Traveling After College

The excitement that comes from graduating college is short lived. You have no idea what’s next or you committed to a job offer where you’ll slave away the next 40 years of your life for 401K and health benefits. When you realize your college days are behind you the anxiety quickly kicks in. You can spend the summer polishing your resume and cover letters to score mediocre interviews for a job you’ll probably hate. Or you can do the extraordinary. You could hop on a plane and have the adventure of a lifetime.

Not everyone knows what they want to do in their early 20s. Getting lost is the only way to find yourself.

Let’s say the opposite is true. You landed a great gig and can’t wait to start. That’s awesome! But once you start working full time you’ll notice how much little time you have to do things you enjoy like travel. The older you get, the more things that keep you from embracing your wanderlust like kids and a mortgage.

The time is now. Spend a week in France or a year following summer around the hemisphere, road trip across the US with your best friend. Backpack South America until your feet fall off. Wandxrlust is always a worthy cause.

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When you travel everything is new and exciting. Everything is a variable except for you. You learn a lot about people but mostly about yourself. What is foreign becomes familiar.

The idea sounds great but you can think of a few reasons holding you back. Maybe it’s money, no one to travel with or your parents telling you it’s a bad idea. Whatever you’re telling yourself it’s bullshit.

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The world is beautiful. It’s magical. There are endless stories waiting to be told. You are the star. Take a chance and do something incredible. Great things happen outside of your comfort zone. There’s always a way to make it happen. Who says we’re born to work our entire lives, sit in traffic longer than we sit with our families, buy momentary happiness in clothes, food or cars? Is that the real meaning of life? The adrenaline and joy I get from adventuring tells me differently.

Life is a magnificent journey. To know that you have to take risks. You have to be bold. Do the things you’re afraid of most.

“I can’t afford it because of student loans.” Payments begin 6 months after you graduate. That’s barely enough time to find a job. Federal loans can be deferred on a yearly basis if you’re unemployed (or make less than $25,000/year). Break away from the trap. I owed over $50K when I graduated but that didn’t stop me. While my friends were writing their checks I was road tripping through Africa feeding baby monkeys.
I can never afford a flight.” Apply for a travel credit card that gives you airline miles. Use it for your daily expenses and pay it off each month. The miles add up and can take you anywhere in the world. We use Chase Sapphire and Citi Rewards.
“There’s plenty of expenses once I’m there, like hotels, food, transportation.” Work while you travel if you must. Consider teaching English or work at a hostel. Find a job that lets you work remote like web design or data entry. Workaway.info is a great way to find volunteer opportunities that provide housing and food in exchange for work. Jobs are available around the world and range from fancy resorts in Hawaii to surf shacks in Australia.

Traveling expands your horizon. It shows you that life is bigger than your hometown. The world is limitless just like the opportunities you can find. You will without a doubt know what it feels like to be alive. And most importantly you’ll have some fun before saying goodbye to your college days.