There I was, in my cap and gown with a temporary diploma clutched in my fingers and a huge smile on my face. I did it. I graduated college. I had been applying for jobs in my career for 2 months already and was so excited to jump into the world of working hard and climbing the corporate ladder.
One month later, I’m on the phone with my soon to be boss, accepting an offer and moving to my state capital to work for a small college. My first thought was “I. Am. Awesome.” I landed my first job and was incredibly eager to start.
*Fast forward 6 months*
I’m in my office, asking for more to do, getting 1,000 steps in a day when I think “This can’t be all there is to my life.” I had planned weekend getaways and started thinking of huge trips I could take but was extremely bummed when I realized my two weeks of vacation wasn’t going to satisfy my need to explore the globe. Ever since I was young, I have had this passion for travelling. I would take a big trip every six months and save, save, save for experiences rather than things.
I cannot tell you how many google searches I did for “how to travel the world as your job” and so many combinations of those words. I read countless articles, week after week, all while telling myself that these jobs aren’t very realistic (huge mistake). Until January rolled around.
I kept thinking about how I would love to try Teaching English as a Second Language or TESL and finally decided to apply because I figured I can’t make a decision if I don’t have the choice to go.
I was accepted within a day.
I applied for their second round.
I was congratulated by them the following day.
I was in.
That moment, changed my path. I became so overwhelmed that I ran to a co-worker who knew I had applied and cried to her with excitement. We both jumped up and down and started googling all of the beautiful places I could explore.
So finally… the moment you have been waiting for. This is why I decided that I NEEDED to go.
In that moment, I realized that nothing was going to make me feel like I was more alive than following my heart to Europe. Here’s why:
1. I’m young. I need to do it now. Trust me, you don’t have your whole life to travel. Before you know it, you might get caught in an amazing career and not want to leave or in a relationships where you’re blessed with marriage and children. It is perfectly wonderful to want these things but it’s not a bad idea to want to explore the world before that part of life happens. When we’re old, we won’t have the energy that we have in our twenties or thirties. We won’t have the impressionable mind or same strength to climb mountains. Being young is the time to go and go and go for weeks and months at a time- before you’re caught in the mischief of a stereotypical life. I know that we are supposed to do things in a natural order, that is how we were raised, but honestly? Break the mold. Do what will make you happy, RIGHT NOW.
2. I’m single. This is a huge factor for some people. If you’re single you don’t have any ties bringing you back. You don’t have to visit every couple months or spend your time abroad facetiming someone back home every day for a few hours. That is freedom. That is a huge motivator in why you should travel single. If your significant other doesn’t want to go with you, you might be held back from doing some things you would normally do such as night outs with new friends. However, if you do have a special someone and they tag along- you two are my couple inspiration.
3. I feel a deep connection when I travel. Simply stated, some people out there just love to travel. The new terrain, the crazy cultures, the change that consistently happens… it’s all a part of a beautiful journey to understand the world a little more than we do right now. When you get a taste of travel, some people can’t hide their inner need to hop on the next plane to anywhere. SO if you love it, why aren’t you doing it?
4. I haven’t started my career yet (kind of). This is huge for recent grads! If you don’t have a career path and you love travel, take a year off. Don’t you realize how much you can learn while abroad? Whether it’s volunteering, peace corps or becoming a TEFL instructor- you can make a huge difference and it’ll even make you stand out to employers. What is going to make you happy? If it’s travelling, then my suggestion is to give it a year. Travel as much as you want and then see if you’re ready to settle into a career or make it involve travelling.
5. Because I damn well feel like it. It’s as simple as that. If you want something, why aren’t you going to get it? Here is how I can help. When I decided if I wanted to go, I wrote down a list of all of the reasons I couldn’t go. How will I save enough? Car? Lease? Family? Career? Friends? And then I went back through and wrote by those excuses how they weren’t valid enough for me. I set my departure date almost a year down the road, made a budget, started making phone calls and made it happen.
If you want something bad enough, you’ll make it happen no matter what excuses you come up with. Whatever we do in life, we find reasons not to. Why? Out of fear? Out of a comfort zone? But when you doubt yourself, you’ll never make your dreams come true. You have to start somewhere. You have to believe that you can do it. When you decide to smash through that wall of comfort, I’ll hand you a beer or glass of wine on the other side.
See you then.