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.
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.
“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.