Need a Reason to Travel?

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All travelers know that feeling when wanderlust settles in…

Our happiness suffers until we act upon it. Soon enough, we book a flight or settle for a car ride outside of town.

I used to experience these impulses regularly because my lifestyle was restrictive. But now my situation is different, I have freedom and the sudden urge to escape my situation rarely comes anymore.

A long weekend away makes me desire routine again.

That’s why I need a reason.

Traveling must accomplish more than collecting photos to post on Instagram or getting shit-faced drunk every night.

Because of this I’ve assembled a shortlist of reasons that compel me to move; maybe you can find new reasons of your own.

Learn Self Defense

I seek the purest version of training available in the world, so let’s apply this requirement to martial arts training.

Go to Thailand for Muay Thai. Grapple in Rio De Janeiro for Brazil Jiu Jitsu. Hone Taekwondo combat moves in South Korea.

Some of you might be thinking, “Lee, I live in Atlanta… why travel when I can train at gym down the street?”

In America, we are often sold a diluted form of martial arts which has been stripped of the cultural elements responsible for its evolution. Without this key feature, it lacks the key substance that makes it worth studying.

It’s been Americanized.

I felt betrayed after comparing the native country’s training approach to what I encountered beforehand in America. Due to this realization, I’m skeptical of anything imported from somewhere else claiming to be authentic.

Attend an Education Program

Education positions a man to capitalize on opportunities that arise because he’s dedicated to his craft. Mastery is achievable regardless of luck or social standing.

Public libraries in the United States are my favorite place to acquire secondary knowledge, so I spend as much time a possible within them when I visit home

The basic information needed to thrive in modern society is available in a book, video, or audio form. And public libraries are funded by tax dollars which means everyone can access them, and in the major cities I can access 20+ libraries worth of resources without having to swipe my debit card!

On the flip side is the diploma mill. The student debt hungry education system is enlisting America’s young folks into debt servitude

The American University, as we currently know it, is an institutionalized scam.

Heavily regulated industries receive a soft pass on a judgment in this rant—think legal, scientific, and mathematics driven professions.

Outside of a few fields, the remaining students passively attend lectures and skim through textbooks which demand more effort to read the “college-level English” than to understand the subject matter.

After following a curriculum, students demonstrate mastery by assembling the ideas of published members of the academic community into a deliverable known as a “thesis”

Finally, the course ends with a trivia-based exam designed to make students recall information about the course. Every bit of course material is considered testable material regardless of its importance.

This system is accepted as the premier method to educate America’s future…

But I refuse to pay into such nonsense ever again.

Don’t worry, I have good news. We all know that one guy who always voices a problem and never offers a solution.

I won’t abuse you like that! Please slap me upside the head when I do.

If you’re still sold on the diploma mill approach, overseas schools charge $1000 – $4000 per semester to roll out the red carpet to foreign students.

Picture yourself gaining industry-level fluency in a foreign language and possibly a residency visa. Eventually, you’ll qualify for a permanent resident status which grants equal treatment as a citizen minus the right to vote.

On top of these benefits, you’ll have established a network that can support future lifestyle and business opportunities.

Switching back to America…

Trade schools and apprenticeships still offer value because students learn theory and actually apply it.

Improve Health & Fitness

This point comes with a caveat: I rarely keep healthy routines during short trips, because I want to indulge. I expect to pack on at least 5 lbs to my gut when I visit Guadalajara, Mexico.

Long stays are different.

India attracts yoga and spirituality enthusiasts.

But Thailand is my ultimate go-to place.

In Phuket, Thailand, the Chalong neighborhood attracts foreigners willing to invest in their bodies.

More than 20 fitness camps operate year-round. Muay Thai, Pilates, Crossfit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and yoga—whatever you’re looking for is there or will be.

Almost an equal amount of massage clinics are on standby to help athletes recover quickly before the next intense workout. At times it feels like the Thai masseuses were beating the tension out of my muscles.

Yes, I said “beat”. I was surprised that a 110 lb woman can effortlessly manhandle someone twice the size. Those women contorted my body into positions I never knew were humanly possible.

But don’t worry, it was so worth it! The cost for a two-hour thai massage averaged $12, and compared to a one-hour session that costs $60 in America, I always left feeling rejuvenated!

I’ve trained in Chalong twice, and each time my health and fitness improved significantly.

And best of all, an all-inclusive stay surrounded by beaches costs approximately $1000 per month.

Speak a Foreign Language

Language immersion is learning to communicate in a foreign language within an environment full of native speakers.

Students experience the liveliness of day-to-day cultural interactions instead of grinding through mind-numbing textbook exercises.

I wrote about my first Spanish Immersion in Guatemala here: How To Speak Conversational Spanish in 6 Weeks

Immersion helped me establish a solid foundation in Spanish grammar, and I quickly became comfortable with speaking because I spoke for 90% of the class.

Most immersion students return home and continue improving via Skype; 30 – 60 minutes conversational sessions become super effective because students have mastered the basics already.

On that note, my short list of reasons to travel is done. I’ll revisit this topic with Part II discussing more reasons to explore our beautiful world.

What’s your reason for traveling?

Freedom is a Choice,

Lee Miles