Readers' Submissions

Response To Is It Good To Travel Young

  • Written by Anonymous
  • August 11th, 2011
  • 6 min read



From one graduate traveller to another,

Sorry to hear of your failed job offer but chin up, you're only 23 and a lot more job offers will come your way. As long as you've settled into a career by around the time you hit your 30's, much of what happens in your early to mid 20's doesn't really matter. Think about it, a lot of our generation will be working into their 70's before being eligible to retire. The way my country's policies are headed the government will be forcing our generation to work until we drop. So say you have earned enough through your lifetime to retire early, do you really want to wait until then to enjoy your life? How much more fun can you have travelling the world when you're young and in your prime as opposed to when you're just another old fart. Ok, Thailand (and some other parts of Asia) maybe is the exception as the old fellas here seem to have a great time, but where else in the world does this apply? And I tend to think all the pretty young Bangkok girls have a lot more fun with guys who are closer to their age.

I'm very thankful to have discovered the joy of travelling when I did! Had I been one of my idiot friends who got married, had kids and a mortgage, all by the time I was 25, I don't know how I would live my life happily with so many regrets. I guess a lot of them will never know what they have missed out on, and in that case as the old saying goes, 'It's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.'

So would it have really been wise to wait until you're older to start travelling? Let's imagine you're 50 years old, you never travelled whilst you were young, and your discovering life outside of your shitty little country (no offence) for the first time. This story might sound familiar to some – older guy heads overseas to Thailand (of all places!) for the first time and finds himself 'falling in love', possibly leaves his wife and kids if they didn't leave him, sells up all of his possessions and in 5 years time he ends up with nothing to his name except the tail between his legs. Had this guy lived and travelled extensively in his 20s he might not have lost his head on the first Thai bird that made him feel young again. He might have made a better selection when it came to choosing a life-long partner. 30 years working for a bank or a law firm amounted to nothing for him.

I do feel compassion for some of the blokes who have submitted a similar story. I'm only 27 and in the last 5 years I've travelled halfway around the world twice. I'd romanced my fair share of beautiful women before coming to Bangkok for the first time at the start of this year. And even still I was tempted into developing feelings by some of the more lovely bargirls. Well at least until the next day when I sobered up! Of course had I been 20 years older and none the less wiser then maybe it could have been me heading down the road to ruin…

Anyway, back to my point which is to live your life NOW as much as possible before you settle down into a career for the next 30 years or so. Even though you have travelled yourself, you obviously don't sound satisfied and even go as far to describe yourself as burnt out! Well, I know the feeling. At the start of this year I was thinking the same thing. I've had a good run, lived overseas for 2 years and maybe I need to settle down into my career…but for what? To work a job I don't even like for 11 months a year? Deep down I know there is so much I would be missing out on. So what did I do? I quit my boring desk job. Being in the position where I still have choices I chose to opt for the scenic tour of life. With no regrets. Another ski season in North America and 3 months surfing and travelling South-East Asia awaits! Then I plan to start applying for jobs where I can still do lots of travelling such as working for an airport or at a travel company etc.

Some readers maybe do not have these choices available to them anymore. Others have followed their dreams when they had the chance and have reaped the benefits. Look around at some of the unhappy people you know. What do they have in common? They don't do the things they love! They feel trapped in their own life. So make your decision and don't look back. And if you make the right decision then you never will.

Life

Who knows what your life will bring? There is no guarantee for anyone that you will even be alive this time next year. So don't take it for granted. By the time you retire you might have terminal cancer… Sure, your job might bring you lots of nice pleasures – a big house, 3 cars, a glamour wife with a nice set of fakies but it's a double edged sword. Lose your job in 20 years time and BOOM! It could all be taken away! I recommend watching the movie "Company Men" to give you a bit of insight into your possible future.

I've always felt it silly putting all your eggs in one basket and following the one career path throughout your life. It might have worked before but times are changing. You might very well end up unemployable when you are older as opposed to someone who has experience in a wider range of careers. Who's to say that things won't be completely different in 20 or 30 years time… They probably will.

If you had applied for the job a year ago, you may very well be unemployed now and feeling even worse than what you do. Congratulations. You just learnt a lesson. In your profession you will always work for the system. It does not work for you!

Personally I couldn't think of anything worse than wasting a great deal of your only life being nothing more than a cog in some pointless job. My argument is definitely one-sided and sure one day planning ahead for the future will be necessary. But you are 23. If I was in your position I would quit my job for the time being and try to find something that makes you feel content with your life. If after a couple of years things don't work out then you sound smart enough to be able to talk yourself back into almost any job. What's there to lose? Except possibly the best years of your life. Obviously, we are two different people. This is just my two cents.

My advice is simple. Follow your heart (* except when it comes to girls, in that case follow your brain cause your hearts a fucking idiot).


Stickman's thoughts:

A lot of very good advice. Enjoy your life while you're young, while you can, but always be mindful of the future.