I recently had a friend express his desire to travel around the world once his kids were out of the house and he was retired (he is currently in his late 20s.) He asked me a question that I thought was important enough to share here on the blog:
Why at the young age of 26, at the beginnings of our careers have we decided to leave everything behind and take a chance. Here are a few of reasons why I think you should travel sooner than later and not wait to travel.
You Can’t Plan For Your Future
Ok, so maybe you can plan, you can save money in the bank, and tell yourself that there is a schedule to life: go to college, get a job, buy a house, have kids and then retire. When in reality there are no guarantees that life will go as planned. It’s more likely to go in a completely unexpected direction. I have always lived by the saying, “Write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser.” If you save your passions for when you are old and you assume you will have more money, time, or energy you’re gambling on being very disappointed.
Gain a New Perspective
By traveling sooner than later, your eyes will be opened, your ego humbled, your priorities re-adjusted. You will look at people differently and you will jump on more opportunities that come your way. Your heart will be broken. Your idea of hospitality will be shaken. You broaden your worldview just by taking those steps out the door to a foreign land.
Overcome The Fear of Change
The biggest fear most people carry around with them is change. Travel is constant change and uncertainty by definition. You can get comfortable in one place, only to be thrown for a loop a few weeks later when you move on. Learning to embrace change and how to make lemonade out of lemons is a skill that can’t be taught. Your business career will be more profitable once you can quickly adapt to the changing technologies, your family will communicate better with every confrontation and your personal growth will take on new challenges in hopes of improving yourself.
Climb Every Mountain And Camp Under The Stars
…and sleep with no air conditioning in a dorm room of 12 bunk beds with 11 other backpackers. There is something to traveling cheap. You are forced to get creative with daily activities and you tend to try more of the local food because you avoid high-priced tourist restaurants. When you are young you don’t have the same standards. Inconveniences aren’t so inconvenient. Once you get comfortable traveling with only air conditioning you risk missing out on an authentic bed and breakfast that only has fan rooms. With age sometimes comes stubborness, but traveling sooner than later lets you know what to expect and gets you used to not always having the conveniences of home in exchange for your travel experiences.
Learn Savvy Skills You Can Use Anywhere
Avoid thinking that traveling young will hurt your career. It is exactly the opposite. Independent travel will help fine tune your skills to make you more attractive to the employer of your choice. You will use the skills below on a near daily basis:
- Decision making
- Stressful situations, thinking on your feet
- Communication across language and cultural barriers
- Sales tactics (both good and bad)