TED is a non-profit organization on a mission to “spread ideas” in order to encourage a deeper understanding of the world. It is a global community that stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, welcoming people who seek a deeper understanding of the world. They believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.
Ted Talks have inspired and influenced a million people around the world. It has encouraged people to leave their comfort zone, ideate solutions to world problems and pass on knowledge about the planet we call home.
Here are 8 of my favorite Ted Talks that will incite you to travel, give you insights on why it is so easy to get enraptured by it and how we can travel to learn. From walking to the South Pole and back to surfing in ice cold waters to walking across a continent, what are the lessons that these travellers learnt? Hit play on these talks while you pack your bags for an epic journey.
1. Deep Travel – Connecting on the road and in life. By Judith Fein
Judith Fein, a successful travel journalist asks us to ENGAGE and ask REAL questions. There should be an ‘exchange’ of information with the people you meet. Let the locals ask you questions about where you come from and the life that you lead. Learn. Play. Talk.
When we travel, those of us who love interacting with locals often end up asking most of the questions. We seldom give a chance or more importantly encourage them to ask us questions. Travelling is not just a means to learn about different cultures, but also a way to educate others about your own.
Her talk will inspire you to make not just your travels, but also your everyday life a voyage of learning about the people around you. So open your hearts. SEE that person. Be curious. Ask questions and let them ask you questions.
2. Where is home? By Pico Iyer
More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own. According to Pico Iyer, home is less to do with a piece of soil than with a piece of soul. His notion that where you come from is much less important than where you are going is true to every word. In our world of constant movement, it is very common to have lived in multiple countries.
So, where is it that you call home? Why is it that, a new place where you’ve spent only a month feels more like home than a place where you have lived for a decade? Home is not where you are born but where you become yourself. It’s not just a place where you sleep; it’s a place where you stand.
3. Why bother leaving the house? By Ben Saunders
Ben Saunders, a polar explorer, led the only successful human powered 105 day expedition to the South Pole and back. His talk inspires us to set goals and reminds us that we need to live life by getting out into the world.
There are people who do not understand the reasons behind choosing to travel or pursuing a deathly adventure. What is the purpose of climbing Mt. Everest or any other mountain for that matter which could possibly kill you in the process? According to Ben Saunders, there is something addictive about tasting life at the very edge of what is humanly possible.
4. Learn to travel. Travel to learn. By Robin Esrock
According to Robin Esrock, a successful travel writer, travel producer and global adventurer, we need a wakeup call to remind us that we aren’t getting any younger. Our lives are mitigated by routine. Our minds are shaped by what the media wants us to think. But as you travel and see the world firsthand you learn that people would rather help you than hurt you. Locals take great pride in showing their world. You’ve got to listen to your instincts. Trust it. Every single place on this planet is beautiful in its rawness.
So before you go on any journey, pack the right state of mind. A simple smile can help you connect with the people around you, after all a smile means the same thing in all languages.
5. The joy of surfing in ice-cold water. By Chris Burkard
“Anything that is worth pursuing is going to require us to suffer, just a little bit,” says surf photographer Chris Burkard, as he explains his obsession with the coldest, choppiest, most isolated beaches on earth.
Sometimes you set out to find adventure, but all you end up finding is routine. Trapped by the touristy gimmicks, craving for some wide open spaces, he set out to explore places that were written off as dangerous, impossible, too remote, too cold. It was his personal crusade against the mundane.
6. Travelling quickly is a waste of time. By Nick Hunt
Why walk to Istanbul when you can fly? In this invigorating talk, Nick Hunt explains the reason for his choice of walking to Istanbul from Holland. For him, travelling quickly is a waste of time. You miss out on the additional experiences, stories and friends when you take the quicker route. In an age of total information, he prefers to travel in the spirit of wide eyed discovery because research would only spoil the joy, the surprise, the spontaneity of what lay around the next corner.
Sometimes, our journey is not a means to an end but an end in itself. What he tries to tell us is that every person you meet, each place you see, every experience you feel, every stream, every hill, has been a true point of destination. It’s never one journey, but multiple journeys with multiple points of arrival.
7. I’m home: How 10 years of travel helped me find belonging. | Phil Cha
When you leave your friends family, the media and everyone who tells you who you have to be, your language and comfort zone is when you are free to find out who you WANT to be and what you can really do. When you learn about other people, you learn about yourself.
Phil Cha talks about how after a round the world trip of fighting, martial arts, depressing countries, world festivals, human experiences, it still wasn’t enough. He could not find his belonging or identity. After constant travelling for years, he felt old, poor because of the debts, but most of all, he felt alone. But he soon realized that his identity was no longer any place, it came from the people he was with, the people who were trying to find themselves too as he travelled alongside them. He had the passion from fire performers, attention to detail from cosplayers, competitiveness from the B-boys and insanity from the runners in Antarctica.
He concluded that belonging is not a geographical location anymore. Identity is just a collaboration of the people around you, the people you are closest to and that’s where you find your belonging.
8. The art of stillness. By Pico Iyer
Nowhere is magical unless you can bring the right eyes to it. To develop a more attentive and more appreciative eye is by going nowhere, to sit still. A trip that you take might last a couple of days or months. It might give you beautiful sights but it’s only by sitting still that it will give you lasting insights. It’s the empty space that is one our greatest luxuries. It gives our imagination some room to breathe. The beauty of travel is that it allows you to bring the stillness into the motion and commotion of the world. In an age of constant movement nothing is as urgent as sitting still.
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