As young adults we see the world as our oyster. However, most of us do not know what to do with that oyster.
We often find ourselves confused about what is to come, wondering about our next life journey. By default, we fall back on the idea that we will get our degree, get a job, find a life partner, build a family, retire and move to our dream destination. Of course this is not the mindset that everyone holds about life, but it is the the norm.
One thing that people tend to set on the back burner is travel. Travel is often thought of as something that is far fetched and too expensive, and people craft the idea: “I will be able to travel later, right now is not really the time.” However, according to nbcnews.com, only 29 percent of American adults have never been abroad. So when will it be the right time to travel? NBC claims, “In a world accessible via YouTube, Google Earth, and virtual reality, many think they’ve already seen all the world has to offer.” As the young adults we are, we should take advantage of our youth and health to embark on a journey that challenges us, teaches us and immerses us. Sure, going on an around-the-world trip out of pocket seems fun, it is not the most ideal scenario. However, this is not your only option.
There are numerous programs that allow you to study, travel, work or volunteer abroad. While it is not free, the payback is priceless. NAFSA: Association of International Educators Travel states, “Nationally, the number of U.S. students studying abroad for credit during the 2015-2016 academic year grew 3.8 percent from 313,415 students to 325,339 students. This represents just over 1.6 percent of all U.S. students enrolled at institutions of higher education in the United States and about 10 percent of U.S. graduates.” Studying abroad not only allows us to explore the world, but we are exposed to the cuisine, people and culture within it. The things you learn and the experiences you gain have the ability to teach you things about the world we live in, and, more importantly, about yourself.
Whether you go abroad or stay here in the States, by traveling you are putting yourself to the test. Instead of planning a trip to Disney World, start saving for a cross-country trip or even a trip across the ocean. By making the conscious decision to flee your comfort zone, you will discover your strengths and your weaknesses, your passions and your indifferences.
Travel is not just about going to cool places, it is also about self discovery, whether that is your goal or not. Embrace the world as your oyster, because you will never get back these few more years of ultimate freedom.