Where do we turn to when we want to learn something? An expert authority. Years back, when I wanted to study anthropology, I chose the best UK college. I made sure my teachers were acclaimed experts in the field. And I did well – exceptionally well.
But guess what? I gleaned as much wit about anthropology from those who had no clue what anthropology was. They would ask me a simple question – what exactly is anthropology or isn’t an anthropologist supposed to know everything about people – and I would fumble with words.
When you try to answer a simple question – so simple it could have come from the mouth of a child – you stop short. Naïve questions make you dig deep for answers – simple answers. Soon you’re struck with new insights. And that’s how you learn: from experts and laics alike.
Meaningful travel starts at home
Recently I haven’t been travelling much. My sense of home has become grounded in one city and one apartment. I am more like a cat than a bird. I also live with two mischievous British shorthaired cats – a never-ending source of delight.
These two felines have lived all their lives indoors. They’re so attached to their space it’s painful to even move them to another house to be looked after when I’m away.
Who better to teach me about meaningful travel than a pair of complete amateurs!
Bono and Lucy ‘travel’ inside the 90 square meter apartment – plus a balcony. You think they can’t teach you about globetrotting? Read on.
Cat lessons in meaningful travel
#1 The world is smaller and more diverse than you think. We are British by origin, born in Slovenia and living a happy life in Croatia. Not all British shorthaired cats are blue – open your mind!
#2 You are on a journey even if you never leave a room. Your travels always start at home.
#3 There are no boring places. Everywhere is interesting enough, exciting enough and beautiful enough. It’s never about how far but how deep you travel.
#4 Old place becomes new when you see it from a different perspective. Change your point of view often.
#5 There is no right or wrong way to travel. Find your unique travel style and then do it your way.
#6 You’re never a complete outsider, even as a foreigner. There is a way to fit in at a new place even if you have to squeeze in.
#7 Dare to try local delicacies. They might not be your cup of tea, but it’s the best way to learn about a new culture.
Meaningful travel with a companion
#8 Be patient and tolerant of your travel buddy. Remind yourself often why you cherish their company.
#9 Sharing is great but there’s nothing wrong with having a few things just for yourself.
#10 Learn from a buddy who has travelled the road before. Imitate.
#11 Sometimes it’s great to be in the centre of attention and sometimes it’s just fine to be on the periphery.
Meaningful travel attitudes that make life easier
#12 Don’t think you must accept everything on offer. It’s OK to be choosey.
#13 You’re not obliged to like everyone you meet. When people get on your nerves, find a peaceful hideout.
#14 Travel can be exhausting. Get plenty of rest. Learn how to sleep at most unusual places.
#15 Always find a way to fool around and play.
#16 Don’t be afraid of new things. Let yourself be curious.
#17 Look for the unusual. Observe even when you don’t understand.
#18 Before admiring travel sights, admire yourself. You’re the greatest work of art.
#19 Have confidence in yourself. You can do anything you want.
#20 Now and then have a Kodak moment so you can share travel stories with friends at home.
I’m curious – do you always learn from those who know it all? Have you ever learned from those who know nothing?