This Is Why Traveling Has Become The Biggest Rite Of Passage For Millennials
You got out of bed this morning and felt not excited, not even anxious. You felt nothing — a cold, hard dose of absolute nothingness.
It's a chronic nothingness that's slowly seeped its way in while you've been busy putting in the hours, ticking off boxes and passing through life on autopilot.
Work is stale. Your friends and relationships are comfortable but understimulating. Even your favorite food doesn't get your taste buds tingling as it once did.
After a while, everything in life has a tendency to become dull. Things get old. It's just a fact. Even the love of your life soon turns out to be just the love of this year. The problem is when things get so damn dull and you stick with them, grasping to the hope they'll magically get better.
That's when you, just like the places and experiences you confine yourself to, become equally as dull and boring and uninspiring.
You've been in the same place for too long.
You're not like your parents and grandparents. A stable working life, family and retirement plan doesn't top your list of priorities, just in the same way that meditating in India, having their own YouTube channel and writing an eBook doesn't appear on theirs.
You don't live your life striving for comfort and security. You live life striving for experience and novelty.
It's here where you find most meaning, right in the heart of chaos and change.
It's not because you're a restless hipster or wannabe nomad. There's actually a bunch of reasons — genetics, technology, psychology, society — that make you and the millions other millennials like us conditioned to never stop traveling.
1. It's in your DNA.
You come from a background of traveling. Even if you and the generations before you didn't venture out on regular camping trips and summer vacations, the root of your travel bug can be traced back to your ancestors who emigrated centuries ago from halfway across the globe.
Living in a modern society and having a long history of traveling gives you a high chance of having what's known as “the wanderlust gene.” Several studies on the gene (named DRD4-7r) have shown reason to link it to a higher level of curiosity and restlessness, a greater likelihood of taking risks, and a more favorable attitude towards movement, change and adventure.
2. Sharing is the new owning.
It's an age-old model that's coming back around and being completely revolutionized by technology.
If you have a smartphone and something of value to offer, you're in business. For the travel industry, that means your bed, sofa, car, vintage VW camper van or even your front garden can be all up for rent in just a few clicks.
This has given us the likes of AirBnB, Couchsurfing, Hipcamp and WorkAway, which all at least satisfy our inner urge to travel for a little while, but what's really exciting is the emergence of services that help make travel more of a lifestyle.
Roam.co and Outsite.co are two examples that are demonstrating the demand for a frequent change of abode. Such services have international networks of communal living and working spaces, equipped with all the necessities (strong Wi-Fi, chef's kitchen, ensuite bathrooms) and are open for use by their members who pay a reasonable monthly fee.
3. How you define success.
Success in the old days meant climbing the career ladder, achieving a stable job, buying a home and settling down with a partner and two kids. In other words, it meant building a nice little story and bubble of security around you by the means of accumulating material wealth and spreading your seed, all to make yourself feel whole.
You know that chasing success according to some external measurement like status or pay grade is futile. Yeah, you couldn't live without your iPhone, but material goods don't entice you now like when you were a kid. You have your own definition of success that's measured by enjoyment, love, exploration, impact and, most of all, experience.
4. The changing workplace.
A generation ago, a college degree was a supposed necessity for getting a good job. But a generation ago smartphones, digital cameras and even Facebook didn't exist.
A lot has changed since then, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 27 percent of jobs require at minimum an associate degree today.
The days of “you need a degree to get a good job” are over. Employers are placing more focus on experience over qualifications, favoring candidates who've volunteered with a local organization, ran a workshop in a foreign country and generally used their initiative to do something different. Who wouldn't hire Michael Dell or Bill Gates because of their lack of college education?
Travel is such a valuable tool that businesses are not only embracing it as a qualification in itself but as a part of their company's working structure.
It's becoming more and more common to find and negotiate remote or flexible working agreements, which allow you to truly indulge your wanderlust. And as communication tech (Skype, Slack, wearable devices) and virtual and augmented reality advances, it's only a matter of time before the workplace will come to you, no matter where you are.
So no need to expel it all before you start you career, or hold off your plans until you're old and gray, the future of an entirely mobile workforce means travel can be never ending — just how you like it.