Travel While You’re Young, Why You Cannot Afford NOT To
An exploration into the importance of traveling at a young age and some suggestions on how to finance it.
Most people I know who say they want to travel but don’t, usually give me the excuse that they can’t afford it. I get it! No one has money these days! I understand the woes of a perpetually broke college student with an unquenchable thirst to embrace the wonders of the world through travel. I actually used to be one of these people who would occasionally moan about an inability to financially support my dreams of being footloose and fancy free. And then something changed…
I can tell you one thing for sure, there was definitely no change in my income. The key thing that changed was my attitude. I met other people who loved to travel and became even more determined to get my glutes around the globe. My curiosity for the world and affinity for travel began to overpower almost everything else. When I finally made the mental commitment to “follow my bliss” (as my legendary AP Lit teacher, Bud Mayfield, would put it), my dreams of exploration became reality.
The act of traveling changed the way I think about money and affordability. As a matter of fact, it has changed the way I think about a lot of things. It has exposed me to so many different cultures with multitudes of values, beliefs, food, fashion, customs, and norms. I have only seen a small sliver of the world, especially in comparison to the inspirational, seasoned travelers I meet every so often, but one thing I learn each time I travel anywhere is that there is much more out there yet to be discovered… So much more. It seems that this is what allows the ubiquitous travel bug to stay alive and I do not see many people complaining about that. In fact, no one ever wants to cure the travel bug. We simply seek to satisfy the symptomatic urges.
There are so many other lessons I have learned, but the biggest and brightest gem I have gained is a rather important piece of wisdom. Traveling while you are young will give you a clearer vision of the world and it will shape the way you live each day for the rest of your life. It will inspire you, test you, and make you more curious. It will breed creativity, courage, independence, and confidence.
Listen up, this is the important part! Money will flow in and out of your life, but when your youth is gone it is gone for good. Essentially the take away message is: money is replaceable, the experiences that shape who you become are not.
This is not to say that money is entirely unimportant. The truth is you will need money, but you can still have a great time with a modest amount and you should not let a lack of money deter you from traveling. You should also not feel guilty spending money on an experience that you believe will change your life in a positive way.
Now, let’s get one thing straight. Given the state of the American economy and the likelihood that you, as a student, probably have some hefty student loans, I am not saying that you should take out more loans you are uncomfortable with. (In fact, I am pretty much against taking out loans unless you absolutely have to.) However, I am saying that you should not let the depressing state of your bank account be the single most important factor that determines whether or not you travel at a young age.
So what should you do? Make a list of all possible options and then find the best solution or combination of solutions for you! Here are a few ideas to start.
• Work within your current budget
• Travel locally, explore every inch of your city until you have to expand outward
• Crash on the couch of a friend, or even a friend of a friend
• Apply for scholarships
• Create a travel savings plan
• Find a job in a foreign country
• Use Workaway.info
• Use current airline miles from a credit card
• Take out a loan you can afford
So get out there! Turn off this electronic device and prepare for flight. If you approach travel with the right attitude, it is more than likely you will learn awe-inspiring life lessons and meet amazing people you cannot afford to live without.