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One time I was expressing my internal anguish of not knowing if I should go straight to Europe after my trip to Hawaii, or return back to Calgary to work, save, and buy a house (of course I was leaning towards Europe). The person I was speaking to laughed at me and said,

“That’s not a moral dilemma, that’s a problem of not wanting to grow up.”

It kind of hit me hard, am I acting childish because I don’t want to settle down and live a “normal” life? I ended up taking on a new job when I returned from Hawaii. I love my job, but everyday I wished I were on a beautiful island or hiking in the jungle. It took me a while to find my happy medium, which is still not perfect, but I think I have an idea of how I can make everything work out. I just want to let you guys know this is all my opinion, and I think that any road you decide to take will be wonderful.

After high school, some people decide to take a gap year and work. People I have talked to have told me they find it hard to get into school after a year of which might turn into two. I watched a TED talk video once (http://www.ted.com/talks/meg_jay_why_30_is_not_the_new_20). Meg Jay speaks about how she believes every single year of your life when you are in your 20’s should count. You should always be working towards a career and be searching for meaningful relationships. At first, I didn’t agree with her, but I do see her point. Many people who travel end up having to pick up random jobs just to keep their traveling funds going. Random jobs that won’t make their skills or resume more impressive to future employers. Now a day, it’s unfortunately hard to find a good job without going to university. I am grateful I got the opportunity to attend my dream school at 18. I found that if you start university at 18, you are with people your age, who are all in the same boat and have the same goals. University can be rough. At some points I really wanted to just give up. I honestly mostly looked forward going back to school to see my friends again. They got me through it, and somehow made it fun at the same time. Before I knew it we had graduated and gotten big girl/boy jobs. And of course while in school you can always take weekend trips, spring break, winter and summer trips!

To some, this is a difficult “moral” dilemma. At this point in my life, all I know is you regret what you don’t do. So if you are unhappy then make a change. If the change ended up being awful, then you learn from it and make another change. If you never try something you want to do then you may never know what would have worked for you. After university I worked for a year, I was unhappy. So I went back to university for a year. Before I went back to school I spent a summer traveling in Europe and Southeast Asia to “get traveling out of my system”. Let me tell you, it did not work. Not only did traveling not leave my system, the need to travel just got worse. People call it catching the “travel bug”, and that is really the best way to describe it. When you catch the travel bug, I don’t see why you need to treat it, just go and let it infest you. I do love to learn, but I’ve realized there are other ways of gaining knowledge on what actually interests me other than school. I learned a lot in the past two years, mostly that how you think determines how you feel and how you see the world. If I looked at things a particular way, a career change wouldn’t help make me happier. It is your mentality to your situations you face that render you either happy or unhappy. I am happy now with my career; in fact very grateful I did not go down the path I thought I wanted to take. Furthermore, I now realize I am lucky to have a career with so much flexibility that I can do what I truly love, to travel.

Much love,

Cong

6 Comments

  • PaigeBrown says:

    Great post. I think everyone is different, but I truly think people should just go with their guts. I wish I had traveled before going to college, but instead I was unsure of what I wanted and it took me longer to graduate. But I made traveling a priority in college and even more after. In response to the person who said you don’t want to grow up – which I think is a bit rude because not everyone has to live a conventional lifestyle – there’s a great quote in Travels With Charley: “When I was very young and the urge to be someplace was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. Im middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked… In other words, I don’t improve, in further words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable.”
    I think that says it all. If you want to go, that feeling isn’t going to go away!

  • I gotta say the person who responded to your question about wanting to continue traveling or not sounds pretty immature. “A problem of not wanting to grow up” ? Really? You couldn’t have been more mature for posing this question. Travel is the best way to become mature, grow yourself, expand your world and become more understanding of others values. You keep doing what you do and keep wanderlusting. Nothing is more mature and you’re years beyond anyone who tells you otherwise.

  • So you just liked my picture on instagram so I went to your profile and found your blog. I know. I’m a stalker. But I’m so glad I did because I love this! I was going to university but became so miserable and depressed that I dropped out and started working so that I can start traveling the world next year. Everyone has said I’m crazy or lazy or being stupid. …etc. but I just need to do what makes me happy. I feel like people without wanderlust don’t understand the concept of wanderlust.

  • Eliza says:

    How do you fund your travels? I’m a HS senior and all I want to do is travel. It doesn’t even need to be the whole world (for now). I’d be happy just exploring all the natural wonders North America had to offer. I dream of being a photographer for national geographic but if I could find backip plans for funding my adventures that would be awesome

  • Howdy Cong!

    How could travel not be an education and rocket to self-growth?

    I entered into a financial career at twenty and regret it in that the shade traumatized me, I did it out of insecurity and I missed out on both the college and travel lives most people go through at that age. What I regret most of all is that I let it take me away from my dream of writing while traveling the world.
    What I don’t regret is using the money I made to take care of my brother and other friends in the Marines as well as my friends in school.

    Loved working in Matchmaking in San Francisco and San Diego for three years after that. Still regretted not going after the dream of writing and traveling the world. Day by day, I felt more empty and incomplete.

    After that, did random jobs while finishing my degree. Super regret going $50k in debt for an “education” in which I didn’t learn anything. By that time, I couldn’t respect myself or find happiness for having let myself be taken away what was more important to me because of what society should do.

    At 37 years old, I fully committed to making the life change to become a fulltime writer traveling the world. Something which the mainstream world and most of the people in my life disapproved of (at first).
    I also became a burner (Burning Man). My blog has a ways to go before fully supporting me but I have never been more happy, proud and content.

    Just a lil added perspective. 🤗🤗

  • Khadia says:

    Hearing this gave me more knowledge to understanding and not putting so much thought into what takes to become a traveling blogger. For many years I couldn’t understand the people who traveled n posted there experience how did they do it without so much money? Did they get a job that paid them to travel ? Or did they just stay in college for the whole 4 years n land a good pay job that allowed them to travel? I ask myself how can I do the same travel with 3 kids 19hr paying job plus have enough money to support our love of traveling n expenses what and how do i do it ? Question for today ?

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