Some feel strongly about this.

Is it Better to be well Educated or well Traveled?

The value of expanding your realm of experience.

This is a trick question. You can be well traveled without any formal education but you can’t really be well educated without at least some travel. One is part of the other and to break them apart in a question makes for a poor question. If one has never traveled, entire areas of conversation are meaningless. But without some formal education there is no framework, context or history of a given place.

One never knows the reality of the biting cold of a Himalyan high-altitude morning without having experienced it. No matter if you can remember the formula for calculating the difference of temperature according to altitude. A pair of frozen hands pulled deep into a parka is something best experienced on site.  

Our one planet is home to 7 billion people with 7 billion different viewpoints. All are shaped by their personal experience. And there is no substitute for direct experience of a place. No way to really “get it” without seeing the interaction of the geography and people. When we travel we see the human similarities and the differences between what we dreamed up and what is the truth.

There is no substitute for seeing places firsthand, breathing the air, seeing the light, talking to the people. How else to know it? Books, videos and photos may give us an idea but that will only get us so far. Maybe somebody has been there and told us about it, maybe we read an article or see something online. 

Travel shares an element with education because the immersive experience of travel is so powerful, at least as strong as imagination.

OK, I suppose we can imagine anything. But it doesn’t mean it has any relationship to the truth. There is a feeling of a place that is beyond words, a special feeling for new places. Every traveler knows some things are only be learned on location. 

To know a place and its people is a hands-on task, traveling is not a passive activity. It’s value cannot be underestimated. There is no substitute for first hand experience. 

The questions that matter about a place are often personal. “Have you been there? Do you speak the language? Do you know the religion? Where did you stay?”.

One planet, one species. Learn about our world, visit faraway places and hear the stories of how the people care about the same things you do. See the humanity around this earth and understand the environment that we all share.

Therein lies the value of travel beyond education. It lets us see and know what was only a thought. It reveals to us more than we’d imagined. It teaches us without a formal lesson plan.

Visit somewhere new this year, go somewhere you haven’t been before. Enlarge your world, see how big and how small our precious green globe really is. Travel and be part of the story, leave your footprints only and take the jewels of memory and impressions home with you. Understand and be taught what is not touched on in any classroom and know it to be education that’s just called travel.

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