Travel While You’re Young
Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. - Gustav Flaubert
One of the most common pieces of advice given to young people is to travel. I knew what they meant, but now I understand. After my own trip, I caught the travel bug. For me, it’s similar to investing and writing, once I got into it, I wish I started earlier. Travelling while you’re young is immensely valuable if you can afford it. Here’s why:
Over the course of my two months solo travelling I easily met 100+ people. One of the first things we talk about is our reason for travelling. The majority of people I’ve met fall into three buckets:
- Students taking time off from school. Most students I met are taking a gap year after high school or after university/college. Some are taking time off in the middle of their studies. Others also travel during their summer vacations or between degrees like from Bachelors to Masters for example.
- Work Sabbaticals. Most people I’ve met fall into this category. They took the leap and quit their jobs and are travelling indefinitely from money they’ve saved up during work.
- Work vacations. On average, people take 2-3 weeks off work for a vacation. It’s difficult to take any more than 3 weeks off.
When you’re young, you have flexibility with time. Something I heard often from older friends that started working is how you can’t really travel for long periods of time. You can take vacation days from work but those usually last three weeks at most and can only be taken maybe once year. But if you’re still in school you can travel during a gap year before you start, between semesters, during summer vacation, and after you graduate.
Another option is to take a sabbatical and quit your job. Here, you’re only limited by the amount of money you’ve saved up. And while you’re young, you can afford to travel cheap. You can sleep in hostel dorm rooms and eat cheap street food.
Finally, when you’re young you don’t have much responsibility or things weighing you down. You don’t have a house to take care of or dependents such as kids.
When I visited Italy with my family, we went on one of those double decker tour buses. On the bus, there were tourists of all ages including many older people. Sometimes the bus would stop at landmarks and we would disembark to explore for a few minutes. But some of the older people would stay behind. I’m sure they wanted to explore too, but their bodies were just not capable anymore.
Hiking/trekking is part of the Peruvian experience but many of those hikes aren’t easy. The Inca/Salkantay Trail, a four-five day trek to Machu Picchu is a memorable experience for many. But that shit isn’t easy even for many around my age.
While we’re young and healthy, we aren’t restricted by our body’s limitations. We can spend all day walking around Rome, we can go on that life changing trek to Machu Picchu, or go to the club and party until morning if we so choose.
Living an Interesting Life
From travelling to Latin America, I’ve learned much about the world and myself.
I learned that my favourite sport basketball isn’t as big as I think and that football (or soccer) is truly the world’s most popular sport.
I learned how difficult it is to learn another language and I have immense respect to those that can speak multiple languages.
I learned how living in Canada influenced the way I talk, think, and dress.
I learned what a privilege it is to live in Canada.
I’ve broaden my experiences and made lifelong memories.
And I’ve made friends from all over the world.