So while there are plenty of reasons not to travel, more of them exist as we age. As students entering college next fall, we hold the least amount of responsibility and the most amount of potential and drive. There are numerous reasons to travel other than the obvious intrinsic value. Think about it, by traveling young, you are creating a picture-perfect resume. Employers look for well-rounded employees; you will most likely have foreign language experience, you’ve been proven to show initiative, and probably have a knack for problem solving. You will have experience with managing money and budgeting. You will have become more independent, and fought your way through many difficult, out-of-your-element situations. You will be an employer’s dream come true.
Another reason to travel young is the availability of student discounts when booking hostels or on-site activities. Many business owners realize that it is harder for students to afford as much as the typical traveler, and they can usually cut you some slack. By booking as a “student” you are more likely to get some sort of discount, or even get something for free. And we all know free is best.
But aside from the opportunity to save some money and beef up your resume, traveling in general holds such a tremendous value. It, in fact, ups your potential of compassion tenfold. Don’t believe me? Try not to shed a tear at seeing children run barefoot in the streets of a third world country, smiling even with their tattered clothes and desolate futures. Try not to get a twist in your stomach after seeing the wall of skulls from the Cambodian genocide. Or try not to get frustrated while attempting to comprehend why these things are still happening. Not feeling compassion is absolutely not an option while traveling. Even if you are intending to stay in posh hotels or resorts, there is still poverty to be found. Traveling will most definitely show you the need for compassion in the world.
One of my favorite T.V. shows, MTV’s “The Buried Life,” is a documentary series about four young men who were unsatisfied with the direction their lives were headed. They made the bold choice to set out into the world with one mission, to complete their list of life goals, and help others accomplish their own along the way. While their T.V. show ended, these guys still continue to travel, chasing their dreams and helping countless people. Their story is the perfect example of why you need to just go with it sometimes, even if it is not what you had planned. The Buried Life is proof of the success and benefit of following your gut, and seeing the world.
Traveling young will raise eyebrows, it will provoke haters. It will cause concern and give doubt. But the reward far outweighs the cost. There are so many adventures to be had, masterpieces to be seen, and people to help. If travel is something that you wish to do in your future, my question is, what are you waiting for?