One important lesson I have learned lately in my life is to get the most out of travelling, and I always try to remind myself of the lesson whenever I visit another location or country.
In the past years, I had been lucky enough to be able to live in various countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, the U.S. and most recently Thailand. In the U.S. particularly, I was even luckier to have been surrounded by friends who were kind enough to show me around several States – Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New York – which I would have never thought of visiting by myself if I had not come across those folks in my life.
In retrospect however, I realised I took those moments as granted. I did not really appreciate the beauty of the world I was living in, nor was I intelligent enough to realise I always had friends and family members supporting me behind the scenes and providing me with numerous opportunities.
A little experience like fishing on a boat in the middle of a pond in Mississippi in USA might sound like any daily routine to some people. Still, considering the fact that I spent most of time in a metropolitan environment without any exposure to any wilderness, it was one of the truly rare, refreshing experiences. However, not until later in time did it really occur to me I was lucky enough to have such an experience in USA because without those who gave me the opportunity, I would have never been able to enjoy the rare, refreshing moment in my life.
Therefore, whenever you are in another location or country, it can be a good tip to step back from what you are doing for a moment and take a look at your surroundings. This can potentially allow yourself to realise something you may otherwise not realise, and it can also allow yourself to enjoy and appreciate the moment you are living through.
When we think of travel, we often associate it with “travel for vacation”, where we take a break from our study or work to travel. This is common as we want to stay way from our hectic life and enjoy the beautify of the world we live in. However, travel can be arranged for other purposes too, not just for vacation, and below are the most common travel arrangements:
Travel for business: Travel for business happens when a company offers its employees to travel away from their office to work on an assignment or project. One example is a sales professional who is asked to travel to another city to meet a customer and close a deal. The length of travel for business can be a few days to a few weeks, depending upon the complexity of an assignment or project. Travel for business can offer some opportunities for employees to develop their technical and professional skills.
Travel for academia: Travel for academia happens when one gets enrolled in an educational institution, often in another country, to learn a particular language, to obtain a particular degree or both of them at the same time. Travel for academia often involves a great deal of paperwork for obtaining VISA and lasts for a few years. However, when one successfully completes his or her study, it can usually open up doors for greater employment opportunities.
Travel for exploration: Becoming more and more common, especially among younger people, is travel for exploration, which happens when one hops from country to another to explore the world. Besides travel for business or academia, travel for exploration is often haphazard, so it does not come with any set of plans. It can entail the exploration of food, scenery or wilderness and can last for a few days to a few months. Travel for exploration can often help us reduce life stressors as it allows one to physiologically and physically stay away from the life routine and enjoy an untapped moment in life. Nevertheless, it can also be dangerous to haphazardly travel to a place where one is not really familiar with, so caution must be exercised.
As shown, we travel for various reasons in life. Often times, it comes with a great deal of excitement as well as exhaustion. However, when we travel, it brings us some handsome rewards that we otherwise never get to experience. By travelling, we can also allow ourselves to learn something that may turn out to be different from what we know from books or the Internet.
For multiple decades, we have been adopting the so-called one-size-fits-all learning framework in our educational system across the globe. With this framework, students are divided into different levels often in accordance with their seniority, and each level is further divided into so-called class rooms, in each of which 20 to 30 students are placed to learn a subject.
Now, many readers may be wondering what this learning framework has to do with travelling at all. Well, as I have briefly mentioned in one of my previous blogs (WHAT DOES TRAVEL FOR LEARNING MEAN?), I believe travelling as one form of learning can allow us to utilise our sensors to interact with the social, economic and demographic environments of a different location. In contrary, the traditional one-size-fits-all learning framework cannot allow us to achieve such sensory and interactive experiences we can potentially gain from travelling.
As such, the fundamental belief I have, especially now days with the rapid advancement of information and communication technology, is that our traditional way of education is becoming obsolete, and educational institutions must shift their focus more onto allowing students to gain sensory and interactive experiences. How may we achieve this for students? Well, I believe travelling may be one of the keys to achieving it.
I was originally born in a country called Malaysia, and my family later moved to Japan where I spent a good amount of time growing up. Throughout my childhood, I had been fortunate enough to get a little taste of what it meant to live in different countries and with people from different cultures. It was during this period of time I built my interest in travelling.
In 2010, shortly after graduating from high school, I realised my view was somewhat very limited. At the same time, I also understood that my language skill was not acceptable enough to get me to where I had to be. It was then I decided to put myself into an extensive language learning programme to allow myself to move onto the next level.
In 2011, I managed to land in Florida, USA, for getting into college, and in 2015, after four years of intensive cramming of academic materials into my small brain, I finally graduated from college with a degree in accountancy and fly back to Japan.
However, my life took another turn shortly after coming back to Japan, and I ended up in Thailand – a country where I had never been to before. Being in a country where I knew nobody was a strange experience, but somehow the fact that Thailand was located next to Malaysia (a country where I was born) reduced my fear of being in a foreign country and let me stay calm.
As you can see, my life up until this moment has never rested at any one particular location, which in turn allows me to learn things I have never been able to learn in my school days. That is why, I believe travelling can allow anyone to expend his or her horizon and acquire some new knowledge and experience by engaging with different environments and people.
The definition of “travel for learning” that I have come up with is “the gaining of knowledge or skills through travelling to a different location, sometimes in a different country, and through allowing oneself to utilise his or her own sensors to interact with the social, economic and demographic environments of that location”.
“the gaining of knowledge or skills through travelling to a different location, sometimes in a different country, and through allowing oneself to utilise his or her own sensors to interact with the social, economic and demographic environments of that location”
With the rapid advancement of information and communication technology, often contributing to a lower cost in producing goods or rendering services, more and more people can get to travel to a different location in a different country in a convenient manner.
In my opinion, I believe this introduces us to a whole new level of learning as opposed to the traditional way of learning because it allows one to utilise his or her own sensors (vision, hearing, smell, taste, or touch) to actually interact with those external environments.
That being said, it is true that it consumes a great deal of time, money and effort, and that is where, I believe, Kenny’s Odyssey can step in to provide some useful source of information for those who may be in the planning phase of their odyssey and need some little something to move forward.