THE BLOG
04/07/2011 03:00 pm ET | Updated Jun 07, 2011

The Greatest Classroom of All

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind." -Seneca

I am a passionate believer that one of the better ways of learning valuable life lessons is to travel the world. It can be fun, at times unconventional, and travel definitely broadens the mind. There is something about finding a way out of our comfort zones across the vastness of the world that titillates my mind...

At school I was not blessed with much academic joy. I found it difficult to concentrate long enough without doodling or daydreaming the boredom away. So I formulated a plan: escape. I left the boring world of wood-paneled classrooms behind and traveled to the greatest classroom of all... the open road! What did I find? Knowledge. Adventure. Passion. Meaning. Purpose. What didn't I find?

My travels have taught me many lessons, from resilience, to patience, to open mindedness, to courage. The list is practically endless. In this blog post I recount a few of the lessons that have enriched my life. Experiences that touched my heart in all the right places. Experiences that shifted the trajectory of my life, even ever so slightly. Experiences. Life. And everything in between.

During my recent trip across India I came face to face with poverty. A poverty beyond comprehension. A poverty that left me screaming internally with guilt. Heart-wrenching. Wrong.

Roaming the streets of Mumbai opened my eyes to a suffering that seems unimaginable in the bubble of affluence surrounding the western world. Yet this crushing poverty was not the overriding lesson I took away from the experience. What I realized on walks through the slums was that people seemed happy. They seemed connected to each other even among all the suffering and deprivation. The lesson received was more about the sense of community and companionship available to us all. Every day. Always. I realized we are all one. And although there are many differences in the world, we are all connected by our own humanity.

Further trips taught me additional lessons. I learned patience whilst being rescued from a landslide on my way back from the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru; 17 hours of patience, to be exact. I learned gratitude when interacting with the street urchins of Delhi. I learned to embrace my spirituality in Nepal as I watched the sun disappearing over the glistening green mountains.

I learned. That's the point. Learning seems to come naturally on the road. For me, the world is my classroom. Travel teaches, cajoles and brings the best out in me. It inspires and creates lasting change. It is the greatest teacher of them all.

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