“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
About 30 months ago I decided to quit university. First, my best friend committed suicide and it ruined everything. Second, I was very unhappy with it because I didn’t have a passion for what I was studying. Long before I went to uni, I always knew it wasn’t for me.
I strongly believe that tertiary education is essential in making a good career prospect. Plus I’m an extremely curious person. So quitting was not easy. The lack of any visible direction in my life had left me feeling vacuous and depressed. I started volunteering at a local hospital in Dublin, then applied for volunteering jobs abroad and slowly discovered my passion for travelling. It doesn’t mean that I have to abandon my education completely. My thirst of knowledge is just as huge as my wanderlust. Now I’m taking university-level specialisation courses online.
Things I’ve done whilst travelling
I ate deep fried frogs, tarantulas, and other critters; climbed a thorny, 5-meter tall gate at 1 am; slept with rats and daddy long legs; lived in a two story bamboo house; taught English to monks; lost my passport in Vietnam; got ticketed by a Khmer police; got kidnapped for 3 days; lived with 3000 Cambodian riels (€0.60) for 20 days; passed out at a shopping centre; learned about the LDS church; took care of an old lady; made friends with food vendors on the street; featured in the Global Teacher Prize video; walked 7 km nonstop; visited 6 cities in 5 countries in 5 days; popped balloons (I have globophobia); made 5 websites in less than two months; smoked weed; shared a moped with 4 people; shared room with a hikikomori; shared room with a gay guy; dyed my hair; flew with AirAsia; visited Vietnamese refugee camp on the island of Galang, Indonesia; learned how to play violin; wrote a book.
Things I’ve learned from travelling
I learned to understand different cultures and traditions. There is nothing like living amongst people of other cultures to make you understand why people do what they do. The world is so small to travel, yet too big to understand. I also learned languages I have never heard of before, like Khmer and Irish Gaelic and was able to develop my communication skills. And from travelling, I’m able to be financially independent since I was 18.
Then I learned a lot about strengths. I met people with different life problems, facing different kinds of issues. Yes, those obstacles can sometimes lead to hopelessness, but they have enabled me to work harder and think wiser. Diving out of your comfort zone will make you realise that despite all the flaws and hardships, everyone still plays a piece in their own melodies. These are the things I probably won’t get and learn from studying at the university. Oh, travelling is truly never ending.
Anyway, we just had our first JSC Beijing Youth Camp pre-departure training where I met my two fellow delegates from Jakarta, G and R, for the first time. G is a snazzy guy who owns and conducts his public speaking workshop. Pretty sociable and outgoing person. Whilst R is a well-rounded university student with countless achievements and whatnot. I’m so grateful for them!
This is the second part of my 20-day Blogging University: Finding Everyday Inspiration course from The Daily Post. This course is all about warming up your writing muscles and finding inspiration in the places closest to you — but where you might not think to look. Go check them out!