This article came up on my feed this morning … it’s a bit older but I couldn’t help my anger and rage at the title. Maybe that was the intent of the post and I’m sure with this clickbait … the goal was to get me to read it a bit. I did … and I was infuriated at the presumptuousness of the article.
There’s a lot I agreed with in the post … but it was the “first world-ness” of the post and the assumption that everyone on the planet is geographically lucky to be born into a first world country.
1. Time is Our Only Real Asset
I know many people with whom I went to school were fed the same garbage I was (not by my parents, but by society as a whole).
“You can be whatever you want to be… until you realize you can’t, and now, you need to get a real job and start making a living for yourself.”
It’s obviously true most of us will not be movie stars and astronauts, and at some point, we have to accept this inevitability. But, it doesn’t mean we can’t lead lives outside of our nine-to-fives, 401(k)s and social security.
As we start to grow older and conclude that maybe, our childhood fantasies aren’t realistic, unfortunately, many of us settle. We don’t realize we can adjust our dreams; we don’t have to completely give up on them.
Now, this is not to say my lifestyle is glamorous, and I have a lot more I want to do and accomplish, but the first step was breaking away from where I was. That doesn’t mean you have to move to another continent, but you should move somewhere.
If you’ve been with the same company for 10 years and you see another 30 in your future and that scares the sh*t out of you… quit.
Money isn’t everything and saving a bunch of it won’t make you happier. You can buy almost everything you want with enough money, but you can’t buy back your youth.
You can’t take back the time you spent in the office instead of on the beach, or in the mountains, or kayaking down the river. The key is having enough faith in yourself and your skill set to be confident you can get work elsewhere.
You may have always wanted to live in Colorado’s mountains, but you have got seniority at your office. I implore you take the pay cut and take a chance to go somewhere new.
That way, when you do get to spend your free time, you’re doing it somewhere you love (and weed is legal there — bonus!).
The spirit of this paragraph is something I do definitely agree with …
The system is built on a certain foundation principle. That principle is that we trade in IOUs called “money” … without those IOUs and having some to trade, you’re going to find that living in the modern world will be difficult. That’s one of the systems of control over us. Time is definitely not renewable and the post World War II equation for happiness is flawed.
It assumes that you’ll be healthy and that the people around you will be well and healthy so as not to encumber you with stress. No matter how healthy and great things are for you, if your parents, wife, children are not healthy and well, you’re not going to be comfortable and happy.
2. Traveling Helps You Learn About Yourself
“You think you know, but you have no idea.” Anyone from my generation knows this iconic line from “The Real World,” but nothing makes life realer than venturing out to find yourself.
You think you love chain restaurants and comfortable seating until you’ve pushed your way through an eclectic night market, shoving food into your mouth from a paper plate, trying not to get knocked over.
You think you know your coffee of choice until you come to a place where coffee is an art form. A place where no one drinks “drip,” and you are quickly educated on the subtle, yet vital differences (and not everything is f*cking pumpkin flavored).
Most importantly, you think you know who you are and have some idea about your boundaries.
That is, until you start to say yes to things and end up on a back alley adventure or stumble into a random bar to see 10 trannies walking around in Christmas attire, with one lip-synching Maria Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
You think you know, but you have no idea…
No argument for me on this one … I’ve learned more about myself and relationship with others on the road, than I ever would have learned simply by staying home.
You’ve never backpacked across Nepal with nothing but a Lonely Planet book and your own soul to guide you, you self-centered jerk?
“Travel makes you modest, like me!”
And not only does traveling make you a better person, it’s hard. It’s like having a job!
“You have to trust foreigners! And, ugh, learn about them. What a sacrifice!”
I enjoy traveling. Stealing the hotel’s nice towels, using the WiFi in a new and exotic Starbucks, asking the locals if they speak American — it’s a great experience. And I understand that these quotes are supposed to inspire us to see the world, which is indeed a great way to learn about humanity and grow as a person. But I’d estimate that approximately 100 percent of the time you try to distill the appeal of traveling into a single pithy quote, you come across as an arrogant braggart.
“Don’t worry about the money” is not something people who have actually had to worry about money say.
That’s a really inspirational thing to say for someone who can almost certainly ask their rich parents for rent money. Yes, you can travel on a shoestring budget. But you can’t “just make it work” if taking two weeks off of your job to hitchhike across Peru means you don’t make enough money that month to pay your bills.
I know plenty of people who haven’t traveled much, if at all, and it’s not because they have closed minds or bad priorities. It’s because, when they were young, their parents were too busy working their asses off and saving every dollar so their children could go to school and, you know, eat. Then, when they grew up, they worked their asses off at school and a job so they could have a better life. A life where they could keep their ass. And I’m sure there’s nothing someone who put in exhausting hours to pay their way through college loves more than seeing a rich friend post a fake Muhammad quote about how traveling the world is how someone really educates themselves. A quote about how education isn’t that important, which, incidentally, has missing punctuation.
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“Don’t tell me how educated you are, because I can already figure it out.”
Travel absolutely can make you a better person. But if your first instinct after a great trip is to rush home and talk about how you’re superior to your friends because you’ve traveled to a developing country and met a bunch of locals who probably can’t afford to travel themselves, then it hasn’t.
3. Traveling Opens The Boundary Of Your Comfort Zone
Believe it or not, I’m not much of a risk-taker and I happen to like my little safety bubble like the rest of us.
But, when you travel, you meet people who will change your perspective on life and how you should lead your own. You realize there are things more important than money and security, like adventure and experience.
These people are the 20-somethings who lead lives of invincibility; to them, there is no tomorrow and no bad past decisions — only the present.
I still struggle to live for the moment, but you can be sure I’m doing a lot better than I was before.
Also completely true … for me. This might not be the case for everyone. Many people are completely happy having tiny comfort zones. Who am I to critique that?
4. You Never Know What Opportunities May Present Themselves
When you decide to stop leading your “normal life” and start traveling, you open yourself up to a world you never before knew existed.
If you are usually not so great in social situations, you can start to push the boundaries of the norm.
Any kid who’s ever moved as a child knows it’s kind of nice to be able to push the reset button on who you are. You can reinvent yourself into the type of person you’ve always wanted to be.
Well, take that and multiply it by 1000 when it comes to travel.
Not every person who sets out to see the world is an adventurer, but when you talk to people on the road, you see who they really are, not who they’ve been trained to be by habit and circumstance.
And by opening yourself up and communicating and meeting as many new people as possible, you never know what could happen.
I’ve also met people who have gotten jobs, started exciting new relationships and made tons of new lifelong friendships; it’s all out there, you just have to be open to it.
I definitely agree with this also … we started our wedding planning business from a disastrous wedding planning experience (our I Do Guatemala review for your reading). Our Etsy businesses came from the responses to our wedding getting published … where else could I become Chief Gopher?
We moved to PEI to explore real estate opportunities … all of this wouldn’t have happened if weren’t open to new experiences or had the framework to create a foundation.
5. Your Job Will Be There When You Get Back
Obviously, this isn’t always the case, but for most of us in our early- to mid-20s, right now is the time when if you do have an office job, you will start to work your way up, which basically means you’re at the bottom.
And, while experience is good, don’t take for granted the fact that some employers value life experience just as much as work experience.
Best case scenario: You have a year or two sabbatical and come back to your old job, where your boss loves the fact that you’ve seen the world and wants you to lead his or her new division.
Worst case scenario: You get a job doing the same thing you were doing before you left, but now, you have some life experience under your belt. You have a better understanding of people and the way the world is.
You can then use all of this newfound practical knowledge, and you make your way up through the ranks faster than if you had stayed put in the first place.
And, don’t forget: You got to see the world.
This is where I started to get lost with the article.
- Your boss will NOT love you for doing this
- You might not get the same type of job when you come back, because someone cheaper will be replacing you
- Your newfound knowledge will only help, if you have a progressive middle manager who has no problem with the new threat you bring. Last time I checked … a lot of people are actually quite resentful of those who have travelled.
- You don’t HAVE to see the world … you have to be HAPPY!
- If you take a “2 year sabbatical”, you’ll have to work like a dog to get an apartment/condo/house when you come back. You would have drained your savings and have no security … but you would have had tons of “experiences”. Take those to a bank and ask for a mortgage … they’re soooo valuable.
6. The Future Is Uncertain
Every day, there is another engagement or baby that pops up on my Facebook News Feed. Every day, someone passes the Bar Exam or gets a real estate license or gets that promotion.
From what I’ve come to realize, the two biggest things that hold us back from packing up and going are fear of the unknown and complacency/success.
Fear of the unknown is obviously the fear of what will happen if you leave all this security behind; you have a good job, you’re making decent money and have a potentially bright future.
Complacency and success aren’t usually used together, but this covers a number of things, from promotions to engagements to babies, to whatever comes along in our lives that makes us feel as if we need to be complacent where we are.
“Well, I can’t leave now, I’m up for that promotion.” “We’ve been dating for three years, it’s probably time to get engaged, but I can’t travel and be worried about a wedding.” “Oh, sh*t, we’re pregnant.”
Now, where the last reason may be a valid reason to stay put, there are a number of reasons why we rationalize staying in our current situations. But, the future is uncertain.
Your company could fold; your significant other could leave you, and maybe, the baby doesn’t look very much like you.
The point is if you keep making excuses about what could happen, you will miss opportunities to make things happen for yourself.
So, get out there! If you’ve always wanted to hike K-2 — go for it.
If Australia is your dream destination, meet me here and we’ll go for a drink. If you have no idea where you want to go, spin a globe, put your finger down and book the next flight out of dodge.
The longer you wait, the more things you will accumulate that will be harder to leave behind. It’s easy to break a lease, but it’s a lot harder when you have a mortgage.
Just take a risk, fly by the seat of your pants and know that everything you leave behind will still be there, if/when you choose to come back.
The world is out there for you to explore, you just have to go… now!
If you can do some of this … then do it. If you have the money and flexibility to do some or all of this, then do it! However, if someone can’t do it … then don’t judge that person or tell them that they’ve wasted their lives. Aside from being a condescending douche bag, it flies in the face of everything else that was written about crafting your own journey. I’m thinking that our intrepid “content generator” Logan, has done very little of what he’s written about, especially as he slogs away creating content for websites like “EliteDaily”.
Not Quitting Your Job To Travel Is A Waste Of Your Life … should be amended to “Travelling will add to your vision and perspective … but like medicine, it doesn’t work for everyone”