I read the book “Blindsight” a few months ago and I’m reminded of when the crew was exploring a massive alien spaceship. Lightly tethered to their home ship, they entered the foreign vessel and inched forward into the unknown. It was a nerve racking scene. They didn’t know whether the aliens were hostile or friendly nor the purpose of the vessel. Only through the danger of exposing themselves to the unknown could they investigate and learn the secrets of the abyss contained inside this vessel.
Open ended travel is the less dramatic and nerdier version of exploring the unknown. You subject yourself to the uncertainty of unemployment and instability with the hope that you will gain insight into the world and secondarily, yourself.
Why does one have to cut the cord and dive into the deep end? Bridled by a full time job and having a permanent residence forces one to observe the world from a fixed point. You can certainly learn about the world through short bursts of travel and through documentaries and conversations with friends but there is always a degree of separation. In response to the question I would pose this question. How best can one learn what it is to swim in the ocean? The question obviates the answer.