When I announced that I would be putting off school for a semester to backpack Europe for two months, everyone thought I was insane. I was faced with questions like “How are you going to afford that?” and “What are you going to do about school?” Although I didn’t have the answer to either of those questions, I booked the flight and went anyway. And you know what? That was the best decision I’ve ever made. Since then, I have been traveling the world and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. As the saying goes…
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
I’m not saying you should drop out of school and quit life altogether to sunbathe in Cabo. God, I can see the angry mobs of mothers sharpening their pitchforks now… The reason I put off school for a semester was due to the fact that my two best friends were planning a trip and I didn’t think I would ever get the same opportunity. Everyone goes about it differently but with that being said, here are some reasons you should travel the world in your twenties:
For years I sat in a classroom, dozing off and taking half-hearted notes about subjects I couldn’t care less about. Although I read the material and memorized my notecards, the lessons never stuck. Once I got to Europe however, I was amazed by the history that came to life before my eyes. Suddenly, I wanted to know more about Parisian culture and why the city of Venice is surrounded by canals. There is a huge difference between studying and experiencing. Until you walk the same roads that the ancient Greeks built with their bare hands, you won’t give a flying f*ck about it.
Life slips away from us. With time comes marriage, pets, children, and mortgages which is why you should travel the world in your twenties while you have less responsibilities to worry about. Sure, you have student loans and credit card bills to pay but none of that compares to the expense of getting knocked up. You never know what life is going to hand you so you might as well pack up and hit the road while you still can!
I used to think that everything I did or said mattered. That if I made one wrong move, the earth stop rotating around the sun and my life would be over (I was a dramatic youth). Once I started traveling, this concept became laughable to me. The world is HUGE and no matter who you are, you are just a tiny speck on the surface of another tiny speck hurling itself around the universe. There are almost 8 billion people on this planet and when that starts to sink in, it’s unbelievably humbling.
While traveling abroad, I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I know that if I need to hop on over to Canada or Brazil, I have international buddies that will take care of me. By staying in backpacker hostels, I have met so many other travelers in their twenties. I even ran into someone from my hometown in Alabama while I was at the Ice Club in Rome! Making connections all over the world gives me hope for the future of our planet.
Since beginning my spiritual journey, traveling is even more fun! I appreciate the different landscapes because I know that God gifted us all of these wonderful countries to enjoy and explore. His creativity inspires me every day when I’m in the middle of foreign country, experiencing the sights, smells, and sounds for the very first time. The world is such a beautiful place and it’s amazing to think that God made it all for you and me. As John and Stasi Eldredge put it in the book Captivating, “Nature is not primarily functional. It is primarily beautiful.”
Encourages positive thinking
Before jet-setting off to Europe, I was in the middle of a serious quarter-life crisis. I didn’t want to move home after college but that seemed like the only option. I was stuck in a small, inward-facing mindset when there was a giant, exciting world out there full of possibilities. When I got home from my Eurotrip, I felt like I could do anything. Suddenly, I felt too big for my tiny state of Alabama which led me to California after graduation. When I think about it now, I am in awe of the many options I have as a human being. It can be a little overwhelming sometimes but it’s much more fun than thinking I can either choose road A or road B. Now I understand that you are in charge of paving your own road.
Cuba was an eye-opening experience. I wasn’t expecting such poverty but when we pulled up to our Airbnb in the middle of Havana, it was like an earthquake had crumbled half of the houses. I was shocked to learn that the average citizen in Havana earned a salary of about $20 a month. Back at home, was so grateful for a democratic government and a beautiful house on the beach.
Opens the mind
I used to judge people for anything and everything. Growing up in a small town in Alabama, I just didn’t know any better. Meeting people from around the world opened my eyes to a new way of living. Everyone was raised differently so you can’t judge a book by its cover. I have friends from all walks of life that I probably wouldn’t have even spoken to had my mindset not shifted.
I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. Traveling the world in your twenties will make you a better person in ways you could never imagine. My view of life is so much more energetic, positive, exciting, and fulfilling because of international exploration. If you find yourself thinking “I don’t have the money” or “My boss wouldn’t let me take off work,” I’m going to go ahead and tell you that those are not excuses. If you want something bad enough, you’ll bust your ass for it.