I want to take this flattened world and pour it into my skull
April 11, 2006 5:55 PM   Subscribe

WeirdSkillsFilter: Where can I learn more exotic/unusual skills cheaply while traveling?

You can learn SCUBA in Roatan, Spanish in Guatemala or cooking in Oaxaca. All of these courses are cheaper than their US counterparts.

What and where can you learn more unusual skills cheaply ?

Criteria: Instruction in english (or at a pinch, spanglish/poorly spoken english!) - topic and location away from the humdrum. I'm particularly interested in south/central america but anywhere in the world with a cheap plane ticket from NYC. The course must be cheap!

Example: Learn combat/shooting skills in nicuaragua/el salvador from ex-mercenaries. Ride a horse in Argentina - from gauchos? Learn to drive racecars in the far east? Martial arts in China? Wilderness survival somewhere in the jungle/desert? Sleight of hand? Other james-bond esque stuff?

Don't limit yourself to the Bond-ian: ANY UNUSUAL SKILLS : wild and wacky (but truthful!) answers appreciated.

The US is a great place to learn stuff: it's just too expensive. Globalisation should help me dammit!
posted by lalochezia to Education (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I realize this stuff leans towards the 'action man' genre. I just read snow crash and am reminded of Hiro's quote

"Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Columbian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted myself to being bad."

I'm 32, probably slightly delusional and have 3 months......

posted by lalochezia at 5:55 PM on April 11, 2006

I don't know how badass they are, but there are all sorts of cooking, massage, language etc classes in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It's expensive to get there, but the classes themselves are incredibly cheap. You can also teach yourself to ride a motorcycle if you don't already know.
posted by borkingchikapa at 6:29 PM on April 11, 2006

From the cheap part how would you sustain yourself while you were training/learning (presumably, stuff worth learning is usually going to take some time)?

How about apprenticeship in carpentry, metalurgy/smithing, forestry (learn to be a lumberjack!), &c...? Get paid to learn.

That, and when the civilizational apocalypse strikes, you'll be useful skills.

Then again, you could try to learn everything on this list..."A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

(and the awesome metafilter post on just this quote)

Oh, it just occured to me - Join a Circus!! You'd be able to cadge training from an incredibly diverse range of people with an incredibly diverse range of skills.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 6:52 PM on April 11, 2006

You can go to Valle Sagrado (sacred valley) around Cuzco in Peru and learn how to make jewelery for free, they just expect you to stay on for a week or so and they keep half of what you make. 2 friends of mine did this, is how I know.
posted by signal at 6:58 PM on April 11, 2006

Tango in Buenos Aires (US$2/evening, and evenings run long in BA);
Capoeira in Brazil (though Brazil is not so cheap right now);
Definitely horse-back riding, cattle-roping and ranching, at the estancias in Uruguay (even meatier than Argentina on a per capita basis)

these are off the top of my head on your South American theme.
posted by whatzit at 7:44 PM on April 11, 2006

You can go to Thailand and learn Thai boxing pretty cheaply.
posted by Alison at 4:19 AM on April 12, 2006

Go to Japan, join a dojo and study karate, like I did. Granted, I only got as far as a purple belt, and I'm completely out of shape now, but I like to think it gives me some minor bad-ass street cred just to be able to say "I studied karate in Japan."
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:05 AM on April 12, 2006

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