Call me a rebel,
someone who is headed nowhere –
or maybe someone who is headed everywhere.
Everyone expects someone my age to be finishing up their college education. As for me, I am over 5 years out of high school and further education is a path I’ve not yet journeyed down; at least, not in the way that most people think of it. Rather than hitting the books, I got a job, got a car, and hit the road every chance I’ve had. Looking back, those experiences have provided me with a lot of groundwork for success and confidence in my adult life.
Here are 9 reasons why young people should consider making travel a priority:
1.) You will need to get a job and face the “real world”.
To travel, you will need a way to pay for your explorations. Soon as you are able, I recommend picking up a job. An entry-level full time job would be the best, but even part time work can help you save up, depending on what kinds of expenses your regularly face. If possible, get a job while you are still in high school and begin saving up before you begin having to deal with rent and insurance payments.
2.) You will get to know yourself better.
Traveling has helped me figure out some personal preferences that I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered, such as what types of cities and towns appeal to me to potentially live in someday. Time on the highway also can give you a lot of opportunity to think about life, relationships, ideas, and possible future pursuits.
3.) You will develop planning and research skills.
While you won’t always have one, it is useful to have at least a semi-structured plan laid out for larger trips. Know about the place you are going, what to pack, a general idea of what you will do while you’re gone, where you will stay, and about how much money the outing is going to cost you. This type of planning will play into your day to day life a ton, too: What do you hope to accomplish today? Where do you need to go and what tools will be used in accomplishing those things? How much time will each activity take you? Will said activities cost you anything or require special skills or certain people?
4.) You will learn to manage your money.
It’s important to know how far your finances will stretch when you’re on the road! If you don’t pay attention, you could get yourself stranded. The same goes in day to day living. Keeping track of how much money you can safely spend and keeping tabs on how much cash will/has left your pocket is an extremely important ability to have for your future success.
5.) You will deal with people.
Cashiers, tourists, creeps, the folks who pump your gas, locals, and more! You will have the opportunity to encounter all types and learn how to best deal with each of them. Being able to effectively communicate with a wide variety of people is a skill that will serve you for a lifetime!
6.) You will face unexpected circumstances and push through.
Face it: not everything can go perfectly all of the time, and you have the potential to face some rather dramatic unexpected events while you’re out and about. Pushing through the less than perfect points of your trip will give you more resilience and confidence for the difficult times in life. Plus, if you pay attention, you can sometimes learn how to avoid such situations in the future.
7.) You will discover places you love (and some that you don’t!)
Some spots you may never wish to go back to again, but hey, you tried. Trying things helps you grow as a person, even if they aren’t all you hoped they would be. On the flipside, discovering a place that you absolutely fall in love with is one of the most special experiences you can have. That is what memories are made of. Sure, they speak of all the memories you will make in college; those can be good too, but will you get to climb literal mountains, stand under massive waterfalls, or find a meteor shower that leaves you breathless? Possible. But you don’t have to pay out over $50k to be able to make memories and have stories that you will tell for a lifetime.
8.) You can make beneficial connections.
That diversity of people I said that you’d learn to interact with? Some of them will become your closest friends (and sometimes biggest advantages) as you navigate through the rest of your life. Whether it’s moral support, a place to stay during future travels, or perhaps even connecting you to future opportunities, if you make the right friends, there will be folks out there who’ve got your back – and if you have any sense of friendship and loyalty, you’ll do the same for them too.
9.) You will experience freedom and discover your boundaries.
It’s hard to know what you’re ok with until you’re faced with the choice, and it’s difficult to realize the responsibilities of freedom until you are made to handle them. Contemplate who you are and build your convictions as you explore and experience life. Young adulthood is a time to grow; do it!
This post was originally published on Adventure of Sair on 2/16/17.