I Know This Much...
There’s that old graduation day joke: “What did you learn at college?” “My social security number.”
Well what do you learn in a year around the world? Your passport number.
In addition to those nine digits I’ve come up with this list of newfound knowledge:
…when you toast with someone you must make eye contact or suffer seven years bad sex.
…the “s” in Laos is silent.
…in Australia (and the UK) the word “Quay” is pronounced “key” and city bus drivers are happy to laugh at you for messing it up.
I've learned to identify the accent of most westerners and though I don’t understand their languages, I can almost always hear the difference between Swedish, Dutch, and Danish.
…to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, kilos to pounds to stones, kilometers to miles, liters to gallons.
…to enjoy bus/train/plane travel so much that I always wish the trip would last a little longer. I really do. It’s just so relaxing in that seat.
…Holland and The Netherlands are the same place. People who come from there are Dutch.
…the rules of cricket (more or less) and the difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League.
…why some sports are popular in the U.S. but others are popular elsewhere: American sports fan prefers quick bursts of action that can then be replayed (football, baseball)…Foreigners prefer sustained action regardless of frequent scoring (soccer, rugby).
…about ten words of ten different languages, though I’ve forgotten more than I’d like to admit. For now my Spanish and Portuguese are actually pretty decent.
…to be happy doing pretty much anything alone.
…to sense the right “path” just by looking at the environment. I can usually tell where the train station must be or where the taxi stand is; there’s a universal logic to those things that you’re able to recognize after a while.
…to start a conversation really easily.
Maybe most importantly, I’ve learned that everything always works out. It’s the reason people are so often happy with their choices (traveling and otherwise); because whatever path you choose, it always turns out to be a good one.