Before I even took my final exams, I had a ticket to Spain. I left the country one month after getting my final college credits. When I officially received my degree, my mom sent me a photocopy so I could just see it. I knew I wanted to travel so I made the plans to make it happen and it was one of the best decisions of my life. It was also a pivotal moment in my life where I made a decision on my own with no real constrictions. I could have done anything after college: continued to be a bartender, go to graduate school, try to find an “adult” job etc… I chose to travel and I think most twenty-somethings should at least play with the idea of traveling after college.
Moving Abroad Might Just Be for You:
If you are done with making excuses As I discussed options for my future with my friends, it was strange feeling, like there were so many things I could do, it was overwhelming. I had heard about people teaching English abroad from my friends, booths on campus and various blogs. I decided to dive into some research. Many of my friends responded to the ideas of my adventure with statements like, “I’d love to do that but…,” “I’ll do that eventually,” or “when are you going to start your life?” The thing is all those excuses and eventually’s aren’t really going to get you anywhere. Life is so short, we know that because Drake said so, shouldn’t we stop making excuses and live life to the fullest?
If you are open to change. As I started to research travel options, I was incredibly impressed and slightly overwhelmed. It’s amazing the resources available! People pay off their student loans teaching in Asia, participating in the Peace Corp and more. Others, like me, just have fun working in a random country like Spain, working holiday visas in Australia or extended travel like workaway.info or WOOF.org. There are so many ways to get abroad but that requires you being okay with changing your life around and perhaps embracing the unsure.
Great resource for getting started: http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/living/
If you are feeling caged up. For me, I wanted to travel after feeling stir crazy in my hometown. I didn’t go away for college, I stayed within a 15 minute drive of my parents’ house. So when I graduated, I decided I needed to go far, far away. I get the same feeling from many people I talk to, that they are so sick of the routine, however, those people generally complain and remain stagnant. But you don’t have to be stagnant, there’s a whole world waiting out there.
If you are feeling like you haven’t accomplished much. After college, I looked at my resume and thought, “No one is going to hire me!” I have minimal experience and a skinny portfolio. Who is going to hire me when they have a straight-A student from a private college applying for the same position? But working and traveling abroad is sure a resume builder. It demonstrates the ability to cope with a variety of people, adapting to difficult situations, being aware of cultural differences, showing strong motivation and self-reliance. You can’t teach that at a university!
If you don’t mind working hard and sleeping on floors. I can sit here and tell you I love travel all day. You can go on Instagram and see all the pretty photos under hastags like #mytravelgram or #keepexploring. It’s beautiful out there in the world BUT there is a triangle of balance. You can have time, affordability or comfort but not all three. For every photo of a person posing on a mountain is an itchy, bug filled, uphill hike; For every photo of an architectural wonder is a long cramped train ride with a dirty hostel; For every plane ticket to an exotic destination there are grueling hours of labor and pinching pennies. Travel is affordable if you can sacrifice comfort.
If you don’t mind living with few possessions. I have like 7 shirts and 5 bottoms, in total for my whole wardrobe. Of course, I repeat the same outfits almost every week. Why? A pair of jeans is like $40 and so is a train ticket from Madrid to Gibraltar. Also, dragging around a giant suitcase is a pain both physically and financially. I put travel as a priority over my vanity and that’s my person choice.
*I totally understand people that take fashion and their appearance very seriously and don’t want to have to give up that part of themselves. But if you really can’t live without 6 purses and 12 pairs of shoes, you can always do something like teach abroad or work from somewhere stable as a base then travel out.
If you have few responsibilities. I don’t have children or pets. My parents, of course, get nervous about a lot of the things I do. I just assure them that I know what I’m doing and properly research my travels. More often than not, you are the one that is holding yourself back and perhaps you should be your own cheerleader and more forward.
*I totally understand some people aren’t able to quit everything and leave because they got an offer from their dream job or they have a child or a pet they don’t want to give up or a significant other etc… We all have different priorities and if your priority is to start a family that’s a beautiful thing. I often daydream about meeting someone falling in love, moving into an eco-friendly house with our two dogs and raising our children as bilingual yogis. (I’ve thought about this really hard before.) So I’m so happy you found what you needed in life but my path is different.
If you don’t mind not having a big career. I know a lot of my friends aren’t traveling because they would prefer to start working in their field and have big ambitions. Their intended careers are competitive like working in the entertainment industry. Time is of the essence in that industry. However, let me note that plenty of people that want to be doctors or lawyers or CEOs sometimes take a few years off to travel before beginning their careers. There are more and more options for working from home if you are an artist or computer programmer. And what’s better: beginning your career getting frustrated and quitting to travel, getting travel out of your system first or staying at the same job forever and never getting out of your comfort zone? It’s all about what YOU want out of life.
If you want to take advantage of this wonderful time in the world.
- The internet makes it really easy to find cheap or free accommodation, find a job, meet people and ask questions. There is a huge, diverse community of travelers that want you to join them. Just this week I posted on an expat forum about people’s experiences working in New Zealand. American expats in New Zealand were more than happy to encourage me and help me find resources. It just takes a couple hours of googling and posting on forums and you can find all the information you want.
- Air travel is as cheap as it will ever get. I bought my flight from Albuquerque, NM to Brussels, Belgium last year was $330 one way.
- The US Dollar is at its 10-year-best.
- Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
More information about why this is the perfect time to abroad travel: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/clayton-b-cornell/5-reasons-you-should-quit-your-job-to-travel-now_b_6907720.html
Travel isn’t for everyone but if you are hesitating about travel just stop, just do a little research and buy a plane ticket.