Doctorate on the road

by Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley /
Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley's picture
Jun 04, 2011 / 0 comments

Of the possible subjects one can devote one's life to, philosophy is not well respected. When you're studying it online while traveling, the respect lessons even further; if you are at Oxford, at least you have an admired diploma from a famous institution. You may never ever work again, but you still went to Oxford. At least your parents can brag about that.

I did briefly study at Oxford ( archaeology, another highly paid career choice). I planned to return and work on a degree from there, as the campus is indeed stunning and one certainly feels one is in an atmosphere that has been dedicated to knowledge for centuries. But fate made it that I did not pursue my degree until I became a mother and a Vedantist.

Inspired by Eastern mysticism and philosophy, I wanted to investigate the depths of religion and metaphysics. Jnana yoga, the 'yoga of philosophy' intrigued me, as normally spiritual attainment is thought to either be attained through meditation, alcohol, or LSD. Or, making a large donation to a spiritual organization that can bribe God for you ( no harm in that!!).

My husband and I became interfaith ministers several years ago, and thus I decided to study with the University of Sedona, which offers ministers a wonderful opportunity to study from a myriad of religions. The curriculum is basic and at the same time thorough. The papers are short but condensed. It's perfect for what I'm looking for. Now, if only I can convey the benefits of a PhD in philosophy to my mother ( not going to happen).

When I first began my doctorate, we were living in Cortona. Apparently there was a library, but I never found it. Instead, I ordered my books from amazon UK. Studying while being a homeschooling stay-at-home-mother-on-the-road-alot is difficult, as a toddler certainly does not assist one in research. Luckily Italy has amazing prosecco, which helped the former challenge but not for the latter.

Education is changing, diversifying. A self directed degree may be new, but as economic times are changing, one needs to think out of the box. Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind challenges us to reassess the future, which he claims will focus more on design, empathy, and other right brain qualities( that were previously attributed to drugs or insanity). Outsourcing is happening left and right, and many of us previously rejected artists and thinkers are being looked at in a different light. Maybe we are of use to society!

I will be finishing up my degree here in Phuket. I can read Huxley, Vivekananda, and everyone else on a beach or in a sala. Do I miss the archaic buildings, intellectual sparring? Of course. But I wouldn't trade it for the life I have now, enjoying the world and using it as my library.