Talk of travel is a hot topic among Gen-Yers these days. The call to see the world while youthful is a familiar one that is often ignored as you plan what to wear to kickboxing or decide whether to walk or take the train home after happy hour.
If you haven’t been persuaded yet — or just need that final motivational push to overcome your paralyzing jealousy of those who have already capitalized — here are a few more reasons from a 20-something traveler why you should close Candy Crush and take a big leap into the unknown:
Many Europeans take a gap year for “exploration” (read: partying) either right before college or right after — and some people just keep on doing it! The term “seasonaire” doesn’t exist in America, but it should. Now that more than a third of the American population has a passport (according to last year’s Forbes report), what’s really holding us back from travel?
Spending each season in a different place — at least for a little while — provides the opportunity to see the world, meet new people and try new things… all of that stuff that young people could be doing, yet many aren’t. I wouldn’t be jumping out of helicopters or getting asked to lunch by random (attractive) French men and ending up with awesomely hilarious stories for my blog if I was still playing it safe in the States.
Everyone Knows Someone Abroad
Your college roommate? Your sister? Your second cousin twice-removed? Me? Even if you have to think about it, chances are, you know a human who is somewhere else in the world right this second. It’s a great opening to the wide world of travel. Follow the initiative of my two college buddies and apply for a passport, do some research and book a trip to visit them.
You can probably save some money and stay with them for free (*verify this first), so there’s really no excuse. I’m excited to introduce my American friends to the Euro-lifestyle and I can’t wait to show my European friends what other Americans are like (and prove that my accent really isn’t so bad). Trust me, you will not be an imposition. Your presence provides an opportunity to expand your knowledge of the world and add some spice to someone else’s.
What’s The Worst That Could Happen?
When I was planning my current adventure abroad, I went through an endless list of anxieties about what could go wrong. The Amanda Knox story gives Americans plenty to worry about, but the reality is that there are many more pros than cons to living in another country for a short period of time. Wallet stolen? Call the police and then call home. Miss a flight? Train? Bus? Catch the next one. Living abroad is an excellent introduction to problem solving — one that you can’t get in your hometown.
Date a Girl (Or Guy) Who Travels
Don’t you agree with Steph? ‘Nuff said.
…and wishes they were you!
Take the advice of your crazy aunts or friends of your mom on Facebook and “LIVE IT UP!! LOVE & MISS YOU XOXOXO.” Regrets? Judgment? Who needs ‘em?! Let them live vicariously through you and give them something to talk about back home. Your Snapchats with that sketchy guy in that club in Barcelona will undoubtedly trump selfie after selfie in your friends’ feeds.
Money Isn’t Everything
Yes, there are perks to having that nine-to-five job post-graduation… or in my case, to working my unpaid internship and two paying jobs while developing myself creatively and trying to schedule in a social life. Now that I’m in Europe, I can appreciate the value of having those reliable sources of income to pay my student loans, but I wouldn’t change my situation for anything.
There are other ways to make money and learning how to manage a budget never hurt anyone. Never seeing the inside of a cubicle, I get to ski, write, film, eat and generally improve myself. I am making friends that I’ll have forever. My savings account may not thank me but my future will. Will yours?