Young and Restless: The Modern Day 20-something

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20-something traveller

So you’ve just finished your education.
Imagine if you entered a job interview in a year’s time and your employer’s first question was “what is your biggest achievement?” You begin reeling off your greatest achievements, all of which exist on a sheet of paper. Whether you’ve graduate with honors or barely scraped by, you’ve got something to refer to that involves a certificate of some kind, a glorified piece of tree, there’s some ink thrown on it, and essentially it means something after all that hard work, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that your years of blood, sweat and tears poured into that two-week exam block don’t mean anything, they do. But your answer might be a little underwhelming compared to the next guy that walks in and tells your potential employer they have been working as a conservationist in East Africa or stepped foot on 6 of the 7 continents. They’ve grown as a person, learned about other cultures, expanded their horizons, and returned home a well-rounded, globally aware, educated young individual. Education in the self-learning form, education through experience, education through world travels.
Sure, on the contrary you could argue that travel makes one restless, careless, and even eternally incomplete. After all – there’s still a whole world out there to explore, right?
But what’s saying there’s anything wrong with restlessness? Because there isn’t.
Here’s why.

Nicole Flickr

Of all the things I’ve learned from world travel, an inquisitive and out-of-the-box way of thinking would have to be the greatest achievement. What I’ve learned from traveling across the world to Europe, Africa, North America, Oceania, Asia, and soon South America, is absolutely invaluable. It’s a mindset you can’t ‘achieve’ or ‘earn’ from good grades at school, it’s one you must discover through life experience.
There it is, the golden words you knew were coming – life experience.
But of all the things that have evolved (more rapidly than we all could have expected) in recent decades in our ‘globalized’ world, the ‘typical lifestyle’ would have to be one of the most confusing and ill-defined concepts of the 21st Century. If there’s anything typical about it, it’s that it’s not. It’s now typical to be anything but typical, typically. Okay I threw that last one in there for good measure – and have now created a catchy albeit confusing phrase – so let’s break it down. 

Nicole Flickr


“It’s now typical to be anything but typical”

Before us came our parents, and our grandparents, and their parents… etc.
It should go without saying that we’ve all heard the phrase ‘it wasn’t like that back in my day’. No, mum. It wasn’t. Because that was back in your day. Here we are, 21st Century, present time, and things are changing faster than ever before.
It’s no longer a heavy weight on your shoulders, an expectation of society, to settle into a full time career, buy a house, and have a family, before you hit your thirties. You may certainly at this point argue that it is in fact still an expectation, but I’m going to blatantly disagree with you nonetheless. My lifestyle choice to travel the world and make a career out of it as a freelance travel writer is of course, proof of that.
But for anyone not looking to make a career out of travel – but just wishing to see the world, experience it, and soak it up like a dry sponge – fear not, the rest of the world is feelin’ your vibes, too.
But now (more than ever) we, as society, are accepting world travel as an invaluable life experience. There’s just some things they can’t teach you in school – like mending a broken heart or self-defence, and for the life of me I still don’t know how to change a tyre. But they also won’t teach you the purpose of life is to live a life full of purpose – which can and should mean different things to different people. They taught you to be competitive, to continually strive for success in a vertical progression, and to never act out of line for there are consequences. But what if you don’t value money and success as your highest priority in life? What if your biggest aspiration is to make a difference in the world, even if you know it will only ever be just than, aspirational, because let’s be honest – one person can not end world poverty or hunger, but they sure can give a little back in pursuit of this cause.
What I’m saying is, we’re more accepting of differentiating lifestyles from ‘the norm’ – because in our globalized world (that’s where the world is becoming increasingly interconnected from the rapid and vast progression of modern technology), we can pursue an alternative path beyond ‘the norm’ that is still validated by society. E.G. living as an expatriate is no longer a foreign concept, with 92% of Dubai being expats and migrant workers, for example.
So what does this all mean?
Stop feeling guilty for your want or desire to go out and see the world, to be endlessly exploring. If you’re young and restless, embrace it. Make the most of it while you’re young without commitments such as a family, mortgage, and a cute puppy you simply cannot leave for more than 2 days at a time. Don’t overthink it, if you want to go then…


All Images sourced from the talented Nicole Odemann with permission.

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    July 12, 2014 at 5:34 am

    I love this post! I am a recent graduate and I have nothing but great desire to see the world, to experience different cultures and meet people around the world. I’m currently in Dubai and have been vlogging about it. Your blog and channel have both inspired me to continue :).

    Annabel Leeding
    June 6, 2014 at 4:39 am


    This is truly inspirational! I’m currently in my third year of sixth form (YES, i know!) Initially the plan was to go to uni this September, however my desire to travel has led to the decision to venture into the unknown and gain a little life experience. I’m still carrying the guilt from putting uni off for 2 years now yet this post has inspired me and provided me with confidence in my decision! I’m unsure of what the future holds in terms of career, uni might still be a possibility.. I’m hoping travel will bring clarity and allow me to aquire the skills to be successful in whatever i do!

    Thank you! 🙂

    May 29, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Brooke, I recently found your awesome site through Instagram. I just love going through all your posts, they just create an extra yearning in my wanderlust heart to really push myself to begin my travels. Sadly I’m facing the same dilemma as Michelle in not having the funds, so I’ll be looking forward to that post. By the way, your photos are amazing.

    May 27, 2014 at 6:25 am

    Haha this just made me feel kind of terrible about being in school. Everyone tells me that I’m wasting my life, but I just don’t know what else to do. Everyone says “follow your passion,” but I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever had one….

    May 26, 2014 at 1:07 am

    This post is amazing but the thing is that traveling needs money, and that’s what’s holding me back. I don’t have enough money to travel and to earn up that money is going to take a long time, especially since I didn’t go to uni. Advice?

    • worldofwanderlust
      May 26, 2014 at 2:00 am

      I will write a post on my tips for you! I also haven’t worked after uni so I have only ever received a part-time salary to fund my travels as a hotel receptionist – and have never taken a penny from my parents or anyone else to fund travel. So I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help! 🙂

    April 14, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Please visit India sometimes. You are my aspiration and I certainly want to peruse something like what you are doing!

    March 11, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I love this. I stumbled on this article and was hooked on your site.
    I had never thought to discuss the values and lessons I learned traveling abroad! Thanks for making me smack my head thinking “Duh!”

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    February 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    How did you feel about uni? Obviously life experience through travel is incredibly valuable to you – would you change your decision about going to uni/choice of degree?

    • worldofwanderlust
      February 11, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      I won’t use my degree at this point in life but it is certainly invaluable to have completed one! I wouldn’t change my decision to go to uni for the world 🙂

    February 2, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Is that the hotel near oxford st? I’ll deffo be there.

    • worldofwanderlust
      February 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Yep thats the one! see you then can’t wait to meet and hang out 🙂 x

    February 1, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I just found this blog via instagram & found this article amazing!
    Im a 20year old female from London. I dropped out of uni last year because i decided further education isnt for me & theres nothing i want more than to travel the world. However i dont know where to begin. Im currently working fulltime & saving for my travels. The only problem is, i have a mental block that holds me back, i find the whole idea daunting for example: being a young girl solo traveler, how much money will i need, where to stay, visa’s etc. Its one thing saying “Just Go” but how? Lol. I find you and ur blog really inspirational. Advice please! 🙂

    • worldofwanderlust
      February 2, 2014 at 6:56 am

      Hi Rae! I’m having a ‘meet up’ in London next Saturday (8th) if you want to come and chat then! It’s 12 noon outside the Langham and I will be hanging out with whoever shows up for a couple hours 🙂 hope you can make it!

    February 1, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    ABSOLUTELY my favorite post you have ever wrote!

    • worldofwanderlust
      February 2, 2014 at 7:00 am

      Thanks so much for the feedback Rach 🙂 helps me know for next time what you guys are responding to well and want to read more of!! xx

    January 31, 2014 at 2:42 am

    Brooke I just found out about WOW through Instagram! I am without a doubt thrilled, this is exactly what I have wanted to do as a career ever since my first travel experience. I am now working my way towards it!! You go girl, the earth is our home <3

    • worldofwanderlust
      January 31, 2014 at 6:21 am

      The Earth IS our home. Beautiful words 🙂 thank you xx

    January 30, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    That is my biggest obstacle to overcome as well. How does one fund world-wide travel? Internships? Research? The Peace Corps?

    Thanks darling,

    • worldofwanderlust
      January 31, 2014 at 6:22 am

      I will be writing more about this this year, it seems to be a popular question! I have answered how I afford my trips in detail in my Ebook, you can purchase it from the homepage if you are interested 🙂 Brooke x

    Be Local Be Global
    January 30, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    This is amazing!!!! So inspirational.

    Just go….but you need to the money too.

    The Irie Explorer
    January 30, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    This is perfect. Do what makes your soul happy. Always.

    Liane xx