5 of the biggest reasons to prioritise travel while you’re young

Emma Calley instragram picture

This article was created for The Travel Project by Emma Calley, a writing student, traveller and food lover from Australia’s beautiful Mornington Peninsula.

I trawl through the ‘wanderlust’ hashtag on Instagram as if my life depends on it. I love the tales of people who leave stability behind to chase their travel pursuits, and I can’t help but relate this back to my own life...

I’m still young. Early twenties. I’m a student and I’ve not yet had a full-time job. Do we all need to go through the motions of study, then career, before leaving it all behind? Of course not! Even in the world of ‘subverting expectations’ and chasing adventures there are still stereotypes that bind us - and I’m here to tell you, you don't have to follow them.

Here's 5 reasons why you should travel while you're young.

It’s more affordable than you think

The most common question I am asked by my peers is how I manage to afford overseas travel and my answer is always the same: Save and Sacrifice. I live strictly by the two S’s when I am gearing up for a trip, as they keep me focused on building my savings and allow me to make rough budget calculations prior to departure. Sure, missing a social gathering can be a little deflating, but every dollar saved counts towards gelato cones in Italy or tacos in Mexico. Making yourself a weekly financial plan in accordance with your earnings and aiming to put at least half of it away will grow your balance in no time. Then it’s Hello Holidays!

It Pushes You Outside your limits

If you’ve ever wanted to sky dive or bungee jump, the perfect time to do this is on holiday, while adrenaline pumps through your body and fuels your daring decisions. After all, what’s the use in making your way overseas if you make the same dull choices? Pushing yourself to the perceived limits of your abilities is invigorating. Life changing, even. Try something that makes you nervous. It might end up being the best decision you ever made.

Emma Calley feeding giraffe

It really is the best time to travel

People constantly warn me that travelling at a young age will lead you to miss out on normative experiences, such as ‘getting a good job’ and ‘settling down’. What many families or friends with good intentions fail to realise is that these may be goals for some, but for others they simply aren’t a priority. In fact, I’d counter that those who sacrifice their bucket list goals and vow to travel later in life are the ones who are missing out! There is no better time to backpack and see the world than while you’re young. Not only are you more likely to seize every opportunity, but you’re physically capable of achieving things you may not be able to tackle when you are older.

 

Backpacking instills life lessons

I am a firm believer that backpacking is one of the best ways to challenge yourself, both mentally and physically.There are a ton of Instagram accounts that boast picturesque sights and optimistic captions, but they don’t show you all the work that takes place behind the scenes. In many ways, backpacking is a type of job. You have to plan, budget, and navigate.

To put it bluntly, the experience is gruelling. Chances are you’ll walk over ten kilometres per day, haul your suitcase up countless hills and staircases, live off food rations to save money, sleep in cramped dorms often lacking air conditioning and be forced to make important decisions on a few hours of sleep. The misconception of travel being a simple luxury is a myth that must be silenced. If a challenge is what you’re after, travelling may be the option your soul never knew it needed.

It allows you to reflect on your goals

Degrees can get you places, there’s no doubt about that. But our modern society places enormous emphasis on education – and that’s not right. For those that love to study, there is nothing wrong with attending college or university. But if you don’t have a desire to further your education, there’s no problem with that either! Don’t feel pressured to launch yourself into a realm of debt if your heart is not invested.

I urge anyone unsure about pursuing a degree to take a gap year and learn more about themselves. Spending time doing the things you love can often put what you want to get out of life into perspective. Perhaps it’ll reinforce your desire to become a doctor or lawyer. But maybe, like me, it’ll teach you that chasing creative passions is just as valid.

While success appears lucrative to some who crave a high-powered career, for many it is as simple as being happy.

Has travel helped you put your passions, goals, or life outlook into perspective? Share your stories with us here and you could see your work published on six-two…

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