Claiming your twenties is one of the simplest, most transformative things you can do, according to renowned psychologist, Dr. Meg Jay. Each move can be more intentional than the last, and your twenties are a pivotal time to gain some control over your emotions, choose the steps that will eventually lead to the transient, ever-changing, course of your life, and plan for your path ahead. Travel is the most enlightening way to conquer and mold a vibrant life, a life in which you won’t burn out, but will always find a new adventure that forces you to burn brighter.
Let a little light into your life, and grab the opportunity to go now. Here’s ten reasons why:
Travel ignites something within, it ignites a desire for more: more culture, more language, more ideas, and more life. There is never a better time to explore, up root, and reinvent than your twenties. No kids, no mortgage, no boyfriend or girlfriend, and absolutely no need to stay put.
“You may never be this free again.”Unknown
Transience allows you to test out different aspects of life. It acts as a sampling platter overflowing with different cities, potential life-partners, friends, employers, jobs, climates, accommodation, and cultures. It allows you to experiment with passions, desires, and dreams.
Tasting a variety of flavors -savory, sweet, pungent, or bitter- is the only way to ever know what you truly want or don’t want. What do you want for the main course of your life? Well how the hell would you know if you haven’t experienced the things you don’t like? In our globalized culture today you have the ability to try more than one flavor of gelato, lover, or country. So go taste-test.
“The exploration is supposed to count. You must use it for something to better yourself in the future.”-Meg Jay
Capital is a measure of the economic value of one’s skill set, a concept that recognizes worth based on life experience, not solely on education or specific previous jobs. Travel is a pivotal building block to increasing human capital because it is an investment in who you want to become.
Travel strips everything raw, and forces you to learn new communication styles, find solutions to seemingly impossible problems, make quick character judgments, assess situations, and most importantly- adapt to insane situations. Problem solving becomes a daily occurrence when you’re on the road, a daily occurrence with a much bigger penalty for failure.
“There will be time, there will be time. To prepare a face to meet the faces you will meet.” –T.S. Eliot
Looking out wide-eyed into the lights of an unknown place is unnerving, yet euphoric. Traveling to a new place allows a little wonder to creep into your soul. To travel is to see wonder in the mundane, to experience every emotion on the human continuum; to sweat, to try the food and get sick anyways, and to enter a new place and feel as if you can’t return to the old.
“I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” –Robert Louis Stevenson
Travel lends a passport into desire, into fear, and opens you up to an entirely new version of yourself, a toughened version. You will become the person that can survive using a ‘bum-gun’ (hose) instead of toilet paper, motorbike through seas of Balinese locals, dive in shark-infested waters, and get stranded in a non-English speaking town and find a way back to civilization.
“When you give yourself to places, they give you yourself back.” -Rebecca Solnit
It is our nature to find pleasure in comfort, to create a routine and stick to the monotonous nature of it day after day because it’s easy. It’s easy, it’s safe, and to be honest- it can be mind numbing. Think of the last time you were uncomfortable, I mean really uneasy. Discomfort usually precedes a moment of change, a scary, inevitable jump into the unknown. Travel is uncomfortable. It forces us into situations that test our will, our patience, and our adaptability. But who wants to live a life of consistent comfort? Being comfortable is normal. Normalcy is deadly; it destroys our hunger, our need for new adventure and thrill.
“Do one thing that scares you everyday.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
Travel extends and stretches our capacity for happiness. When exposed to places, values, and rituals so unlike our own, we begin to question, mold, and reevaluate what we hold important.
“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.”-Rumi
Travel throws us out of our element, and into extraordinary conversations with people we would never choose to talk to. The Philippine you met on that 5-hour train in Singapore, the broken-English conversation shared over Pho noodle soup in Vietnam, or experiences exchanged with a new ‘mate’ over a couple Peroni’s at the Sydney Opera House. These are experiences you can’t plan for, and can’t possibly know their immense future-worth.
Getting out of your inner circle and into a foreign place diminishes the tendency for groupthink, fosters creativity, and generates a diverse network of contacts.
“Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.”-Bill Nye
Vacation should be easy; it should be a relative escape from the life you choose. Travel is different. Travel requires hard work, and a deeper effort to delve into the inner workings of a culture. Travel requires grit; it’s grabbing a motorbike and heading off into the distance without a map, it’s pointing at the menu and saying I’ll have that because you can’t read anything else. It’s losing yourself in the vastness of foreign cultures and lands. Travel doesn’t just come to you- you must go to it.
There will always be time to travel if you create it. If you prioritize and embrace the need to wander, you will push things out to create travel-space. Life is a non-linear journey, it is an influx of ups and downs, and the only thing that is ever constant is change. Embrace the transient nature of life, embrace change, and go now.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” –Mae West
Thanks for reading, but I want to hear from you! What makes your ‘travel-clock’ tick? Why did you choose to be transient, or what is holding you back?