I’ve been walking the historical Way of St. James when I got wind of the slogan. A pilgrim host called Ernesto Bustio traveled through the world for several months. His van was his constant companion. His mission was: The university of life! His story inspires me and his slogan left a big mark in my […]
I’ve been walking the historical Way of St. James when I got wind of the slogan. A pilgrim host called Ernesto Bustio traveled through the world for several months. His van was his constant companion. His mission was: The university of life!
His story inspires me and his slogan left a big mark in my life.
Before I met Gonzalo I travelled for six months in New Zealand. After New Zealand I came to Spain and couldn’t stop thinking about traveling. So I kept going first alone on the historical Way of St. James and after through Spain with Gonzalo.
Traveling got my mission of life because it gives me all I need. Let me explain you the university of life:
Classes about geography and organisation
First of all you decide where to go. For that you will have a look on the map. For the first time geography makes sense finally! For planning a trip you need to organise yourself, decide which places you wanna see, organise how to get from A to B and knowing how to read a map. I mean, of course nowadays you have many technical helps. You don’t have to bring your own map and you don’t have to organise everything with an agency what makes you even more flexible. But who can use a smartphone map without knowing how to use it? Fortunately the university of life will teach!
There won’t be any teacher, no. No frontal teaching classes anymore! No classrooms anymore! The world is your teacher, your classroom, your classmate. Learning my doing is the new teaching methodology.
Another important aspect is the organisation. Parents and teachers always wanna make you organise your homework, the cleaning, your day, your room and so on. But we all know how easy we can organise ourselves when we don’t have anybody in the background telling us what we have to do.
Travel and make your own decisions. Traveling makes you finding out your own personal structure to organise yourself. You will notice very fast which way doesn’t work and which is the perfect one for you.
Classes about languages and cultures
Have you ever tried to keep 50 vocabularies in mind for the next test? Almost impossible! As fast as you got them in mind as fast they will disappear. All work for nothing. I remember the boring lessons when we talked about England, the USA, South America, Spain and so on. My teachers always tried to tell us how people live, what traditions they have and all the stereotypes…. Boring!
Have you ever been on holidays? For example in England or Spain? Suddenly you hear and read the language everywhere. You listen and notice: “Yeah, I understand them!” At 2pm the shops close suddenly, everybody makes siesta and you remember: “Yeah, I’m in the middle of the Spanish culture!”
Traveling makes you practicing languages and experiencing cultures in your own way. Isn’t it so much more fun to discovering things by itself than getting told everything?
Classes about taste orgasm (FOOD)
Important for survival are drinks and food. I think the subhead is the best description what you will experience while traveling: taste orgasm! Convince yourself.
Classes about tolerance and solidarity
The more you travel the world the more you will meet many diverse people – people from all over the world, with individual life stories and opinions about life.
Nowadays when the world gets closer – like the globalisation says – it’s important to listen and accept various opinions. We have to learn to stop judging by somebody appearance or according to its viewpoint. You will learn to trust the right people but even the university of life can’t guarantee any negative experiences.
Traveling makes you walking through the world without any prejudice. Meet people, tolerant them and spread solidarity. At the end you will get a good human intelligence and empathy.
Classes about failing
Unlucky occurrences make you learn even more: Fail forward! It’s o.k. to make mistakes. Recognise them and improve them. While traveling you will make plenty of mistakes, you will fail. But nobody will judge you. Maybe you’re gonna judge yourself but even then you have to remember: Life is about learning by one’s mistake.
Is there any university that wants you to make mistakes so that you learn by?
Classes about freedom and peace
Tolerance and solidarity comes with freedom and peace. Once people has accepted the diversity in every individual life, once everybody will tolerant everybody and there will be freedom and peace.
You find freedom and peace while traveling: I always feel the freedom when I’m outside watching the beauty of the nature. I love to walk around, hanging out or doing different sport in nature. Those activities give me the feeling of being free and independent.
The most intensive feeling of freedom and peace I find while traveling because then I’m released, without any thoughts about responsibility, only the responsibility of one’s neighbour, the nature and the animals.
I’m aware of all those places people have to fight for freedom and peace. Exactly because it’s not normal to be free and live in peace we have to appreciate even more our life.
Classes about appreciating
The world consists of human, animals and plants and everything else you believe in. Have you ever been away from home? Have you every seen how people live on the other side of the world? Have you ever appreciated your life, your family, your friends, your education, your standard of living, your bed, your drinking water, your food, …? I could keep listing but I think you know what I mean.
The first time I appreciated my life and my family was after the five weeks volunteering in Bogotá, Columbia. I lived in a house full of kids who either haven’t had parents, who lived on the street or had other bad life conditions. I ate, played, studied and prayed with them. I had a wonderful time although I had troubles speaking Spanish. It was amazing how everybody took care of each other and it opened my eyes.
One family left a big impressive mark on me: I had visited two guys who grew up in the house I was volunteering in. They lived with their aunt now. The region was a poor one. That’s how the houses looked like – poor. But I can remember so perfectly when the aunt was welcoming us with drinks and some food. She gave me a grand tour of the house: “There will be the bathroom, here the sleeping room and here … .“ She was so enthusiastic and happy to show me her property – a property of cold rooms, wet floors and almost no windows. But she appreciated what she has got and although she hasn’t had much money she was the happiest woman on earth. I admired her and her happiness. She made me coming home seeing my life with different eyes. She made me appreciating!
Traveling shows you the world with your own eyes. Any pictures or videos on any TV channel will never activate emotions of loving what you have. Go out and watch the world, the beauty of nature as well as the negative aspects the human being brings with it in the world.
Classes about yourself
Is there any class that teaches you anything about yourself? Maybe… but I don’t remember any of my classes I had visited. After school everybody has to know what they’re wanna do with their life – being a doctor, being a teacher, a policeman, a cooker, a office administrator, a electrician, a waiter/waitress and so on. But which kid really knows what life is about at the age of 18 or even younger? Is life about going to classes and trying to avoid doing homework? Is life about writing good marks and being the best one in classes? What is life about or who am I and what do I want to do in my life? I think those are questions everybody had or has to struggle with maybe once or even more often in its life.
The society is pushing us, telling us what we should do. But do we always agree with the society? Going to school, ensuring a high degree and going to the university to get a well-paid job is one of the circle the society sets in advance. Is there any space left for your own will? What about taking a break and discover yourself?
“Get to know and love yourself first. That’s the foundation for love one’s neighbour.”
Once you have left your entire comfort zone you will start dealing with yourself. The best way I got to love myself was traveling. For the first time I was free deciding how my day could look like. Sometimes I was lonely. I started to think about my life and myself. Sometimes I was in great company with different people from the whole world. I felt comfortable and happy. Sometimes I just sat next to the ocean watching the waves coming and going. I felt like in heaven. Sometimes people say traveling is running away from problems. I’m telling you:
“Traveling isn’t running away. Traveling is to recognize the problems, to recognize what you own, what’s missing and what else you need. Traveling is getting to know yourself, loving yourself!”
What is the university of life teaching us?
I think I can’t list every positive or negative aspect now and here because of the time. I don’t wanna tell you, you should stop going to school and travel instead, no. In my opinion education is the most valuable skill you can get. Simultaneously next to education there are your personal experiences. Experiences from that you learn and that makes you rich. The best way we collect experiences is while traveling, when you feel independent and released.
Another aspect is you: Don’t forget yourself: Who are you? What’s life about? What do you wanna do in your life?
Do you love yourself?