Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Next Generation of Wanderers

by Stacey Ebert / May 07, 2019 /
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The other day, I saw an article that declared a growing trend amongst millennials to return to the same vacation spot because [it said] no one wanted to do any research anymore. Now, I spent my entire teaching career making sure my students shied away from generalizations, and forced them to go deeper explaining things like, ‘the person I interacted with’ or ‘this one person I spoke to’ instead of lumping people into amorphous groups of giant sizes. So, no, I don’t believe that every single person fitting a particular generation is in this category and doesn’t want to do research, but it’s safe to say that somewhere along the line, the idea of not returning to a place because you adore it so much but returning to a spot for the sole reason of not wanting to do any research to find someplace else became a thing. Really? This is a thing? Oy vey!

Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Next Generation of Wanderers

Every other minute, someone on social media asks for advice on things like what to do for five hours in Paris or suggestions for places to stay in Bangkok. Sure, we can all ask Google or Alexa or see if someone else will chime in with their suggestions (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but more often than not, if it’s suggestions, how do you know they’re for you? Getting down and dirty and into the research is the part that makes your trip just that–yours. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tailored 6-week group tour, a personalized villa overlooking a gorgeous whatever, or six hours roaming around the middle of Times Square, doing a little research provides a bit of ownership to the entire adventure…and makes your journey yours.

A little bit of effort leads to heaps of possibilities.

If we can teach that to the next generation of wanderers, who knows what exciting things they’ll uncover in the world, in their travels, and about themselves.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Next Generation of Wanderers

For centuries, teachers have tried to share some knowledge and wisdom with their new crop of students. Our next new crop of students IS our next generation of adventurers. Let’s teach them that the learning is in the doing, that the struggles often lead to triumph, and that research yields discovery. Today, there are so many avenues of research at our fingertips, and by tomorrow I’m sure there’ll be even more. There are places to go for online hotel, airline, and restaurant reviews. There are places to seek out endless information on cities and countries, states and provinces, islands and continents–and ways to find out the vast resources available from which to pull, to educate ourselves and teach our students. Decades ago, we might have only asked those we know;  today, we can sit behind a screen at all hours of the day and night and read the opinions of strangers who perhaps have had experiences we’re considering exploring. Today, we have access to libraries and research around the globe, and can not only read the guidebook, but find a local and ask for their own personal take on the place they live.

Doing the research matters–it’s only then that we can take that information and use it to decide if it fits our travel wishes. 

At some point in life, we’ve all learned a form of the scientific method. You might have been sitting in a science class ready to tackle an exciting lab, you might have been in a history class talking about life during the Renaissance, or perhaps you were on a wilderness retreat delving headfirst into the realities of nature, but somewhere along the line, we’ve all used this method. Whether in a laboratory or on your couch, the steps (ask a question, do background research, construct a hypothesis, experiment to test the hypothesis, analyze and draw conclusions, and then communicate the results) have been used along the journey. It’s part of the process, it’s part of the experience, and whether we solve for ‘x’, figure out when is the best time to visit Fiji, or find our favorite bistro in the south of France, learning has happened along the way. 

There’s learning in the doing–it matters.

Our next generation of wanderers will have a different experience than we did. It’s easier to learn things faster now than it was without the use of the Internet. Today, students have both books and the online world to increase their knowledge, enhance their connection, and quite literally allow them to get a bird’s eye view of places far beyond their local borders. 

Connection of all sorts can happen at the click of a button or a swipe of a screen, and the community of other wanderers and travelers continues to grow at record speeds. Worldschoolers can meet at pop up communities around the globe to share stories about their travels and lessons from the road. Pen Pals can Facetime, classrooms can Skype, lectures can be listened to on a podcast from the comfort of a hammock, and guidebooks (on paper and online) are still coming up with new and intriguing things to see and do in every corner of the world. 

Still, doing your own research matters. 

If everyone tells you ‘you should’ take a cruise to Alaska but you want to drive, do the research. If everyone tells you that ‘you must’ visit a certain mountain town but you think it might not be what you’re looking for, do the research. If everyone tells you ‘you can’t possibly’ visit Africa without doing a safari in Kruger National Park, do the research. Use your best judgment, ask lots of questions, have your own experiences, and, of course, share them with that growing community. 

There’s no one way to travel, there’s no one way to see the world, and there’s certainly no one way to find out about the places and methods available to each of us. 

Yes, it’s easy to put a question out there into the void of the social media world and wait for someone to quickly pipe in with their experience (and it’s often information to add to that necessary bundle of research), but if it becomes the only method of researching, then truly our adventure becomes that of someone else’s. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Next Generation of Wanderers

No one can make the butterfly become the butterfly; first, she has to be a caterpillar and go through the process to become a butterfly. It isn’t always easy, it’s not always pretty, it’s definitely not always comfortable, and it doesn’t happen quickly, but in the growth process, along the adventure, she learns, she changes, and she gets the chance to quite literally spread her wings and fly. 

Let’s give our next generation of wanderers the tools they need to ask their own questions, create their own hypotheses, do their own research, and come to their own conclusions.

With those skills at their fingertips, their adventure possibilities are endless.

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Through the Eyes of an Educator: The Next Generation of Wanderers

Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com for more of her travel musings.

 

 

 

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