Have you ever dreamed of heading off on an adventure to a far away destination only to then have that small voice whisper; is it too late for that? Maybe this isn’t the best idea. Is there a point and time in your life where you should hold off on your travels, or stop altogether?
This is a thought that has scratched at the surface of my mind for years. It has always tried to pry its way out whenever I’m close to booking my latest trip. You’re being irresponsible! It screams. What about your career? The voice protests.
When you travel in your twenties, there are going to be people who believe you’re making a mistake. This will carry on through the years, but it often starts in our twenties when we are told it’s finally time to start our adult lives.
Here are the most common things I’ve been told about my travels and my age:
TRAVELING IS IRRESPONSIBLE
By traveling, you’re being irresponsible. You’re taking the easy road out and running away from real life. There are some people who view travel as an escape, or as an easy alternative. The thing is, traveling and living in various corners of the globe is anything but easy. It takes courage, responsibility and accountability to live on your own in a place where you don’t know a soul. Traveling abroad will teach you life lessons you never would have come across while living at home.
Living in Whistler, BC, I got a taste of reality by having to pay for rent (in one of the most expensive cities in Canada!) while working, exploring, and hanging out with friends. When I spent two months of travel in Europe, I learned to stick to a budget and navigate through cities where I knew not a word of the language. You can travel responsibly, and even if you make mistakes along the way- you are still learning.
YOU CAN’T VACATION FOREVER
When most people hear you’re traveling, they will assume you’re going on a vacation. The truth is, during my longer travels, I had to work to support myself and stay in the country that I was exploring. Not all trips are a simple vacation. A week spent lounging on the beaches of Mexico at an all-inclusive resort; that’s a vacation! When you’re exploring new countries, immersing yourself in their culture and meeting new people along the way- that’s an experience. Trying to communicate in a language you don’t speak, navigating around a town you’ve never been to- it takes a lot of work, patience and courage. It’s a brave thing to venture into the unknown. You are learning new things each day you travel. Things that will shape who you are, widen your perspective and humble you.
YOU’LL HAVE NO WORK EXPERIENCE
If you don’t settle down now and commit to a job, you’ll never start your career. While other people are out there getting work experience, you’re not. This is the furthest thing from the truth! Surprisingly, my travel experiences are one of the first things interviewees bring up at an interview. They’re interested to know where I’ve worked, traveled, and what I’ve learned during my experiences. Your travels can be used as valuable experience in your work life- it’s simply up to you to use it that way. What have your travels taught you? Did you volunteer abroad, work in a hostel, meet and communicate with people from across the globe? These are all experiences! Don’t be afraid to use them as they set you apart from the crowd.
TRAVEL MEANS BEING SINGLE
If you’re constantly on the road, how will you ever meet someone? Some people think if you’re traveling, you’re closing off any real opportunity to meet someone. In all honesty, I’ve met more people while on my travels than I have by working and living at home. Not only do you meet people while traveling- you meet people from countries you’ve never been, places you’ve yet to see. They have unique stories and experiences to share. Your love of travel bonds you to these new unfamiliar faces, and can create friendships and relationships that last through the years. You don’t have to stay in one place to meet someone, and traveling doesn’t cast you as an outsider destined to be alone. There are plenty of opportunities to meet people abroad, if not more!
Have you ever believed it was too late for you to travel? Share your experiences!