If not travelling, read!

by Mimi Miwya

If I had to choose between investing money in studying and investing money in travelling, I would pick travel any day of the week… unless of course you have the opportunity to study abroad – two birds, one stone!

I honestly believe traveling provides an education far more valuable than could be acquired in any classroom. The only other thing I’d perhaps place above classroom education is the cultivation of a sincere love for reading. In my head that’s a cheaper form of travelling.

A great part of the perks of travelling is that you get the kind of exposure that no book or TV programme could ever give you, but even greater than that, I feel travelling is an amazing way of discovering yourself.



I remember my first overseas trip… I was 19 and visiting my big brother in Beijing. My time there made me realise that over half the people I would meet didn’t even know of Namibia’s existence and were interested in Mimi, “the African”, so I had the responsibility of not only playing ambassador for Namibia, but for Africa as well.

I often say that the worst thing about the Namibian youth is we are spoilt, passive and take for granted the opportunities and information we have at our exposure. That Namibian youth is me. I will readily admit my ignorance of anything that isn’t of direct benefit or interest to me.

So it was bad enough that I suddenly had to know population, historical and social facts about my country off the top of my head, but to have the same knowledge about this continent my country is a part of… what was scary.

My saving grace at the time was that when you are in a foreign land, all the Africans spot each other somehow… And there’s no better way to get an education about other countries than over drinks and good music.

This article was initially supposed to be about the perks of travelling in general, but reflecting on my personal experiences, I’ve discovered how important it is to know where you come from as you set off into the world.

Note how I don’t say ‘before you set off into the world’ because sometimes to learn more about who you are and where you come from, you may need to leave the confines of your comfort zone and be confronted with some difficult questions.

Even more exciting about travelling, though, is all the different people you get to meet. People who don’t have any pre-conceived assumptions about you based on reputation, rumour or association, meaning you can create a completely new identity for yourself and they would believe you.

Maybe you even discover that that’s who you’ve been all along! In lieu of travelling (while you save up or hustle or whatever) READ!

I honestly think it doesn’t matter what you’re reading, as long as it’s the written word in some form. You’re bound to come out of it having learned something new, even if it’s just a word.

 

Munukayumbwa Mwiya (Mimi) does not quite consider herself a writer, but loves to write because it provides her some refuge. She also loves travelling whenever and wherever possible. Read her blog at ramblingsofapotentiallycrazyperson.com.

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