“Good things happen to those who wait. Better things happen to those who get off their butt and make them happen.”
What is holding you back—A job? Studies? A significant other? Money? Why do you sit there in your cubicle dreaming of foreign places rather than actually being there? I can’t tell you how many people looked at me when I had decided to move to France and said, “I wish I could do that.”
Well, you can.
There is nothing that makes you and I different. Well, besides that I got off my butt. I had a great job, awesome friends, loved where I was living—everything made sense to stay put. But I needed something more. I needed to explore. And you do too.
It is hard finding that inspiration or convincing yourself that you can make this happen. But the facts are there. There are countless reasons to travel. Leaving the life you know now to travel for a bit or move abroad is entirely possible and completely doable. You don’t need to be Superman or have as much money as Donald Trump. You just need to be you, a fearless version of you.
So have you booked your ticket yet? Didn’t think so… Good thing one of us was prepared for this. Here is that extra push you need. Check out these 8 reasons to travel.
- The economy sucks. The sad truth is it is not so easy for everyone to find jobs at the moment. There are countless numbers of my friends who graduated college years ago and are still suffering the job search. This has nothing to say about their ability but the reality that jobs are tough to come by right now. So why not make the most of it? Rather than settling for that job at Jamba Juice or freeloading off your parents, explain your job gap on your resume by filling in travel. Being able to talk about how you successfully dealt with not speaking the language in a foreign country or how volunteering changed your career path will be much more impressive to a future employer than explaining why you settled for a minimum wage job when you have a management degree or why you have been “in-between” jobs for months. With the world becoming a much smaller place due to technology and business opportunities, employers are looking for more globally aware employees. Set yourself apart from the crowd with your worldly experiences. Don’t be afraid that employers will see this as a bad thing–enhancing your career is an excellent reason to travel.
- Find your path. Being in your 20s can be a confusing time of life. You have just entered the “real world” and you can no longer use the excuse, “well, I am in college.” You have to pay bills and wear a suit. No fun. Well it can be if you are doing something you love. The problem is people just get set on the path of college-job and you don’t take a second to ask yourself if this is what you really want. I always thought I knew what I wanted. I went into college with a declared major and a clear career path plotted out. I had a very good job set up for after my graduation and seemingly had everything I could have wanted. But I needed something else, so I risked it and moved abroad. During this experience, I have realized I want different things and things I thought would make me happy have now been changed. I know myself and what I want from life better. This wouldn’t have happened with my experience abroad. It has allowed me to redefine my path towards what I believe will be a happier future.
- Re-invent yourself. Is there something you wish you could be? A bit more social, a licensed scuba diver, fluent in Italian, more compassionate? What better way to make it happen than placing yourself somewhere new and challenging yourself. You can totally be the person you want to be when traveling. You will be forced to talk to that person in your hostel if traveling solo and want to meet friends. You can immerse yourself in a language rather than studying from a book a few hours each week. For me I wanted to be more independent and I decided I needed to move myself thousands of miles away from everything I knew. It is up to you what you want but traveling will help you grow. You are forced to stretch when pulled from your comfort zone. And I guarantee you will be surprised with your ability to deal with unforeseen challenges.
- Meet inspiring people and broaden your viewpoints. To me the coolest part about traveling is the people you meet (and the awesome food!). I seriously have an obsession with hostels because they facilitate meeting people, but when traveling it is easy to meet people anywhere. I have friends from all over the world now and they each have taught me something different. I am continually inspired by each person and love hearing their story. The more people I meet the more I realize how similar everyone in the world is despite where they grew up. Celebrating our differences and teaching one another about our cultures is one of the most rewarding things to take away from being somewhere new. I will never forget sharing a schnitzel dinner with my Austrian best friend’s family or celebrating my 23rd birthday with a raclette dinner with my French friends. It blew my mind walking in the little Dutch village my friend grew up in and thinking how different our worlds were but we still got along so well. My perspectives have been altered because I am constantly learning new ways to think about things from people. Even though I have a college degree, it is from fellow travelers that I have received the best education.
- Traveling is not just for the rich.This is a big one. Everyone thinks you need loads of dough to travel and always use it as an excuse to not get out there. This is bullsh#&t. I stayed in a hostel in Thailand that cost me $4 a night. Beer in Munich is cheaper than water. It is less than a buck for a baguette in Paris. And language courses in South American can run you as little as 100 bucks a week. If you can’t afford to stay in the Four Seasons or hire a private car, it doesn’t mean you can’t travel. Sites like CouchSurfing and programs like WWOOFing are great options for the budget traveler. Hostels are very affordable and great to meet other travelers. Many times, you can find kitchens in hostels so can save a penny and make your own meals from time to time. Working holiday visas are available in Australia for Americans allowing you to finance your travel on the go. The point is, if you want it bad enough it is possible and you don’t have to raking in the cash to make it happen.
- Do it while you are young. I think travel is for everyone. And if you are reading this and aren’t in your 20s, don’t think I am discouraging you. Refer to number 8. That aside, travel while you’re young and carefree. For one, you are like a sponge soaking in anything and everything around you. Travel is going to help you mature and grow. Also, as far as hostels go, they tend to be geared to the younger crowd so you will find many people doing the same as you. Plus, I think sleeping in a room with 15 other people is more doable for the youngins. The opportunities are endless and you maybe stumble upon a new job option or a mentor to help guide your way. When we are younger, we have less holding us back. Although possible, it isn’t typical for us to already have a mortgage or kids to worry about. So take advantage of this time. It is your time to be selfish!
- Nothing changes back home. Everyone is worried about losing friends or people forgetting about you. Yes, a year seems like a long time but in the whole scheme of things, it really isn’t. I was terrified before I moved to France but now I have been here for over two years and see it isn’t that scary. Everyone I wanted to stay close with back home I have. Skype, Whatsapp, Heytell, Facebook, you name it. Modern technology makes it extremely easy to communicate in this day and age. I have close friends who have boyfriends in other countries and make it work. It is possible. Of course it is work but the fear of losing people should not be your reason for staying home. They will miss you just as much and be there when you return.
- No better time than now. It is easy to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Think of that task you have been putting off forever and it never seems to get done. It is because when you put things off, they are less likely to happen. So do it now. Don’t be afraid. If you want to save more money or finish your courses then fine but start putting things into action to prepare for your trip. Set deadlines. Book tickets. Make arrangements. Get yourself going. There is a whole world out there ready for you to explore it so why not start today?
So here you are at the end of the list. No more excuses. Now it is time for you to get your butt on that plane. Go. Now. Really, what are you waiting for?