Why does everyone think you have to be young, straight out of high school to travel? Travelling seems to be something that’s frowned upon when you’re over a certain age. My 27th birthday is coming up and it is paired with arriving in a new country to backpack for another year. I’ll be looking for that typical backpacker car so I can cruise around New Zealand, sleeping in hostels or just at the side of the road. Yes, I’ll be joining all those 18 and 19 year-olds.
Sometimes I can’t help but feel a strange sort of guilt because I haven’t settled yet. The image of a normal 27 year-old seems to be that you have to settle down. I studied, so I should have found an amazing job by now. I should be living in my own house or apartment, perhaps even with a partner. I should start thinking about getting a family and fit right in with the rest of suburbia.
In this current economy finding that amazing job isn’t that easy, not that I’ve actually tried hard. Travelling is a good alternative and I think it comes with valuable experience that will not only help you in that fabulous job that’ll come one day, but also in relationships and life in general. People forget that I too have to provide for myself. I haven’t found that money tree yet. I’m budgeting all the time, so I can do as much of my wish list as possible.
Travelling in my mid-twenties was the perfect decision for me. I always thought I would go straight after high school, but I know it would have been a disaster back then. I was struggling with myself and wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much as I do now. Over the years I’ve learned to love myself and found out what is important to me. My travelling might not include as many drinking sessions as the standard backpacker’s, but it about living in a different culture, soaking in the beauty of people and landscapes and finding my own limits in several ways.
Travel has become a part of my life and I know it will always have to be. Everybody wants to find what makes them happy and right now, this is it for me. So why do I feel guilty for doing this? Why is leading a different life from the majority such a big deal? I haven’t felt much happiness during my teens, so I’m enjoying it now. I feel blessed that I can do what I do. I admire people who’ve successfully made travel part of their life and I hope I can find ways to do that as well. Everyone can travel long-term.