the Middle East and Africa… well, let’s just say we’d been living with our eyes half-closed for 20+ years. And I don’t mean closed to struggle, I mean closed to fulfillment, community and adventure.
But the real lessons of travel (which aren’t taught on campus) show that your values have less to do with Lamborghinis and more to do with making a difference, exploring the unknown, and of course, spending time with honest and thoughtful people.
It may sound defeatist to look the other way of modern consumerism, but then it sounds pretty insane to voluntarily live in a prison (be it a cubicle, suburbia, an actual prison, etc.).
Thankfully, and somewhat ironically, there are no entrance exams for an Education on the Road. Because to subsist on the road is an education in itself. So the only pre-requisite is a thirst to know what’s really out there.
In all seriousness though, imagine yourself post-MBA. Then compare that to yourself post-long-term-round-the-world-discovery. Which version of you would better grasp global issues? Which version would know how to make a positive impact? And which version would know what it means to lead a fulfilling life?