Why everyone should travel in their twenties
02 August 2015, 19:53
It’s one of the most soul enriching experiences. You meet new people, see new places, and often realise that no matter where you are in the world, you will find an incredible story.
I recently spent seven weeks abroad as part of a journalism internship programme.
In my motivational essay for the programme I distinctly remember saying, “Through this experience I’d like to learn more about my career, a different culture, different people and a different language.”
But this experience, has taught me so much more.
First things first, never in my life have I had to watch my budget like I have during this trip. Not because I never had sufficient funds, I did, but I had to think logically and strategically about what I wanted to do and how I would differentiate between needs and wants.
I for one, was the person that skipped the infamous branded European sales and opted for affordable flight/train/bus tickets. And I have no regrets.
I traveled alone for the first time. There’s something really liberating about traveling for you, and by yourself. I’ve learnt more about myself than I would’ve staying in my safe haven. I’ve enriched my soul more through traveling than any sale could have.
I guess this ties in with budgeting. But there are quite a lot of things to consider when planning a trip. You have to check flight, bus and train tickets, the best time of the year to explore your destination.
You have to check the best way to navigate yourself around the city. General cost of living in the city. To- do list, to-do list, to-do list - this will become your life guide while abroad.
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There is a certain kind of patience one needs to attempt to be fully integrated into a society where you barely understand the language. A certain kind of patience to be okay with always being an outsider.
And of course a certain kind of patience to listen to others really carefully and in turn articulate your words to avoid getting lost in translation.
During your travels you’ll meet different kinds of people. People who will challenge your world views, and alter them. People that will make you curious about things you’ve never questioned before, and others who will reaffirm your perspectives.
You’ll literally have life changing conversations. But you have to be okay with that, traveling opens your mind.
The realisation that there are more people in the world like you than their are not
In the same breathe I can say that even though you’ll be challenged, more often than not, you’ll realise how similar your culture may be to others.
You’ll realize that if you sit around the dinner table with a Mexican, a Greek, a Chinese , a Korean, an Italian and a Singaporean you’ll hardly ever run out of things to say. You’ll speak about everything from the Greek crises to Korean plastic surgery and even South African wine.
Home is people not a place
After a seven week internship abroad, my travels end on Sunday and as the end draws near I realise that what I am returning to is not a structure, but people who make me feel all warm and fuzzy when I am with them.
Friendship is a universal language
During the last two months I’ve met people from almost every continent. Across many different accents, sometimes misplaced adjectives and swapping of subject and predicate.
I’ve established fulfilling relationships, had meaningful conversations shared experiences and can honestly say I now have a friend from Malawi, Namibia, Germany, Mexico, Greece, Italy, Spain and the list goes on.
Your twenties are your selfish years
It is hundred percent okay to leave your home country and travel the world, for no one else but yourself. Get out of your comfort zone, experience things, live a little and add valuable pages to your book of life.
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