Advanced learning today, kids. I want you to watch a video. Its about 15 minutes long….shut it, you can spare 15 minutes out of your life, its well worth it.
This video is a presentation by Rolf Potts at the DO Lectures in 2009. These lectures are amazing, thankfully, the people who run the event are kind enough to post all of them up on their site for free. I watch these religiously, on occasion I have watched some 3-4 times. I find so many of them completely motivating and inspiring, so I highly recommend checking out a few in your spare time, topics run from farming, to biking around the world, to starting a charity in Nepal, to starting a cooking school in Ireland. I hope, someday, to be able to attend this annual event.
Anyway, enough gushing, the reason why I am showcasing Rolf’s video is because not only is he an expert traveler, but he lays out a lot of great principles as to the real reasons why people should travel. Not just to fill up your passport, and check off cities, but for the experience, the journey. As author Stephan Graham says in his book, The Gentle Art of Tramping, “beware of going to Jerusalem in order that you may come back and tell the world you have been, it spoils all you found on the way.” We can all be guilty of this sometimes, even me, to be in such a rush to see something that we miss all the stuff we see along the way.
If you are really going to be that lazy and not watch the video, I’ll give some points of what he says below…slackers.
• People can trick themselves out of traveling because they don’t think they have the necessary experience or glamor to do it
• Time is wealth, and travel is a gift to yourself
• Try to embrace the idea of being a seeker, not a consumer, while on vacation
• Adventure can be anything out of your comfort zone – it doesn’t always occur around the world, or in a foreign place – wake up one day and get on the bus, without a destination in mind, that’s adventure
• Quality over quantity, don’t cram everything in, enjoy and learn about one place
• Generally, the most memorable things happen on the way to your destination
• Go off the beaten path, when you visit the most iconic tourist trails in the world, you will be surrounded by people like yourself, walk ten minutes in any direction away, and odds are you will have a far more authentic experience
• Try to learn something – Rolf went to Cuba to try Salsa, and ended up learning the bagpipes
• Remember that you can apply all the lessons you learn from travel at home, more often than not, people have been around the world, but have never explored their backyard