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Why Traveling Is the Best Form of Education

Why Traveling Is the Best Form of Education

Let me start out by saying, my journey to becoming an educator was very untraditional. What started when I was a fly fishing guide has now turned into what I do every day teaching Dry Needling and Spinal Manipulation.

Interested in learning from me? Click here to view my courses.

Here are some thoughts on why traveling is the best form of education (and transformed the way I educate).

All Roads Lead to Teaching

I began working as a fly fishing guide in southwestern Alaska during my last summer in college. A fly fishing guide’s job is to teach their clients the local tricks, what flies to use, where to use them, how to use a fly rod if it’s their first time fly fishing, and hopefully, how to catch fish. That last one can sometimes be difficult for a variety of reasons.

Through this experience, teaching became second nature to me. I found it quite easy to utilize those skills teaching Dry Needling and Spinal Manipulation. The ability to converse with a wide variety of people is important as a fishing guide, and it is also helpful as a teacher. I always encourage people to travel because it really opens your eyes to how different and wonderful life is in different parts of the world. The experiences will serve you for the rest of your life.

The Value of Real World Experience

As a fly fishing guide, the lodge I worked at was a high-end fly fishing lodge in the Bristol Bay drainage. We took out 12 guests a week for 16 straight weeks, and the cost per guest was $10,000. The only way to get there was to take one of the lodge’s 7 seat, De Havilland Beaver float planes 400 miles over mountain ranges, rivers, glaciers, and complete wilderness. It is the most incredible flight I have ever taken.

The lodge sits on Enchanted Lake, a fairy tale nestled in the foothills of the Alaska Range, in the middle of nowhere, and it was awesome. I did not see a car, pavement, or power lines for 4 straight months. I got to fly in a million-dollar float plane every day to different rivers and help people catch trout, salmon, and arctic char. We fished right along with the brown bears, wolves, and lynx. There were herds of caribou, moose, eagles, wolverines, and more. We fished a 100-mile radius, and that area included about 27 different rivers that we could land the float plane within a few miles of. Some rivers we could land in, and for others, we had to land in a lake nearby. A lake big enough to take off from is the key, otherwise you crash. I have been in a float plane crash, and it was a bad one. It’s not fun, but that’s a story for another time.

Life as a fly fishing guide is pretty awesome if you like that kind of thing, being a vagabond and the like. For 7 years, I spent 8 months in South America and 4 months in Alaska. I got 2 springs, summers, and falls each year, skipping winter entirely. During that time, I made my way to every country in South and Central America and spent a good bit of time in each one.

The Value of a Change of Pace

Traveling all over Latin America and working as a fly fishing guide was a transformational experience for me. I lived in a tiny town in Southern Patagonia, Chile, where the majority of the people had no running water, wood heat only, and dirt floors. Most of the community sustained themselves off the land and the ocean, also raising cattle, sheep, and goats.

During my years in Latin America, I became fluent in Spanish and quickly realized that I loved Latin American Culture more so than ours. Things are so laid back and relaxing, and all aspects of life proceed nice and slow. This was a massive change from where I grew up in Boston, where it is impossible to drive 5 minutes without getting flipped off. In Latin American, instead of getting flipped off, random people would demand that you come into their house and share some Mate and bread with them. It was a pleasant change, and after a few years, I was fully immersed in the culture. I spoke very little English during the 8 months of the year I was there. After a couple of years, I became the lodge manager and continued to work as a guide.

In both Alaska and Patagonia, I fished with people from all over the world and guided in both Spanish and English. I learned a lot about many different professions and ways of life, spending a week at a time with each group of clients throughout the fishing seasons.

The different people, places, and everyday experiences are some of the most transformational experiences I've had as a perpetual student and educator. Interested in learning from me? Click here to view my courses.