Alex Eaton and Jade Schwarting are two recent graduates who packed their bags for their first long-term travel experience together. The main question most graduates get is “What job do you have lined up?“, and so much of our success is determined by what big name job you have lined up.While most graduates are stressed about finding a job and anxious to start the next stage, these two pushed back the 9-5 job to spend some time exploring.
You just graduated college, what made you push back starting your job to travel?
Alex: I knew going into college that I wanted to travel. But as college progressed I realized I wasn’t going to be able to study abroad because of graduating in four years and summer internships, so the best option was to plan a trip after graduation.
Jade: After I transferred schools my sophomore year of college, I realized I would not be able to study abroad during the school year and wanted to be able to work during summers. However, I became increasingly fascinated with travel and set a goal with Alex to save up and take a trip to Europe after we graduated.
Although I knew that my five week trip could be a deterrent for some companies looking to hire, I decided this trip was happening no matter what and proudly told each potential employer I interviewed with about my upcoming trip.
Although I didn’t have a job upon leaving for Europe, I thankfully got a job offer (which I later accepted) while we were in Milan, Italy. The company was more than happy to push back my start date and even encouraged my travels!
Why did you think it is important to travel long-term before starting your job?
Alex: Honestly I planned it as a long-term trip without really considering anything else. I knew I wanted to see as many places as possible from the beginning, so it really came down to how long can I go with the money I had saved. It was important to do so for this trip specifically because I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do a big trip again, so I wanted to experience as much as possible.
Jade: Our goal was to spend as much time abroad as we realistically could. So when we started picking and booking specific dates for our trip, we tried to maximize our time by departing shortly after graduation.
We also wanted to do an “overview” trip, meaning we wanted to see as many countries and cities as possible in five weeks. Since we had been saving and planning for so long, we were able to maximize the number of places we could see and the amount of time we could travel for. We plan on going back to see our favorite cities in more depth later.
You were traveling as a couple – How do you think that affected your trip?
Alex: It made my trip better because it was awesome to be able to share the experience with someone. We would see something awesome, say “holy crap”, then turn to each other and talk about it.
We learned a lot about each other by spending so much time together too. Yes there were arguments, but you’ll always have that when you don’t leave someone’s side for over a month. The romantic places are a lot more fun to go to with your girlfriend too, you kind of miss that side of it if you are alone or with just a friend.
Jade: After this trip, I’m a huge proponet of traveling with someone. Whether that someone is a best friend, a sibling or a significant other, I truly believe that traveling with a companion makes for a better trip.
Traveling as a couple is a great test of your relationship since you spend nearly every waking (and sleeping) hour with one another, but if you can make it through weeks of country-hopping together, you’ll come out stronger than ever. I can honestly say that without Alex by my side, I would not have enjoyed the trip nearly as much as if I’d gone alone.
What was your biggest fear or obstacle you faced before leaving?
Alex: Dying, getting robbed, or soiling my pants in public. Those were the top three worries, and I’ll bet even if people don’t say it, it’s on their mind. The most legitimate of these worries definitely turned out to be the last one, but the trip ended up being so much easier than I expected.
It was my first time ever abroad, so I had no previous experience to base it on except for people saying it’s easy and awesome to travel. Therefore, my worries automatically went to the most painful and embarrassing situations.
Jade: The biggest obstacle was getting started.
It was way too easy to just say we need to book travel and accommodation then not do it. We would be perfectionist about it and check every site possible, when at the end of the day you should just find something you like and press the buy button. Waiting too long not only makes it more expensive, but makes it too easy to blow off the trip.
What made you finally ‘just go’ and overcome those fears?
Alex: We simply started booking stuff. There was definitely pressure because we got to the month before departure without a lot of stuff planned. Once you build momentum it gets a lot easier to keep going and get everything ready. I knew I wanted to travel and I would regret not doing it, and I had been saving all through college for this trip, so I had no excuses.
Jade: Committing to the trip and booking non-refundable plane tickets did the trick for me!
Where are you now and what are you doing?
Alex: Now I am back in Carmel, Indiana and starting my career. I am working for a personal finance expert, Peter Dunn (Pete the Planner). While Indiana is slightly different than the alps, I’m pumped to start my career and my job freakin’ rocks. As far as travel, I’m not sure when my next trip will be, but I definitely caught the bug and I’m thinking about where I want to go next. Maybe Thailand or Hawaii…any suggestions?
Jade: I will be living at home in Carmel, Indiana for a few months to save some money as I begin my job as a Corporate Communications Specialist at Anthem, Inc. in downtown Indianapolis. My goal is to be a full-time freelancer and have the flexibility to work while I travel.
As for the next trip, I’m not sure where we’ll head next! I’d love to see some places in the United States that I’ve yet to see, or maybe take a long jaunt to Australia/New Zealand. Time to start saving for trip #2!
We love to hear all different perspectives on the blog. Not everyone in the community are full time travelers, a lot of us have jobs, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t any less passionate about travel. I enjoyed hearing Alex and Jade’s outlook as first time travelers overseas and taking the big risk of pushing back their jobs in order to get out and experience the world on their own. Can’t wait to hear where the travel to next!
Where was your first International Trip? Leave it in the comments!
Follow Alex on his blog here
earl bielinski says
Jade and Al, great pictures and narrative. Have a great life and career together. love