As I get closer to my mid 20s, things gradually change. I no longer hang out with friends from college. I turned down parties invitation. I start to wonder how is life going to be down the road. I want to do something out of the ordinary. I do not want to live my life just for expectations of others. I am not going to live a life of going to school, get a job, get married, buy a house and have 1.5 children. It is a rat race.
I can say something not many people can: I have witnessed Machu Pichu and hiked the Andes Mountains. I carve adventure and my travel to Peru was the type of adventure I wanted. Read my post about traveling in Peru here. My Spanish is far off from fluency and I live a different life as compared to the Peruvians. Maybe this is what traveling is about, having communications barriers and eating food that I have never seen in my 20 odd years of life. I am referring to local dishes such as guinea pigs and alpacas. But I love my time in Peru and I know it is not the end, I will be back there one day.
How important is travel to you? Are you willing to forgo that night of drinking to save for travel? Do you set a budget so that you have finances for travel?
Traveling has brought a whole new meaning of experiences and acceptance to me. We have different reasons for traveling – the need to relax, enjoyment of meeting new people, experience new cultures. Traveling attracts me in a different way from it attracts you. These are some things that I learned while traveling and why 20-somethings should go for it.
Embrace the world
The world is a big place and everywhere you go is different. Globalization has made the world more accessible than decade ago. Look at examples like Ryanair in Europe and Airasia in Asia. These budget airlines have made the cost of traveling more efficient than before. Make use of the opportunity present to travel the world. As a 20-something, it is the perfect time to start. You are in the initial stages of adulthood and hence the best time to experience cultures and have fun.
Find your direction in life
Back at home, you have a fix routine – eat, work, gym, sleep and repeat. Prolonged periods of fix routine will set you back in your comfort seat and you will have no colorful stories to tell your grandchildren in future. When you are traveling, everyday is a new adventure. You are going to treasure every moment spent and you will breathe freedom. The life of a 20-something is busy and traveling gives you time to figure out your focus in life. You will go back home feeling refreshed and with a purpose.
Traveling gives you the crucial break from technology
Have you wonder how many times you look at your phone for the past 12 hours? Do you know how much time we spend on social media such as Facebook, twitter and including you reading this WordPress right now? Have you realise when you take the subway, people are no longer having eye contact because they are fixated to their IPads. Traveling takes away technology for extended time so that you will interact with people and the surroundings. We are losing this interaction fast. Being a 20-something today, we are spoilt by technology and we depend heavily on it. Give yourself the break and spend some time knowing people, at least not virtually; over Facebook.
A 20-something is unlikely to have huge responsibilities for career, family or mortgages. At this age, you can afford to go all out and live the life you want. You can meet all kinds of like-minded people from all over the world, have crazy parties, get drunk and dance at the hostel balconies in the middle of the night. It is easy to pick up and go because you are still in schools or in between jobs. No matter how long your travel is, now you have some adventures to tell your future grandchildren.
Better physical conditions
Face it, it is perfect to travel when you are young and energetic. You can do physical demanding hikes, bike the trails and jump off cliffs. This maximize your time spent on the road and you do not have to look back regretting. Once, I got this piece of golden advice from a kiwi lady in her 60s: travel and explore while you are young and fit. I met her in Peru, her husband did the Inca trail up to Machu Pichu while she took the bus because it was too strenuous for her. When you are in your 20s, you can have all the fun! Consider doing a GAP year, read about why you should do a GAP year here.
What do you think?