Ah, student loan debt, the reality all too familiar to most of us who get as creative as possible in avoiding the dreaded payment date (show of hands: who here has tried to fake their own death yet?).
Although bathing in waterfalls and chasing monkeys around was fun for a while, I had to come back to responsibilities once rent and loan payments pretty much emptied my miserable bank account and I couldn't make enough money through freelance work.
I settled in Barcelona, where I sit in an office for nine hours a day to pay the bills. But contrary to what you may think, I don't stay at home saving every penny and eating lentils for dinner every night. I travel all the time and don't feel a single hint of guilt about my loan debt.
You shouldn't feel guilty about paying for travel because your 20s are for travel.
There are two absolutely certain things in this life: the first is death and the second is the fact that your loan debt will never, under any circumstances disappear.
The thought can be quite comforting, actually. While I can't keep a boyfriend around for more than a year, my debt will be my loyal companion through life for the next 10 years.
You have to realize that you can't sit around and hoard money to pour into the debt, while you give all your good years up to a job you most likely hate. If you're going to travel, your 20s are hands-down the best time.
In your 20s, you've got plenty of time to massive fuck up on the road, get in trouble, pick yourself up and learn valuable lessons like independence and entrepreneurship.
If you dedicate all your time to loan payment, you'll be in your mid-30s before you know it and probably thinking of settling down, maybe even with a kid on the way. You owe yourself the chance for adventure while you're at your physical and energetic peak.
Travel is not a waste. It's an investment.
Let's be real: The loan debt is not only a pain in the ass, but it's also provides nothing new. You've already received your education. No further gratification will come out of paying this money.
The best thing you can invest in is yourself. Travel is guaranteed to make you smarter, more confident, more outgoing and simply happier. You owe it to yourself to grow and develop.
Don't let the loan hold you back.
There are ways to have your cake and eat it, too
Many still think that travel is super expensive even though it's been proven that traveling through Europe permanently is cheaper than the 9 to 5 life.
That being said, I understand that if your salary just barely makes it to the average level, like mine does, shelling out on tickets, hotels and partying abroad can be too much.
Luckily, there are ways to ease the pain. With engines such as the massively popular SkyScanner and Inspirock, you can find the best deals on flights and hotels and end up paying half of the original price.
I recently went to Granada from Barcelona, and the whole trip cost me $240.
On top of that, if you've got any skills you can "sell" freelance, you may be able to slash the cost of your trip in half.
For instance, I have a travel blog and would shoot a hotel a message asking if they'd like to get a feature on it. If I convince them, the only expenses I have left are tickets and food.
If you're good at photography, writing, social media, which should come easily to all of us, religious Kylie fans, you'll most definitely be able to get a deal out of your trip.
Use your time wisely and don't regret those few hundred bucks you spent with the crew in Mexico.
There's plenty of money in the world to be made, but there's no greater pleasure than traveling the world and stepping out of your comfort zone in your 20s.