All Posts in “Education”

The School System is Dying. So it’s killing itself.

The education system is dying. Great alternatives are appearing. Code camps are teaching valuable professional skills. Courses for almost any topic are cheap and plentiful. Praxis is allowing young people to learn valuable skills and build a great signal for future employers. A better education is available outside of academia. And the research side isn’t far behind.

Companies like Y Combinator are funding independent research outside of higher education system.

A quick scan of the current environment shows you that university’s and colleges are in trouble.

Their competitors are improving quickly, and they are offering a superior product at a drastically lower price. College is in trouble, and they need to kick it into high gear to survive the competition. But now, more so than ever, they are making themselves irrelevant.

Administrators are unaware of the threat. They focus their energy on microaggressions, appropriation, rape culture, cultural sensitivity training. They are destroying themselves from the inside.

Now, when a young, intelligent person looks at her options, not only does she see that see has better non-college options to get an excellent education, but she sees that the actual college experience is worse than ever, and getting WORSE.

The inferior product of college is getting more expensive. The education content is falling further behind. And the PC culture is becoming more intolerable.

When you create institutions run by individuals without incentives to create value for the customer, those institutions die.

Travel University | Business 101

Business 101

Business school gets more popular every year. As the price of college rises, students want to make a safer investment so they choose a degree based on expected salary at the end. That means picking engineering, business, or something that will lead to law school. Business school sounds practical. You’re keeping your options open. It’s business, that where all the jobs are! So hundreds of thousands of high school seniors around the country know they want to work so they sign up for business school because they think they need to go to college.

In the college paradigm choosing to study business is a logical choice, but it is not the best way to learn about business.

Travel University | History 101 | Travel History

History 101 | Travel History 

Successful people learn from their mistakes. They don’t do the same thing over and over again and expect to get a different result. When they don’t get the results they want successful people learn a lesson, change their approach, and try something new. Learning from your mistakes is not easy, though. Observing mistakes and thinking them through requires resilience. You need to be comfortable with uncomfortable emotions, and most people are trained to avoid painful feelings. Instead of analyzing a decision they forget and understanding why it happened, most people avoid thinking about it and never learn.

“‘I have done that,’ says my memory. ‘I cannot have done that,’ says my pride, and remains inexorable. Eventually–memory yields.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Unable to handle the pain that comes from accepting responsibility for an action they aren’t proud of, people blame others. Their environment, their enemy, society.

Assigning responsibility is hard. There are so many factors that contribute to every single moment. If you spill hot tea on a friend, it could be you running into them, them running into you, or maybe even a third person who said something right before is responsible. A simple movement like pouring tea on a friend is complex and contains partial responsibility for a number of people. Now, try to take a four year period of world war two and tell me who is responsible.

On a day to day level, it can be challenging to learn from our mistakes. It can be challenging to assign responsibility. That problem extends when you try and interpret and learn lessons from millions of individuals all over the world.

The complexity of history makes it hard to teach in any environment, but especially a school. Especially when the people running the school, the school district, and the department of education have a vested interest in making you see events in a certain way.

Travel University: Psychology 101

Psychology 101 | Travel Psychology

Psychology can be your owner’s manual. A practical understanding of the big ideas and concepts in psychology allows you to live better. You learn about the reasons people are happy or unhappy, what motivates people, how to overcome trauma, and how to live a more serene and joyful life. This is practical psychology, but it is not what you would find in a college course.

If you go to college, Psychology would probably be an option you never take. The students that do take Psych 101 learn about a pyramid of needs, the history of psychology, diseases and other abstract theories. You learn about schizophrenia, but not about meditation, you learn about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but don’t take any time to explore your emotions.

Travel gives you lessons in practical psychology.

Travel University: Practical Philosophy 101

Practical Philosophy 101 

What is your purpose?

What is the point of your life? And while we’re at it, who are you? Who are you really?

You may not have answers on the top of your head. These are deep, philosophical questions.

You may not have taken the time to sit down and answer them, but as an acting human being you are communicating your answers. And if you haven’t answered them for yourself you are probably living with someone else’s answers.

Travel University Chapter 3 – Communication 101

COMM 101: How to Not Suck at Conversation

There is no area of education that travel has taught me more about than communication. I have gone from shy and quiet, to occasionally being called extroverted and assertive. I can link all of this change back to traveling. Before I dive into the changes that happen while traveling, let’s rewind all the way back to the start.

I grew up in a very small town in British Columbia, Canada. A town with a population of about 2000 people, most of which were old retirees. There was only elementary school so kids bus into Penticton, a city 15km away with about 35,000 people. I took a bus to school every morning for the final five years of my schooling.

Since I was going to school in Penticton, all of my friends lived at least 10 miles away. I was out in Naramata, dependent on the bus to get to and from school, so whenever would be friends asked me to do something I had to say no. I was already shy, but while the other kids my age were starting to go to party’s and become more social, I was sitting in a basement playing video games by myself.

When I got to university, I was living on campus surrounded by people of the same age and with similar backgrounds. Through the anxiety-reducing effects of alcohol, I was able to bond with a few people who would remain my core group of friends throughout my time at university.

Travel University Chapter Two – Finance 101

FNCE 101

One of the most frequent complaints about the school system is that students don’t learn practical skills. Forced to sit in class and hear about algebra instead of learning how to earn, save and invest money, students aren’t prepared to be independent adults.

If you choose to head off to college, the education on personal finance doesn’t get much better than it was in high school. In college, you can dig into lots of abstract topics that touch on the money. Courses in economics, corporate finance and future and options trading all involve learning about money, but you still don’t learn the necessary financial management skills that are so essential to a happy life.

If you do learn personal finance before you are 21, it is from your parents.

New Book! Travel University

Later this summer I am releasing a book about education. It tells the story of how 12 months traveling was a better education than four years of college. And a lot more fun at the same time. The book will go through 10 subjects and point out the differences between the real world education you create traveling and the academic education you receive in college.

Instead of keeping this book hidden until it comes out as a finished product. I will be publishing it here chapter by chapter over the next two weeks.

Without a hard deadline writing a book can take ages. I first came up with the idea for this book in March of 2015. I created a map of the story I wanted to tell, and wrote the majority of a first draft in April 2015. Then…. I stopped. It got pushed to the side as some other responsibilities flared up in my life.

Half a year later, in January 2016, I returned to the book. I edited the chapters that I had, and later in the spring I finished off the first draft with a conclusion. There I was, with a full first draft done, and once again I stopped.

The book felt disjointed. I had a lot of resistance to editing, and I let the resistance stop me. I kept putting off editing until one day I forgot about it for a month.

And now here we are, more than a year after I started, and I’m finally going to finish this thing.

Each day for the next two weeks a new part of the book will come out. They’ll be adapted to be readable on their own, as a blog post, and they will be in a different order than when they come out in a book.

The most important part of writing a book in the open is the chance to get feedback from you, the reader. Please write your thoughts into the comments, or send me an email.

Let’s start today with your introduction to a travel education.

Be More Practical

Have you seen “I Am Not Your Guru?

It’s the new Tony Robbins documentary on Netflix following six days at a Tony Robbins Seminar.

It’s good movie, but there is one point that stuck out. One sentence, hidden in the middle of the documentary, that struck me.

Tony was telling the story of his childhood. His mother was violent and unstable. Tony was talking about it and said, “I had to learn practical psychology.”

Practical psychology.

Tony didn’t have time for fancy ideas, for debates about what the ego means, to take classes, or to write papers. He didn’t have time to learn the history of psychology. He needed some fucking good ideas. He needed them right away.