Why you should turn to Travel in a Quarter Life Crisis

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about turning 25.

Having only recently celebrated my 24th birthday, you would be forgiven for thinking my concerns are somewhat premature… but alas, I’m sure they’ll continue to haunt me for the following nine months until another number is reached, this time being the doomed quarter of a century.

For years I have been travelling the world nearly non-stop. Throughout this time I have visited 60 or 70 something countries, 6 continents, and flown in all sorts of devices from an aeroplane to a jet, through to helicopters and even microflights.

But I haven’t always been this fearless and I’m often asked by readers, mostly women in their early-late twenties, why I turned to travel and was it the answer?

brooke flying

Spoiler: You’re Doomed for A Quarter Life Crisis

According to the Wikipedia definition of the phrase, a “quarter life crisis” can occur any time between the ages of late teens through to early thirties. While there’s no guarantee it will happen to you, that’s a pretty wide berth they’ve given you to use this as an ‘out’, quite literally in the case of a plane ticket in my circumstance. If anything this should be viewed as a good thing as it means that when it does happen (it probably will and that’s okay), you’ll know what the hell is going on. Its also good to know that you aren’t the only one and that almost all of us go through this period of soul searching, of an undying desire to just stop playing the game of life, pack up and escape it.

It happened to me at 22.

It begins with doubt and it almost certainly never ends in certainty… but life is not about knowing things for sure, but rather about putting your faith in new ideas and directions anyway because you know the ‘right’ decision is to follow your heart and let the rest work itself out.

Take for instance the time you’re sitting at your work desk and realise just how much you hate your job. The routine Monday conversation that consists of “How was your weekend?” followed by the designated hump day, followed by “One day ‘til Friday”, followed by Friday itself, leaves only Tuesday as the one day of the week for anything spontaneous to happen. The rest, it seems, is already all worked out for you.

Or it might come at the completion of your education, when the fancy robe and tasselled hat are supposed to mean something, but you wake up the following day feeling more of a burden on your shoulders to find a job, rather than a lightened load.

Then there’s the moment you’re sitting in your friends’ lounge on her nice new couch in her nice new house, nursing her nice new baby and saying nice things about her life. You suddenly realise that you’re single, renting a house that pays someone else’s mortgage and have little to no desire to breed any time soon. After all, you can’t look after yourself let alone another person (cats on the other hand… you probably have twelve).

Adventure Checklist

Why you should turn to Travel

What I’m saying is that it happens. At one point or another in your window for a quarter life crisis, you’re going to have one. You’re going to let doubt creep in for a second and before you know it, that small glimpse of doubt has manifested into a complete and utterly uncontrollable sense of misery. You’re not happy and you know it.

When it happened to me (post university degree that I didn’t really even want or need in the Arts variety), I turned to travel. I booked a one way ticket to London and said goodbye to the life I once knew.

I was scared, sure. But I was more scared of turning thirty and not being able to say I enjoyed my twenties, or worse yet turning forty and still not knowing myself, let alone the world.

I soon realised travel could give me a better education than any. I had spent years of my childhood, teenage years and early adulthood reading textbooks about places I thought I would never see. I studied Russian history at university because it excited me and the history of my own country was a mere hundred years old.

Once abroad I made more friends than I had in my life, and they were all more like me. They didn’t ask “why?”. Rather they, like me, asked “why not!?”.

Instead of merely reading about people, culture and history, I met local people in their hometowns and let them show me around their city. I learned more than the textbooks could ever teach me and I always made an effort to learn their language, if even for the life of me all I can remember from Portuguese is a warm “Obrigado!” (Still not remembering what that actually means but it sounds good anyway).

But most importantly of all, I learned about who I was. I learned what I liked and didn’t like. Before travelling to find out who I was, I wasn’t open minded enough to care to find out. It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey, just make the next step count.



This post was written to promote the new G Adventures “Make Your Next Step Count” campaign. To learn more about the G Adventures destinations and travel styles, visit

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    January 31, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    […] Why You Should Turn To Travel In A Quarter Life Crisis […]

    Rachel Rainsford
    December 8, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    In less than 3 months I will be turning 24. I came to realise just how unhappy I was at the age of 20. I started working in a professional trade at 14, left school at 16 and was under a lot of stress for so many years. I had a feeling that I failed at my journey because I became a chef at such a young age and hated it at 18. To sweeten my crisis I decided to go to uni to study entertainment business management. After completeing my bachelor degree I headed over to America with 2 friends. I soon realised that even though I was a fully qualified chef AND a bachelor in business at the age of 21 I was still in as much of a stressful hole of nothing and still unhappy. So I decided to explore. America was such an experience and relieved my soul and I came to realise that experiencing the world through travel was the way to go. On my days off i try to explore as much as my surroundings here in Victoria and In March I am heading to Europe then the UK to live. My aim is to open myself up to others, learn about the people in this world, experience local in a different way. Quarter life crisis’ are real and I do think it is the best time to have a crisis as you are still young enough to find yourself in the world of travel.

    December 4, 2015 at 9:35 am

    I’m turning 25 next near as well and well, I’ve just realized I’m experiencing a quarter life crisis (I didn’t know that what I was feeling was actually a thing). Travel is really a life savior. Sadly I don’t have a lot of people to travel with, so I’m starting to consider maybe I could try traveling along. I find it quite scary though…

    Thanks, Brooke, you’re really an inspiration. 🙂

    December 4, 2015 at 5:32 am

    What a wonderful post, thank you for the encouraging words 🙂
    It’s a pity that the competition is only for the Aussies, but oh well! There’s always a next time.

    December 3, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Hi Brooke!
    Would love to enter the contest, but the link isn’t working. Couldn’t find it on the G Adventures page either

    • Brooke Saward
      December 3, 2015 at 7:49 am

      Hi Sabrina, sadly this competition is for Australia and New Zealand only and hence the link only works in these locations – I was only just informed of this so I’m sorry for all my international readers who cannot enter! hopefully they hold the same comp elsewhere 🙂

    December 3, 2015 at 4:57 am

    Thanks for this article! Your description of the endless repetition and predictability of office life strikes a chord with me… I live it every day! I don’t hate my job, but I can think of things I’d rather be doing and places I’d rather be! I’d love to escape the daily grind for something I’m passionate about, and I find your article really inspiring. I wish I’d been savvy enough to make a break for it in my twenties, but I guess it’s never too late….
    Thanks again! 🙂

    December 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Travel is a Tonic 🙂

    December 2, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Great post Brooke!
    I love even more the ‘Get a real problem’ comments posted by what I assume are fans?! Honestly I’ll never understand why people take the time to write negatively!
    Leading light in inspirational thought. These are my favourite type of posts, keep them up! X

    Eleanor Morrissey
    December 2, 2015 at 2:04 am

    It’s silly seeing people slamming the fact that people in their twenties experience crisis in life – truth is I think a crisis will come at any, if not all times in life, but how we deal with them is how we grow. And travelling is a good remedy! Too look back with too many regrets is my idea of a worst nightmare.

    p.s. – also obrigado is masculine, so women say obrigada! 😉 And that’s the extent of my Portuguese…

    December 2, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Just another example of how self-centered and clueless 20-somethings are. Being 25 years old is a crisis? Are you kidding me? I’ve got underwear older than that! Y’all wouldn’t know a crisis if it bit you in the ass!

    When you hit 60 with all its incumbent aging/health/financial/adult children/elderly parent issues, let’s talk. In the meantime, quit whining and realize this is the best time of your life.

      December 2, 2015 at 7:35 pm

      Sounds like you have put those years of wisdom to good use! Trawling the Internet to write bitter comments is such a better use of your time. What a way to inspire us ‘clueless’ 20 year olds.

      Brooke travelling has ensured she will never end up exactly where you are!

      Love and light (you need it!)

      Rachel Rainsford
      December 8, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Crisis’ happen at any age. Im 23 working a highly stressful job working 60 plus hour a week. I have debt coming out of my ass, which is my own doing of coarse. I have health issues and also mental health issues I must deal with. Maybe I dont have kids, but family dramas and tragedy has always lingered. What im trying to say is that crisis’ happen at any age. We all deal with it in different way and you shouldnt judge a book by its cover. Some people may look young and people think they have it easy and shoukd enjoy it, but behind closed doors it couldbe a different story.

    December 1, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Such an inspiring post, Brooke! I agree with you that travel is most definitely one of the best solutions to a quarter life crisis 🙂

    December 1, 2015 at 6:54 am

    This is an amazing post and exactly what I needed to hear! I’m 22 now and am going on my first solo trip to London in a week. I’m going just for a few days but it’s such a big step out of my comfort zone. I’m really scared but even more excited to do this, to prove to myself that I can do it and to follow my dream. You and your blog were an inspiration for me so thank you for sharing your experience and travels!
    Btw, I’m from Portugal – hope you had a lovely time here! – and “obrigado” means “thank you”, it definitely is a good word 🙂 x

    December 1, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Hi Brooke!

    I totally understand everything said in this post! I up and moved myself to London from Brisbane only about 6 weeks ago! And although finding work is hard and money is quickly thinning, I can already tell its the best decision I ever made!

    When all your friends and family have their partners, good paying jobs, babies and houses, and you realise that you don’t even want any of it- you’d rather move to the other side of the world – you have to do it!

    Travelling makes you so much more open and accepting to new things. I love it so much!

    I’d love to catch up when you’re next in London and decide to have a meet up!

    Hannah x

    Paola Llano
    December 1, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Hola Brooke, Sin duda alguna viajar es algo hermoso, porque conoces tanto de otras culturas y bellas experiencias que es inimaginable, soy de Colombia y sigo muy de cerca todas tus historias en el blog me parecen geniales todas las historias, la verdad viajar acá no es tan sencillo como lo es en otros países pero espero poder hacerlo antes de tener una familia o una responsabilidad mayor, te felicito y espero poder conocer tanto como tu, Un abrazo.

    Posh, Broke, & Bored
    December 1, 2015 at 1:53 am

    I used to make such a fuss about quarter life crises until I hit 27, then I thought Meh, nice hair don’t care, plus I’ll be glad to make it to 40 the way I’m living. Either way, travel is always a good idea – you’ll find yourself in ways you never knew existed, in places you’d never dream of before. x


    December 1, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Such an inspiring post x

    December 1, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Great piece! I’m currently experiencing my second quarter-life crisis (it’s only slightly more fun than the first!). Last time I spent way too much time thinking, this time I’ve decided to spend my time thinking and exploring. Travel really is one of the best ways to deal with this phase because it’s allowed me to gain perspective, and slow down a bit!

    November 30, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    Brooke you are SUCH an inspiration! This post really hits home. I feel like I’m going through a quarter life crisis at 25. I’m sitting here on a Monday hating my job- but in two weeks my contract will be up and I’m going to the US for 3 weeks which I hope will be the start of a new traveling adventure. Thanks for showing me that this is possible!
    PS. The link isn’t working for me either- I’d love to enter!
    Jabeen x

    November 30, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    This is such an amazing and important post! I definitely recognize myself here, about to finish a Masters Degree and am nowhere near being ready for a ‘grown up job’.. Traveling it is! 🙂

    November 30, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Hey Brooke

    I loooove your blog, photos and stories and I have been wanting to do the same thing. There is just one (huge) thing that is holding me back: I’m scared to leave, to take the step. But maybe that’s a good thing… I think I was just waiting for a sign. Well this is it! Thank you so much!!
    Ps: the contest link doesn’t work..?

    Kisses from Belgium!

    November 30, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Love your article. It speaks out of my mind. I am 27 now and because I realised that I hate my job i decided to quit and travel. Of course I am totally scared. But how is it said: „Life starts at the end of your comfortzone.“
    Love Jules

    November 30, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Your concerns are way premature.

    Sarah Elizabeth || SEDiva Abroad
    November 30, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    This is beautiful! I never really thought about the words quarter life crisis, even though my friends are always spewing them out whenever they’re feeling down, instantly blaming it on what I assumed was a mythical notion. But you’re absolutely right, it will happen and for some reason it might be the first time it occurs to you that you have the freedom to follow your heart, travel, do whatever you would love to do, whatever you feel called to do. Travel is the world’s education, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to go, too. Thanks for sharing such a great piece xx

    November 30, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Hello Brook!:)

    I’m 26 and I decided to leave my job and my organised life and visit South America. I’m leaving tomorrow!!! 🙂 i feel that half a year in different environment and culture is the best decision in my life 🙂
    Adventure, I’m coming! 🙂


    November 30, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Hey Brooke, Last summer I had a similar feeling – had worked really hard all my life (yes, I know that sounds lame at only 28!) but I was exhausted, frustrated by my current job, and needed a break. I turned to travel, knowing it would fill a gap, perhaps just temporarily. Honestly, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done… Those 3.5 months away, feeling independent and not having to make a huge life plan were totally invigorating! I’ve been back almost exactly a year and pleased to say new plans are going well, but I’ve been sure to remember how I felt when I booked that flight… and that it’s ok to disappear off every now and then for a break when it all gets a bit much! Nice to hear you’ve felt similar feelings! Totally relate to this.

    November 30, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    I would like to join the contest but there is 404 error for all links you gave?

    • Brooke Saward
      November 30, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      That’s so strange! The links all work fine for me on both devices but I will look into it now!! so sorry x

    Cest La Vibe
    November 30, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    25 was the year that I decided that I just wanna travel and go to music festivals!

    ~ carmen ~
    November 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Travel is definitely one of the best things you can do in life. It really opened up the world & opportunities for me. I basically forgot about my quarter life crisis. :]