Personally, I use the Pythagorean Theorem every day, but I have to admit the things you learn from traveling are a lot more useful. Here are a few essential life skills your textbooks forgot.

1. How to Sleep Sitting Up

Buddha once said the journey is more important than the destination. But Buddha was never on 12-hour bus ride with a crying baby. Planes, trains, buses, boats-they’re all great places to take a snooze. However, they all beg the question: should you lean your head on the window, on your hands, on the person next to you? Sleeping in a chair is an art, and backpackers are the virtuosos.

2. Drinking Songs in Every Language

No matter where you travel, people like to get together and drink. And the more you drink, the more you sing. Whether you’re in Hanoi, Kuta, Bangkok or Sydney every town has a hilarious drinking song to learn from the locals. For some odd reason these songs are all too often left out of language textbooks. Sometimes the bar is the best classroom.

3. How to make friends with almost anyone

You’ll become impressively good at making small talk, and often will find you’re out of the small talk and into the DMCs (deep meaningful conversations) within five minutes of meeting people. Hostel workers, bartenders, fellow solo travellers, the guy sat next to you on the bus, you’ll find yourself with almost too many friends when travelling; the only problem is trying to remember all of their names.

4. How to Survive On Peanut Butter and Ramen

Your parents probably told you to eat your fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, healthy food is expensive… A good traveler knows how to shop on a budget. I mean what would you rather have – organic tomatoes or a skydive on Mission Beach? Backpacking Australia and Southeast Asia, you’ll learn how to cook up amazing dishes like ramen flavored peanut butter and peanut butter flavored ramen. The possibilities are endless!

5. How to Use Public Transportation

Soon after moving to Sydney, I learned that some trains go where I want to go…and others do not. Public transportation maps are a lot like chemistry diagrams in that I have absolutely no idea what they mean. But despite the inevitable, unexpected detours you’ll take when you travel to a new city, eventually the numbers and letters start making more sense and becoming less reminiscent of hieroglyphics.

6. How To Tell an Awesome Story

No one wants to hear about that time you aced your algebra test, except for maybe your mom. But the time paddled through the rice paddies, then gambled with the locals all night on VietnamIntro, that’s a better story. Everyone loves a crazy tale, but the adventure isn’t in any classroom, it’s on Volcano’s in Bali, down street markets in Bangkok, at the beaches in Sydney, and hidden tunnels in Vietnam. It’s out there, go find it!

If the classroom is starting to feel stale, maybe it’s time you take a break from studies to go learn something. And we think you might have a little fun while you do. Visit http://www.voyageatpeace.com to get your adventure started!

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