Mark Twain believed “one must travel, to learn” and we couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing like mastering the steps to the flamenco in Spain or learning the ways of the ninja in Japan itself – any interest can be the backbone of your travel adventure. So, skip the sunburn on the beach and instead, combine your holiday with the chance to inspire your soul, expand your mind, savour a hands-on experience, and bring home a newly acquired skill. Make the world your classroom.
Explore, eat, drink, enjoy
It’s time to go beyond supermarket Asian stir-fry sauces and microwave Italian chicken meals.
1. Learn how to prepare traditional dishes from a chef in Bali and take home authentic recipes to impress your friends. Ayam goreng > cup-o-noodles
2. Discover the secrets to making authentic Italian food in Mazzano Romano and in Florence. You can pick your ingredients straight from the garden, and learn how to prepare a full-course Italian meal guided by step-by-step instructions from a local expert. You’ll never look at pizza the same way again.
3. Become a wine connoisseur by tasting your way across vineyards in Spain. There’s so much more to wine than pairing red with meat and white with fish.
Learn the local lingo
Picking up a language in the country where it’s actually spoken is more authentic and immersive than learning it out of a book. Start with the phrases “Please”, “Thank You”, “I’m sorry”, “Where is the restroom?” , “Why is the wine always gone?” — and perhaps a few simple lines like those in the video below, to express affection (P.S. we take no responsibility for what happens if you actually use these).
4. Learn the dozens of words Inuits use to refer to snow by living amongst a community for a couple of days. It’ll make you make appreciate what words are worth.
5. Stay with a local Japanese family who’ll help you pick up the language and take you around the city to practice it in real situations. Just imagine, now you’ll be able to watch anime without the subtitles. Yatta!
Walk on the wild Side Like Steve Irwin
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, here are learning experiences that put you up close and personal with the world’s most charismatic animals.
6. Experience the thrill of mushing your own husky sled team through forests in Finland. You’re never too young to learn to drive after all.
7. Train to be a mahout in Laos. Not only will you get the chance to feed, bathe, ride and care for an elephant, but you’ll also learn verbal and body language to communicate with these majestic animals. Neither you nor the elephants will forget this experience.
8. Follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan (figuratively) by hunting with eagles in Mongolia and learning some of the skills used in training these birds. Feel like a warrior.
Learn a tune, shake a leg
Experts agree that it’s never too late to become skilled at an iconic instrument or a dance. Find your own inner rhythm and beat while holidaying at one of those beautiful destinations:
9. Think passionate movement. Think powerful dancing. Master the steps to the flamenco in Spain, and move to the tempo of Barcelona in the streets.
10. Learn to play the Djembe in Ghana under the tutelage of famous musicians. Feel the African rhythm in your fingertips and discover how to tease the sound of a thunderclap from a pair of humble goatskin drums.
A crafty touch
Whether it’s a childhood talent or an unfulfilled passion, learning an art or craft during your getaway will let you get your creative juices flowing.
11. Learn drawing and painting when you’re in Italy, surrounded by the art of Renaissance masters. Don’t worry if you can’t match Michelangelo – practice makes perfect.
12. Try your hand at a traditional craft. In Jordan, you can learn how to make colorful handmade rugs.
Try a new sport
There’s nothing wrong with the sports or exercises you’re doing, but perhaps you’re seeking just a little more excitement. Try these on for size . . .
13. Sandboard the giant dunes in Dubai. It’s snowboarding and surfing taken to the next level.
14. Learn how to snorkel, safely, in the warm waters of the Red Sea. You’ll discover an underwater world of colorful reefs, coral gardens and a kaleidoscope of fish.
15. Play ice hockey in Ladakh. Enjoy the thrill of a match against the incredible backdrop of the Himalayas.
So, there you have it. These travel experiences offer benefits that will last a lifetime (rather than a collection of seashells). Don’t hold back. Your future self will thank you.