Learn July-August 2012

“You haven’t really learned something until it changes your behavior” —Niall Doherty

Two months of a completely new lifestyle in a new and very different world, that´s bound to be filled with new experiences and learning!

Yep, they were. But there´s ways of looking at it. Exploring a new country and people, seeing new things is one way to learn. But I also like to learn beyond the borders of the country I´m living in, learn things that are not culture, country or location specific. And I´m happy to say I did that too, although I´d like to do more in the future.

Here´s a dump of all the stuff I´ve learned in the last two months:

  • making jewellery out of wires – well, basics, I couldn´t sell any of them for a stinky penny just yet…but seeing the life of artesanos creating their jewellery in a cheap hostel, then going out to sell it on the street to make a living (and buy loads of mate), whilst moving from place to place, country to country with a tiny bag gave me a new perspective on life. Minimalism at it´s best. 
  • improved my harmonica playing -not Johny Cash yet, but I can hold a tune now. My symphony to follow later….
  • speaking spanish – gained much more confidence, no problems chatting in spanish with strangers. Vocabulary needs improving and my tenses too of course.
  • learned a lot about how to build a cob house or other alternatives. Already thinking about building one in Slovakia, but that´ll have to wait a bit… cob house
  • improved my plastering skills (yep, had to go all the way to Ecuador for that)
  • learned to keep my luggage close and use that bloody money belt!
  • a thing or two about long distance walking, wild camping and rejecting offers for a lift :). More about that in this post.
  • mountain climbing, using crampons, ice axes, tasting the low oxygen levels of 6000+ meters above the sea level
  • swimming: now up to 15 meters, check that out. My personal record..(yep, I´m a shit swimmer and hate water. But I´ll be missing on a lot of things if I don´t change this)
  • Ayahuasca theory: Sacred Vine of Spirits: Ayahuasca – now just to try the real thing!
  • got a bit more spiritual in Temazcal (sweat lodge)
  • improved my horse riding skills
  • learned more Ashtanga yoga positions
  • learned about Krishna Consciounsness and their lifestyle (and delicious cooking!)
  • I improved my Mr Nice guy attitude, but there´s loads more to work on. What´s this? More about it in this post.
  • learned an important lesson about avoiding procrastination. You want to do something? Do it now. Your brain tells you “wait, there might be a better moment”, that´s possible, but equally, it might never happen. Why taking the risk, if you can do it now? What do you have to lose?
  • situation of rescue centers in Ecuador, how does a rescue center work
  • obtaining a passport is a pain in the ass, but nothing worse than a bit of bureaucracy
  • learned how to roll cigarettes with just my hands (but trying not to use that skill now…)

Volcano Chimborazo

I look at this list and it makes me happy, knowing that I learned more (in a broader knowledge sense) in the last two months than I did in a whole year before and that´s just the beginning. Knowing that this knowledge makes me a better person, will help me shape my future and will help me contribute to this world more.

I also learned how much I hate stagnation. Personal or intellectual stagnation, when you don´t feel like you´re learning, moving forward or making yourself better. At the beginning of this trip, I learned a lot, but much of it was kind of given as I´m in a new country. What I was missing was learning things from beyond the borders of the city or the country I´m in, reading books, blogs, articles, watching videos about stuff that enhances your view of the world, your self. One should always strive to learn more and I´m now making this a part of this blog and my every day, by setting my self more goals and little targets for each day or week. A bit of organization never harms, especially if it´s not work, but for your own good!

I learned that there´s so many people doing something similar, with different budgets, backgrounds, ideas and ages, but they all have one thing in common – decided to do it and went ahead and did it. Go on, take the plunge. You´re missing out on the world.

I learned that nothing really matters in terms of valuables, documents, money after having it all stolen. They can be bought, obtained again, or you learn to live without them, main thing is not to let little bumps on the road like that ruin the journey. They belong to life on the road too, but this applies in everyday life if you´re not travelling. Don´t waste your time feeling sorry for stuff that´s happened, was lost, stolen, but look ahead and make sure you´re enjoying what you have now. Every 5th person I meet had something stolen from them, all were very happy regardless.

I learned that one should try different things, see what works and what doesn´t, but one should also know when to stop pushing in the wrong direction and do something that really matters to you. In my case, it was travelling without a laptop, freeing up time to do other things. That worked well and I spent more time talking to people, practicing harmonica, learning spanish, reading, but there still were many gaps in my days, time I spent wandering about, not doing much. Those days didn´t feel that productive, I was missing out on many other things that one can nowadays do with internet. I´m not talking about Facebook and cats doing silly things videos on YouTube, but about the amount of information that there is to learn from. I missed reading other people’s blogs (people who inspired me to do this trip), reading about how to improve or challenge oneself etc. So two months in, and I bought a new laptop, and already feel that my days are more productive.

I will close this with question for you:

What have you learned in the last two months?

Let me know in the comments or just stop and take a moment to think about it.

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