A wise person once said, “I love the feeling of being anonymous in a city I’ve never been before.”
Just last month, I was out of town for a course and obviously, anonymous! Initially I was a little wary of the entire idea. How will I manage, what will I do, what about the money and umpteen other questions. But it all turned out to be a very rewarding in the end. So now, in addition to solo traveling, I have also become an advocate of traveling out of your hometown to study, even if it for a short period. Here are some reasons why traveling out of your city for a course can be a complete eye-opener.
Mini Culture Within a Macro Culture
We love the city we are based in (atleast most of us) and consequently, we imbibe the culture of that city. Also, there can be times where you may not visit any other city in your country for a while. So we may not have an idea (like I had lost touch) of what kind of culture there is in that part of your country. That’s what you get introduced or reintroduced to when you get out of your city. The language, the dialect, the lifestyle, food, the surroundings – everything changes drastically. Infact, I felt, when I went for the course from Pune in Maharashtra, India to New Delhi, like I am in completely different country, almost. The way people talked, their mentality, sensibilities, was so different from the kind of environment I am here, in Pune. That was a whole new cultural experience for me.
Prepping Up Your Confidence
Doing a course alone, out of town can immensely boost your confidence like solo traveling. You learn how to think on your feet, dealing with situations on the go. You get street smart and have to set and manage your daily routine, take care of your valuables as well as your safety, and so many things. You also need to figure out the best way to travel within that city. All this adds to your confidence and chisels your personality even further. In addition to this, you also learn how to manage your studies, which is definitely a skill we all wouldn’t mind having!
Meeting New People
Yeah yeah, we feel like killing people (or not :P) we meet at work or college or wherever, every day. Getting out of town is the perfect antidote we sometimes need to counter that. That’s where the upside, meeting new people comes into play! Meeting new people and sharing our thoughts with them is the fresh breath air we need to feel alive again. And hopefully, if they are non-judgemental, then even better! Then you can share thoughts about any topic on earth and no one will get offended. At the same time, you get to know about their ideas and opinions, which in turn might be a fantastic learning for you. Many a time we come to know about things we hardly knew existed or we find that people do such amazing things! That adds to the fun!
Adjustment & Letting Go
Most of us, including me, get into a comfort zone staying in one place for a long time. We have a set routine, a set pattern of going about things, whether it is at work or at home. We have a certain lifestyle. When you travel out of city to study, adjustment and compromise are the keywords. You may not have to do drastic adjustments, but you would definitely have to do that to some extent. Smallest things like the way you take a shower to something major, in a few cases, may have to be altered. That too teaches you a lot, apart from the course you might be doing! At the same time, for the time being you may have to let go of those eccentricities we all might have when we are on our home turf. Letting go of those seemingly inconsequential habits we have at home, can be a challenge. But hey, where is the fun otherwise?
Who Says You Can’t Be a Tourist Within Your Own Country? 😀
Finally, while you are at it, why not be all touristy and explore that city as much as your course schedule and studies permit? I reached a day before my course was going to start and I checked in the hostel late morning. I couldn’t think of spending the entire day in that room. Voila! Google came to my rescue as it suggested some places to go nearby in New Delhi. Off I went to the Railway Museum. It turned out to be fantastic! Then I thought of watching a film and did that too! But that wasn’t before I treated myself to a great lunch at a very nice place! Then I roamed around for a while and went back to the hostel in the evening! I had never done that in Delhi despite having spent some part of my childhood in one of the towns nearby. That was quite an achievement and adventure for me! Never miss a chance to be a tourist in your own country!
Ultimately, there could be a zillion other reasons why travelling out of town to study can be such a wonderful experience. For me, it is all about rediscovering a part of you which was probably dormant for a while. What is yours? Until next time, I am going keep traveling, living and learning!