No Excuses: A Guide to Traveling While You’re Young
If you are a 20-something living in America, chances are you’ve been lectured about the benefits of traveling.
As we’ve been told again, and again, and again, and again, traveling when you are young is one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences a person can have. And for a person in their 20s, there is no conceivable reason that you can’t take off for a trek around the world, besides the fact that you must be scared, lazy, or haven’t yet been enlightened to the ways of the world traveler.
In fact, there are so many naysayers who spout off reasons as to why they’re unable to drop everything and globe-trot, that we think it’s time to debunk some of these popular excuses.
You have monthly student loan payments. Just defer those suckers! You’ve already hit the maximum amount of deferments and now must pay them in full every month? Well your parents are likely the cosigners, so you may as well run off and leave them with all that hassle. They’ll understand–you need to see the world!
Paying monthly rent? Ugh. That pesky bill each month that keeps a roof over your head. Well, if you really wanted to travel you’d just get rid of your apartment, burn all of your possessions and live off the land. Once you finish your stint teaching Ethiopian students how to basket-weave you’ll have return to the U.S. and move back into your parents’ house, which will be slightly embarrassing. But the knowledge gleaned from your travels will overshadow the fact that you’re 28 and sleeping in the same twin bed that you first learned to masturbate in.
You don’t need a job. I already told you that you’d be spending the year teaching Ethiopian children basket weaving, making the equivalent of four dollars a week. If you are concerned with finding work after you return to the “real world” aka Boringsville, USA, just think about it: you’ve already pushed all your student loan burden onto your parents, and you gave up your apartment so you no longer pay rent. Thus, all you’ll need money for is coins to pay for your hours spent at the internet cafe while you plan your next international stint, in a desperate attempt to escape the realities of life in the real world.
The healthcare is free! Most of the countries you’re traveling to will likely have a better health care system than in the United States, which you won’t have to pay for. Then, when you get home, you can just join mom and dad’s health insurance–assuming you’re 26 or under. For folks older than 26… well, we told you to travel when you’re young. Shouldn’t you be settled down with a family by now? Your eggs are drying up and your grandma is starting to get pissed.
You can bring your boyfriend or girlfriend along. If your significant other isn’t willing to quit their job and change their entire life to accompany you on your quest to find yourself, they’re obviously not a very good boyfriend or girlfriend to begin with. I mean, how long is a year, really? It’s basically like, a few short months of winter, then spring, then summer which flies by, then the holidays, and then you’re back! I mean, you’ll probably leave again once you get home and realize that you’re soooo boreddd with ordinary life, but with FaceTime nowadays it’s like distance doesn’t even exist.
But what about all of my friends? Sure, you’ll miss your friends at first, but after a while you’ll make a bunch of new, tanner, more exciting friends and you’ll forget about all those silly drabs back in your old life. Of course, you’re going to want to maintain some type of relationship with them so that you’ll have a couch to sleep on once you get home, but upon your return it will be evidently clear that they are but inexperienced cogs in this wheel of life, while you are a well-traveled sophisticate who knows how to bathe elephants and bargain in Mandarin. They just don’t get it anymore…
This all might seem like a lot of work, but just remember: it’s worth it to be able to travel while you’re young. Because everybody knows there is nothing worse than traveling when you’re old. Even just like, 10 years older. You’re in your prime now, baby. In a few years you’ll be married, one of you working in the corporate world while the other begrudgingly stays at home to look after the kids that you kinda sorta didn’t want but felt like it was the right thing to do at the time, and will have no free time to travel. Then once the kids are out of the house, you’ll both be old, one of you will probably have some osteoarthritic disease, and you’ll have to spend all of your pension on medical bills. As your spouse’s health deteriorates you’ll begin to to grow spiteful of them, and will start cheating on them with a young coworker who claims they love you and want to run off with you. Right as your gather up the strength to tell your spouse you’re leaving them to go see the world, the coworker will tell you that they’re sorry but they must go to Uganda to teach sign language to a pack of antelope for the year–they can’t pass up such an opportunity to travel in their 20s. And you’ll think to yourself, “damn, I should’ve done that.”