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June 2015
Žepič Anja
Editor of the web magazine Globetrotter
anja.zepic@youth-hostel.si

Travel and learn
Where are you going to learn how to take care for yourself? When will you be most open for new friendships and knowledge? When will you turn into yourself and get to know your real you? When will you be ready to leave the comfort zone that is dulling your senses, body and emotions? When will you first feel the muscle pain because you talk more with your hands than words, as nobody can understand the word you're saying? When, where? 

While travelling you will not always have the comforts you’re used to, your valet will be thinner each day and you will still have to take care of your daily needs; with no internet, no cell phone to call your parents or friends to hear words of advice and support. If your alarm clock doesn’t wake you up, you might even miss a flight and get stuck who knows where. So when? In a the moment that will leave a mark on your whole life! 



Technology is developing daily and there are ever more opportunities for a safe and meaningful travel. Why not use it? There are still those, who find travelling too big of a challenge to face. But the problem is not travel, it’s the people who are afraid to do it. Facing a challenge of traveling alone, of facing one’s self is the problem that the society is beginning to face. It’s for the past few decades that media is forcing the reality of “reality shows” to us, which is turning us all into apathy consumers. Traveling for most people just means collecting selfies and laying at beaches, but it’s exactly them I’m inviting to read until the end and get to know a different way of travel, the one that gives meaning to your life and new ideas, the travel that opens an alternative to your dulled life.



Radhanath Svami wrote in his book “Way home” – "The fire of the culture shock was like a burst of sunshine that evaporated the mists of misconceptions. I felt liberated." Why wouldn’t you want to have that feeling as well? Traveling is a great tool to get to know other cultures and habits, which has ensured the synergy and harmony of mankind. It will positively strengthen your conciseness and help you get over stereotypes that are holding back humanity and its development. Non-verbal communication will become fun and you will not feel strange because somebody has different religion or dresses differently. You will proudly carry your culture or philosophy and will be prepared to understand someone else’s convictions, just as they will respect yours. It may be that person that explains the history of a baroque building behind you or the luxurious fountain in the square to your left. Next you’ll have a nice talk and get to explain about where you come from, and who knows, maybe you’ll get a warm dinner in that person’s home with the company of playful kids running around and peeking at you as they see a stranger for a first time. It’s such moments that have no monetary value, making them irrelevant for the material world we’re living in and makes us slaves to our daily routine. It’s moments like those that will make you new friends and give you new meaning in life.  



Surely you realize that foreign language isn’t just something you have to learn at school. It’s practical knowledge for communication. Did you ever try to explain at a drug store, you have problems in your stomach and have to spend most of your day on the toilet? You’re looking for that magic pill that will let you go on travelling… It’s not pretty or nice, but you’ll learn a hell of a lot out of it about usage of your communicating skills. It can be even worse, it might happen that neither you or the other person share a common language to communicate in. Worst case, you’ll have to show with your finger what’s the matter. But don’t worry, even for a situation like that the author of the book “Way home” found a way to describe: "Even though they spoke no word of English, we communicated with our hearts, which made me especially happy.«  



Travelling you’ll also learn how to balance your budget. You’ll have to think ahead with which things you’ll save money (less spending on material goods, not losing money on needless coffee breaks or getting drunk on weekends…) and how to earn an extra little to get the ticket to fly to the diving holiday you wanted off the coral reef. You’ll learn to be modest and hardworking and that will strengthen your self-confidence. You’ll become responsible and thoughtful. So you’ll be able to tell your friends, you’ll go on a journey you’ll pay for by yourself. Not to mention the life experience you’ll get thought the nice and bad things that will happen along the way. I can tell you that a different way of travelling will open your eyes and you’ll let other people to see the world in their own image as well. You’ll understand Radhanath, who says: "Everybody comprehends the wold in their own way, everything depends on the way of individual perception."



A quality spent time in a intercultural environment will not only have a positive effect on you and you self-esteem, it will reflect on your home surroundings upon return. Your good will and revelations will be shared with your environment. Maybe you won’t even notice that you’ve started some change, just by returning with a different view, for it’s these small changes that make a better tomorrow for all of us. That’s the hope that might give peace and happiness to our crazy life. You’ll get more confident and you’ll dare to speak up your mind, where the experience gained will become the pillar to back it up, to have your say and views. You’ll be open to change and understand why it’s important to respect each other. You’ll know why you need to take care of yourself, and then also of others. When you’ll be healthy yourself, you’ll also be able to help others in a healthy way.

None the less, even you (current or future) employer will be proud of you, as your skills and competences gained through travel will help the company you work for. That will make you unique and working with you will be less of a conflict and more productive. So, what are you waiting for? Google your favourite destination and start planning your trip and don’t forget, your life will change! 



And sure, there’s another option too: forget what you’re read, go to first fast food and take a full bag of chips to the couch and watch another soap opera before your favourite reality show begins. Keep spending those euros on the SMS voting for people to stay on and go on, buy the things you don’t really need, but see during the commercial breaks.