How is it possible
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Oct 29, 2012 6:09 PM Last Post By: bjcoops
Oct 7, 2012 4:23 PM
How is it possibleI'm new to this whole forum thing, but I've taken some time to look through older posts and I keep finding that I'm asking myself the same question over and over again, how is it possible? I have traveled to Colombia and Venezuela (to visit family) ever since I was a child, to London (for a youth advisory congress when i was 16), and most recently to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador (to volunteer and just hang out). I realized that travelling and immersing myself in other people's cultures is something that i absolutely love to do and i wish i could do it more often and for longer periods of time but I feel like I just can't. I don't get money from my parents, we're not filthy rich, I work part-time and go to college full-time and I feel so stuck on this path that I'm really not sure is right for me. And then I go on here and read all these awesome itinerary posts and stories about where people have traveled to and I am overcome with frustration and, quite honestly, jealousy! I slave away at school working towards a bachelor's degree in Psychology which I probably won't be able to do much with..unless I go to grad school and get a MA or PhD...and after that, then what? Will i join the rat race and work my whole life to see how many cool new things i can buy for a ridiculously expensive one bedroom apartment in NY? I want to gain new experiences and learn new things about different people/cultures. I guess I'm just wondering, how do you all do it?!?
I don't know if i can wait 5 or 6 years to start a new adventure..I'm 21 and I feel like my life is flashing me by...What kind of work is it that some of you guys do that allows you to save up all this money and just pick up and go? do you not worry about what you will do once you run out of money, where you will live? or do you have some sort of universal skills that allow you to find work regardless of what part of the world you are in? I was wondering if it might be worth it for me to invest in a TESOL/TEFL certification course that way i could find work in a variety of places..more work than a degree in psychology would allow for.
Oct 7, 2012 6:17 PM
I can understand your frustration and feelings of entrapment in your current life course. Based on my own experience, I would suggest that your time at college will be when you have the least money which can rule out travel (as it did for me). Once you start working however, you can choose whether you want to buy that overpriced apartment in NY or go traveling or do something else altogether. Travel is like anything else, if you want to do it you need to plan and save. How many people choose to spend $30 000 on a new car when a $5000 car would do the same job and allow them to go traveling?
My advice would be don't get disheartened. The world will still be there in a few years from now when you'll be working full time and will be able to save up and travel if that is still what you want to do.
Oct 7, 2012 7:41 PM
I appreciate the input. It's nice to hear from other people who have dealt with feelings similar to my own. I guess my main issue is just fear..I'm scared that if I'm not able to explore, that I'll lose myself and lose sight of what it is that I really want to do because I'll be too consumed in some monotonous routine of the daily grind and making money or whatever, if that makes any sense. I like having this sense of urgency when it comes to travelling but I'm afraid that if I'm unable to act on it (it being my urge to travel asap), that it'll go away. Maybe I should see a therapist :/ .... but I'd rather use that money to go see the world, haha.
Oct 7, 2012 9:29 PM
3I have phases like this where I just feel the need to do something but it passes. Stay the course and finish your education, you'll likely regret it if you don't. You may NEVER use it, but there's so many less jobs out there if you don't have a degree (I know this as someone who has a diploma).
I'm always amazed at a couple friends of mine who'll travel like 6 months non-stop. I've picked their brains, these are unskilled people who don't work amazing jobs. Quite the contrary. They basically work full time at whatever job they can tolerate save save save rarely buying stuff and while they go out, they certainly don't do it much or extravagant. When they book their trips, they never ask for time off, or vacations, they just quit, usually on good terms in case they want to work there again.
It's not something I can do. I'm a bit too pragmatic for that (which isn't a bad thing), I like the stability of having a job to come back to, so I save and take shorter less frequent trips. I hate that I can't be that way, but it's just not in me.
Everyone gets around this differently but don't worry, air planes aren't going anywhere (I hope, otherwise I'll be out of a job) neither are these destinations.
Oct 8, 2012 7:24 AM
4I agree with post #1.... I was once a very poor student and looked on as many friends went off to the US each summer on J1 visa's or off to spain for a few weeks while i worked away ever hour I could so that I could actually afford to go back to college each September. While it can be disheartening and you wonder how they do it and you can't finishing off your education and hopefully getting a decent paid job is probably the right thing to aim for now.....you are only 21 so you have plenty of time for travel.....I was 27 when I went on my years travel......fully self financed by saving my ass off for 2 years and making sacrifices ( not much of a social life, no car, no little holidays/weekends away) and trust me when the time comes and you are on the other side of the world drinking cheap beers watching a stunning sunset along an amazing beach all the sacrifices will be so worth it. My advice is to go when the time is right for you don't worry what other people are doing
Oct 8, 2012 8:02 AM
Oct 8, 2012 12:13 PM
6thanks for the replies everyone reading all of your advice makes me feel a lot better and less hopeless. i definitely plan on finishing my degree so i guess i'll just continue working until i save up enough for a fairly long trip..even if it does take me 4+years..being able to travel, for me, is way more important than having a $30,000 car or the latest iphone/tablet/gaming console/ whatever the hell else they manage to come up with in the next 10 years..i'm gonna fight my impulse to quit school and work full time instead because you guys are right..i would end up regretting it 100%. Who knows, maybe if i decide to move to another country one day that degree will come in handy as opposed to no degree.
@Drvannostren, you're absolutely right, planes aren't going anywhere and neither are the destinations, it'll all be worth it when i'm finally exploring knowing that i did it all on my own without having my parents hand it to me.
And @ger_power, i loved your input. it's exactly what i'm going through now and i can't wait til i'm on an awesome beach somewhere in SE Asia thinking about how great it feels to have all my hard work pay off! patience is definitely a virtue, hopefully one i possess because i'm gonna need a lot of it to make my dreams happen..but everyday it seems to become more and more like reality. i can't wait to see where i'll be in 5-7 years from now
Oct 8, 2012 2:36 PM
7Stick to your plan to finish your degree (and get good results). Even if it is not the defined career path you finally follow it proves you can think and you have application. In many places a degree (not necessarily in a relevant discipline) is now a pre requisite for granting a work visa. Tefl is currently all the rage. The list of countries that will grant a work visa to someone without a degree is getting shorter and shorter which limits options to the countries that are not always a first choice.
Oct 8, 2012 8:06 PM
8The travel bug bit me more than 30 years ago, while I was in college, so I know how you feel!
To answer your question about how people arrange their lives so they can do extended travel, there seem to be 4 models:
1. As #1 and #3 suggest, go about your career/job like most people, but resisting materialism and living simply so you can travel.
2. Choose a profession that lets you work internationally. Given that you are interested in/committed to psychology, how about a specialization within the field on something like refugee work? Here are some examples of programs in refugee studies: http://www.refugeeeducation.com/graduate/ (special bonus: some of these programs are outside of the US—more time abroad!). Here is a program in the US about international social work: http://socialwork.rutgers.edu/CentersandPrograms/CISW.aspx Yes, these are all mostly graduate programs, but I guarantee you that you will feel energized beyond what you can now imagine for your studies, if this is the right path for you.
3. Pursue a location independent career. There are lots of folks doing this, many of them travel bloggers, each with their own special focus (hint: read the “About” section to get their bios): http://www.legalnomads.com, http://magictravelblog.com/, http://www.wanderingearl.com/
4. Do something that, in fewer than say 10 or 15 years, allows you to retire. Sounds impossible? It’s not. If you have any entrepreneurial streak, or are willing to do a high octane version of #1 above, it can be done. There are plenty here on the TT who have.
And, for you, as a young person from the US, there is an additional option: the Peace Corps. You’d get international immersion, a chance to bridge from your major to practical skills, and either Peace Corps time counted as grad school credit, or the $$ for an almost free graduate education. This could be perfect for you.
Don’t be discouraged and definitely do not give up hope. You already have what most people in the world want: a special passion in life.
Edited by: Wanderinz1
Oct 9, 2012 9:50 AM
9I feel your pain, i'm currently studying full time at university. I find it so difficult to stay motivated at University while the whole world is waiting to be explored.
I saved before uni in order to travel, started a semester and realised it's almost impossible to study and save. After my first semester i've moved back to my parents, that $250 a fortnight i'd normally spend on rent is going mainly into my savings to travel. Sacrificed my social life for 10 months a year in order to have that 2 months of travelling :) In my opinion it was worth it.
If that isn't an option for you try deferring a semester, work for 3 months travel for 3 months then get back into the study. Sometimes it's needed to just break it up and experience something new.
Worst case scenario, keep your chin up. Once your finished with study the whole world will still be waiting for you :)
Oct 9, 2012 5:20 PM
10oh my god, these replies are awesome, so glad i decided to post this thread!
#8 checked out wandering earl AMAZING he broke it all down; a very simple yet spot-on answer to what i was wondering. and your 4 models were so helpful, i was actually heavily considering the peace corps after graduation, i think it might be a great temporary solution to my problem once i graduate and those graduate programs in refugee work also sound really interesting, either one of those combined with the 1st model seem like a perfect plan for me. thank you so so much!
#9 ah we're in the same boat but that's awesome that you've got a sturdy plan, i'm still in the process of figuring out what my plan is but all the input so far has really helped me & i know exactly what you mean with the motivation bit, every day is a struggle when i begin to think about all the forests, beaches, mountains, crammed city streets etc. that i have yet to explore bleh but you're right it'll all still be waiting. i guess ill set some money aside for a big trip and in between save smaller amounts for shorter 2-4 week long trips. hope you continue to have safe & amazing travels :) maybe one day i'll run into you on the road! maybe not, who knows ha
Oct 9, 2012 10:01 PM
11Awesome advice from everyone.
I always wanted to travel, it was like an itch I could not scratch. But I had not really met anyone that had done so, outside of a work related thing. So I continued my life, career, relationship, mortgage, blah blah.... It was only when a relationship went sour, that I realised, hey there is nothing holding me back. So I was 32 before I got on that plane and it changed everything in my life, I used to work in IT, now I make wine, I am a father and husband. And I never made it back "home"
My biggest regret was I did not do this earlier in my life.
Go get your degree, it's your passport! Otherwise the world is your oyster, as long as you keep that as your goal.
Oct 13, 2012 9:49 AM
12Glad I clicked on this thread, there's a lot of good advice here. I'm in an almost identical position, Scintillare21, so you're definitely not alone. It can be very frustrating when friends with trust funds decide college is "too stressful" and take off for a semester traveling through Peru or Thailand, ect. on their parents' dime. It's hard because people always advise me to just save but honestly, I have very few expenses I can do away with. I pay rent, insurance, college expenses, car repairs, food, doctor's appointments and more without financial help. By the time I get a paycheck, it's gone again. But we'll get there! It's just a matter of getting the college out of the way, I think, because that's such a big chunk of time and money.
I don't have a lot of advice, since I'm in such a similar situation, but best of luck! I'm sure you'll find your way onto a plane one way or another.
Oct 13, 2012 5:15 PM
13I've been in the same position, too, and it's a very uncomfortable one to be stuck in. However, nothing is entirely impossible if you want it badly enough.
Here are my best pieces of advice:
1) set a goal: pick a trip and set a savings goal, or look into something like Peace Corps as others have suggested.
2) avoid debt like the plague. I know school debt is hard to avoid (in the US anyway), but don't rack up credit card $$ and avoid buying a car if you can. Debt will tie you down. Cook food at home, set a low daily food/coffeeshop spending limit. Financial freedom makes it much easier to pursue your dreams.
3) keep visuals around you to remind you of your goals. I have a laminated wall map I use a dry-erase marker on to route my RTW trip. It's in my bedroom, so I can't avoid being reminded. I also have pictures from previous trips hanging up.
Oct 15, 2012 11:15 AM
14It seems quite clear that there is an increasing tendency for young people to 'want it now'. Some go with that and ignore 'what about later'.
It is entirely possible to live with parents, work at MickeyD's for 2 years and save enough to go backpacking the world for 6 months. But what happens when the 6 months are up? Do it again? OK, what happens when you get to a certain age and start thinking about how the rest of your life is going to pan out? I've never met a 65 year old backpacker without 2 nickels to rub together, who was happy with his/her future prospects.
My point is that we can't always have what we want NOW. Not without it costing us LATER. So finish your education and then start planning not how soon you can travel but how you plan to live your life. Travel is only part of that.
Wanderinz1 did a good job with his 4 scenarios. I chose number 4 as my route. I didn't go without any travel when I was working, I usually took 2-4 short (1-3 week) trips per year. Like most people I spent more than I earned on 'things' until age 35. At that point I decided that I didn't want to continue doing this till age 65 and then drop dead 2 years later. (Ask an actuary what the statistics are on that happening) So I came up with a 10 year plan to retire. I achieved my goal in 7 years. I have been free to travel or do whatever I want without having to work for a living for 23 years now.
I don't regret the years before I decided to come up with a retirement plan but I do think that if I had wanted to I could have started earlier. You're 21, how things look to you now is based on what you have to work with in terms of life experience. That will change with time obviously.
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