Ask me 7 months ago if I had anything going for me and I would have answered you a very un-hesitant no. 23 holding down 3 jobs and still only managing to scrape by is not in my opinion a great way to go about living, but when you're in that position what choices do you really have. For the students of America to succeed in the pursuit of higher education mass financial slavery seems inevitable. With the overhanging debts of education those lucky enough to score a good enough job will be thrown into their adult lives drooling babies in suits ready to gurgle their way through the introductory day towards the rest of their lives. I ask that you stop and think for a moment, is that all there is? How about we change the pace a bit? I place in your thoughts for consideration taking a gap year from life, minimum. A break to grow in your mind and accumulate experiences, to break convention and destroy your fiercest enemy your comfort zone.
When I graduated high school back in 2009 I was not excited about another 4 years of work. I hated school, everything about it from the classrooms to the structured environment to the fluorescent lighting. I had enough but with a bit of prompting reluctantly enrolled in community college for a degree in Communications. To this day I have no idea what I was working towards career wise, communicating with people? I quit going to classes 2 months in and landed myself with 5 wonderful F’s which kept me from ever wanting to enroll again. Maybe though those F’s were a good thing though, maybe not fails but fabulous, fantastic, free? I am after all sitting in a chair looking out over a river in Australia right now. My point is fuck it times 5. Where is that archeology degree gonna bring you, tell me about your financial work its about time for a nap. Don't waste your money on a piece of paper unless you have the passion and drive to do something with it. Don't jump into an education without exploration of the degree, real exploration! If you aren't giddy with the idea of being a proctologist for the rest of your life then for the love of god take a gap year and travel. What you really want could be out there in a pile just waiting for you to stumble on your face right into it. Why grow up quickly get a “real” job, get married at 21 then think later, wait what am I doing this isn't what I want. Responsibilities accumulate more quickly than they can be gotten rid of, they are pesky beasts intent of sticking around for as long as possible.
So to my point, TRAVEL. Having left the mainland USA back in September I have changed in uncountable ways. Met the most interesting, fun and insane people of my life. Found numerous new passions tasted uncountable different liquors and re-found beauty over and over again in the world even when I felt the most down. I am destroying my comfort zone and treading on the rotting bits of its corpse again and again, feasting on the spoils of the battles of the body and mind. Don't you dare think that there will be time to see the world when you're retired, lets face it a pension is out of reach for most of us at this point and a job that will bring you around the world? Not counting on that one... Plus try getting your wrinkly old sock and sandal covered feet up a mountain, traveling is not staying in a hotel for a week. As the great politician Arnold Schwarzenegger would say,.”Do it, do it now!” You’ve got your whole life to step into the world of the 9 to 5, there is even more time to step into the minimum wage world of the 9-3 5-12.
One of the great things I love hearing are the excuses not to travel. I’ll go through 3 my favorites.
“I’ll be old when I graduate.”
Yeah ill be pushing 30 at this point if I actually decide to go but in this day in age its not uncommon to see older people in school. Funny enough you really do think differently as you age go figure our parents were right. For example I take online classes for free and I actually do them BY CHOICE. Two years ago I would have made every excuse in the book, up to and including smashing my computer to avoid such unpleasantries. Alternatively if you're concerned about missing out on the dorm and party lifestyle then I hope your parents are paying for your education, that's one expensive party. Little tip, hostels are significantly cheaper than college, in exotic places, no studying involved and parties included.
“I don't have the money to travel”
My favorite excuse!! I left with $1500 dollars I saved for exactly one month. I had a security deposit of $2000 coming to me when I got into Australia which I promptly spent on trying to live in a city. Somehow I managed for 3 months of mostly joblessness Melbourne living. Math time… that's a grand total of $3500 dollars that took me to:
New Orleans- 5 days
Hawaii- 3 months
Australia- 4 months and continuing
Think of the worst financial situation you’ve ever been in, chances are you've survived and found a way to pay your bills. I certainly did, maybe a bit late but I always found a way and that is the attitude I travel with. I'm not going to sugar coat things, its hard sometimes. Last month I was completely broke but you know what so was my flatmate and we found a way to live on the ultimate cheap, we struggled and got fed up to the point of wanting to leave this god forsaken country. However if you try hard enough things will come around and now I'm au-pairing with free accommodation, food and a modest salary in a beautiful part of the country I would have otherwise never seen. For the American traveler work visas are hard to come in by but they are not impossible, you can travel with work holiday visas in select countries and work for free accommodation and maybe even food through websites such as workaway.info. Sometimes you are able to use a volunteer visa for unpaid work in hostels or farms, that will take some budgeting but who cares you're in a different country working and living amazing experiences! There are ways to travel on the cheap you just haven't looked them up so shut up and do it.
“No one wants to come with me!!” :’(
*Bitch slap* Then go yourself! Your having a pity party on your own so clearly there are things you can do by yourself. Plenty of people travel alone and you know what, that's how you make close friends. You have to be social because otherwise your gonna be that creepy person that your so afraid of running into. Hiding behind things staring at everyone having fun, wide eyed like gollum at the ring of power (never seen one of them to date). If you left you’d be surprised how many people travel alone, and you know what my equally broke flatmate and I left our apartment and moved to a different part of the country together. We knew each other for 2 months, it was awesome. When you find someone you connect with theirs a chance for a temporary or possibly permanent travel buddy and most likely life long friend. There are people out there doing the same thing as you go find them.
I want to start a dialogue to change the process. I hate seeing so many young Europeans out and about traveling the world while us Americans stay home and do the ordinary and expected, or worse yet get trapped in our parents houses to pay off debts. I want travel to become part of our culture whether inside our own country or abroad. We are a work based society we work to live, and you know what I say? Fuck that shit. I don't work to live I wasn't born an employee I live to explore and work when I need too. I forgo the materialistic for experience and I become less and less afraid to take chances as I keep moving. In my short time traveling I have learned more about myself than all the 4 years I wasted after high school being bored, angry and depressed. Its not as hard as you think excuses are just easier.
Fuck this shit America lets take a trip.