Finishing your education (secondary or post-secondary) presents you with a unique crossroad. Many choose the path of that first job and the beginnings to what is deemed to be a normal life. What those people fail to realize is that travel after graduating can provide an alternate route to that normal life. A route that can educate and present opportunities to you in ways your high school, college, or university just couldn’t. It’s a detour and a scenic route, to say the least.
With that in mind, here are 7 reasons why you should travel after graduating:
It Will Educate you
Congratulations on graduating from high school/college/university! Your late-night cram sessions and early-morning exams have finally paid off. You sacrificed and gave it your all. Your prize is a highly sought-after piece of paper that proves you can do anything and know everything. You are completely prepared to head out into the world and conquer it. Nothing can go wrong now…right?
Welcome to the real world. Chances are you paid a lot of money for that education and have been led to believe otherwise but truthfully the majority of what you learned in school will never be put to use. You may be book smart but are you street smart? You weren’t as independent as you may have thought you were and you will soon realize this the hard way.
For many, this reality check can be a tough transition. Why not ease into that transition and continue your education by learning valuable life lessons with travel after graduating? Nothing will teach you how to be self-sufficient like travelling your way around the world. You will learn to survive on your own and in the unknown and will acquire tips and techniques that will stick with you for the rest of your life. You will learn about other cultures, your world, and those in it. It is a great way to learn the true value of money, which will help you manage your finances down the line. Possibly the most useful lesson would be getting on without the aid of your smartphone telling you how to get somewhere, what to like, or what to eat. Imagine that!
It Will Open Your Eyes
Maybe you are fresh out of high school and have no clue what you want to do. Don’t do what many in your position have done – head to university and take general studies or (insert bogus until you “figure out what you want to do for a living” course here) This is a costly mistake that will set you back both in time and monetary value. Of those friends of mine that went this route, half failed or dropped out within the first couple of years, raking up costly student loans in the process. The rest have a piece of paper that has done little to nothing to advance their careers. What they all have in common is debt and regret.
If you are pondering this route, take the money you will be burning and use it to see the world. You will experience different cultures and will be opened up to how others live their lives. Travel will educate you. You will learn and you will grow. Most importantly, you will come back with knowledge and experience that outweigh a piece of paper. When you return you will most likely have a clearer mind and an idea of what to do next.
It Will Open Doors
Traveling around the world will not only open your eyes to what this planet has to offer but open doors as well. You will be presented with opportunities to grow through the places you visit and the people you meet. Maybe you will fall in love with a country or city and decide to move there. Maybe you will be inspired to use your newly acquired education to help those in need. Perhaps you will meet the love of your life, someone who will set you down a completely different path then when you started your journey. Maybe you will meet someone with business opportunities or similar ideas that can blossom into future endeavors.
The point is these doors will remain closed to you until you seek them out. There are a lot of doors out there and travel after graduating will lead you to knocking on ones that you never knew existed.
You are young. Be young.
Getting old sucks. Flat out. This we all know however it isn’t until our bodies start aching and our hangovers start lasting longer that we really appreciate this term. Upon this realization, it’s too late. Wait, that sounds harsh. It’s not that it’s too late to travel; it’s just that you will never be as young as you are at this very moment. Seize the moment. Stop delaying. Live.
Traveling while you are young lets you enjoy being young to the absolute fullest. Partying will still appeal to you. Drinking won’t leave you ill for days. The consequences just aren’t there yet. Staying in a dorm room won’t seem odd and it’s OK to eat and live cheap. When you live with someone sometimes eating Raman Noodles or Kraft Diner is no longer OK. I can’t tell you how many times I used to eat cereal for dinner in my early 20s and loved it. Point is you can happily get away with traveling efficiently while you are young.
Enjoy your Minimal Responsibilities
The time between your completion of school and your first job presents you with a unique opportunity. Other than potentially paying back your student loans, you will have little to no responsibilities. Even those student loans can be made less of a burden through student loan consolidation which could possibly lead to a reduced monthly payment. So for the most part, you are free of commitments and have the time to actually do what you want.
Most people squander this time by quickly jumping into a job that may not be a great fit. Pressure to pay off debt or to grow up is not a great reason to miss out on this opportunity. “Yah but I don’t have money now.” Well chances are the money you will have in the future will be tied up in more pressing things. Maybe you think that once you pay off your debt or save up some money you will take that trip you have always wanted to. Not many people follow through on this.
Soon you will start taking on more and more responsibilities that will push your trip further and further away. This could be in the form of a girlfriend/wife/dog etc. Having children or buying a house may follow. Maybe a family member falls ill and your responsibility change. This will all result in more financial restraints.
The point is you don’t know what the future has in store for you and what burdens may be placed on you. The time between finishing school and starting your first job truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel. Make the most of it. Don’t let it pass by. Travel after graduating.
You Will Have the Rest of your Life to Live That “Life”
Let that thought simmer. It may sound dreary, but that’s a good thing. Think about. You will have the rest of your life to work. You will have the rest of your life to make money, start a family and live how others think you should live. So what’s the rush? Wouldn’t you rather live now before heading down that path?
You see we kill ourselves working so we can live. It’s an ironic theme that is overlooked by most but accepted by almost all. So much effort goes into sustaining our lives and the comfort level we become accustomed to that we are blind to the fact that we are living to work and thus barely living at all. We are spending the majority of our adult lives – and all of our statistically healthiest years, stuck behind a desk, in a cubicle, or at an office. This doesn’t include the ridiculous amount of time we spend commuting to and from said desk, cubicle, or office. We literally waste sitting in traffic, on a bus, or jammed in a subway car.
Doesn’t that all sound like something that can wait? Travel After Graduating.
Why rush into this life?
Enjoy your youth, your freedom, and your sense of wonder. Travel long and travel far. What better time to do this than after your studies and before your first job? Travel after graduating high school or college. Work can wait.
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I’m long past this point but I know what you mean! It only gets harder once you enter the work force. I really have to make an effort to travel now and it is never for as long as I would like!
Totally agree! I wish I had done more traveling in my early 20’s.
Couldn’t agree more! Travel while you can for as long as you can because it will change your life forever.
Amen to that Marian!
Great advice Shaun! You’re better off taking some time after you graduate to see the world. My husband backpacked all over Europe, and met some very interesting people through his travels. Some he’s still in touch with after all these years. Thanks for linking up to #WeekendWanderlust.
Great to hear Carmen! See you next week!
I totally agree with this! Part of me regrets starting work right away after college…but I got a job straight from my internship so it seemed like a great opportunity that I shouldn’t turn down. In hindsight, it would have been great to have traveled all over the place though the timing wasn’t really right in personal life. I’m making up for it now with present and future travel plans as much as possible! 🙂 Finally making it to Europe in May and I’m 32 years old. 🙂
I went straight into a career after college too so not saying you can’t have it both ways! Congrats on your first trip to Europe!