Travelling around the world is my greatest passion. There is something about clicking that "confirm" button when I finally decide on a destination that gives me such a rush. I would give up most things in my life so that I can travel more. Every financial decision that I make is rationalized in "plane tickets". For example, I could buy this purse, but that's half a plane ticket. I could upgrade my computer, but that's a plane ticket. You get it.
Maybe this is deeply rooted in me from moving around a lot of a child and always experiencing that new, fresh, exciting start of a new place. A lot of children would find that intimidating, but I thrived on it. I loved whatever new adventure my parents were taking us on and embraced it whole heartily. At least that is how I remember it, they could have an entirely different story.
In my early 20's I had done all of the "right" steps to becoming an adult. I went to college, got married, landed a secure and safe job that I mildly enjoyed with my 3% raise every year and 3 weeks of holidays. I bought a house and hit all of the regular milestones you are conditioned to think you need to hit to be a functioning member of society. The problem was, my soul wanted more. So much more. The more time I spent in the office at the job I should have been grateful for, the more I felt like I was drowning. I felt like life was passing me by with every mortgage payment made and board meeting attended. I knew if I was going to be who God called me to be, I needed to make a change. Fast forward to a lot of tears and soul searching...I took a leave of absence for my job for one year to travel that turned into six. (They let you do that in some places, you should look into it.)
I will dive deeper into this journey in my later posts, but right now I want to focus on why seeing the world when you are young and able to do so, is so valuable.
5 Reasons to Travel in your 20's
1. When you are younger, you don't have set ideas and expectations. You are much more flexible. As we get older, we can get set in our ways. We think things should be a certain way, our expectations rise and we want more control of what is happening around us. We miss the authenticity and appreciation of other cultures as we age because we are so conditioned to have things our way and up to our standards. When you are a young traveller, you embrace these cultures, discomforts and not so ideal accommodations.
2. It forces you to become more independent. Things don't always go as planned when you are jet-setting. Flights get cancelled, reservations get lost, wallets get stolen, things happen. You learn to become quick thinking and develop problem solving skills. Unless of course you are on a trust fund, which I was not. (do those even exist anymore?)
3. The people you will meet. Ask anyone who has taken a gap year between high school and college or someone who travelled in their younger years and they will prove this to be true. The people you meet along the way, from every corner of the world, will be forever in your circle. Now in my 30's, it doesn't matter where I have layovers, cancelled flights or work trips, you can guarantee I know someone in that city or country that I can meet up with to see their world.
4. The level of gratitude you will feel about your country. When you travel to developing countries, because let's be honest here, those are by far the most beautiful and affordable places to explore, you begin to appreciate the country you were blessed to be raised in. Safety, education and medical care are all pretty solid in Canada and the US compared to so many other countries out there. I won't even dare touch on political corruption as we have our fair share too, it is just covered up a lot better in our world. If you really pay attention, you will begin to realize that we lack in traditions and culture when you leave your safe North American bubble and will embrace those traditions on your travels because they are so authentic, so real, so fascinating. Maybe you will even try and bring some of those long time traditions back to your family and friends and shake things up a bit.
5. You just may discover your calling. The "aha" moments I have had while wandering around the globe have been life altering. In particular when I truly discovered the love of God. I was half way around the world and for the first time in my life, I had to rely on him 100% to meet my needs, to keep me alive and to comfort me in the darkest moments. I knew after experiencing that love and that security from my Creator, I wanted to live a life honoring Him and serving for his Kingdom. Some people discover they want to teach when they are volunteering in schools along their way, or own a business or fly a plane. So much clarity can come from removing yourself from the box you were never intended to be in, spreading your wings and discovering the purpose that God has for you.