With graduation looming, I have been at war with myself on exactly what my next step should be. Should I continue on my path for job success by seeking out other internship opportunities? Or should I take this new found free time to travel? It has been the time old battle between head and heart, and how I can best achieve success after graduation. The idea of being a successful college graduate usually culminates in our ability to get a job. And my ability to land a job is increased ten fold with ample internships under my belt. Yet, after much contemplation (and saving) I have decided I want to pursue travel. Call me crazy,but I chose travel and here’s my reasoning.
You’re Only Young Once
Sorry for the cliche, but hey, it’s a cliche for a reason! The older we get, the more responsibilities we start to add to our adulting pile. The bigger the list gets, the more we will try to talk ourselves out of seeking adventure. Travel would not be a high priority if I have children to feed or a mortgage to pay. But the truth is I don’t have either of those things! That is why going now is so important. I don’t want to convince myself that I’ll have the time later, or more money to make it possible. I have the time now, and enough money for a nice bed each night (ok nice may be pushing it a little, but I will have a bed!). That is one reason I chose travel.
I Want to Put Myself First
There are those who would argue that getting a valuable internship that leads to a great job is the ultimate way to put yourself first. But when I sit and think of what I truly want, down in my very core, getting a great job isn’t on the top of my list. My heart and mind go to experiencing different things, meeting new people, and having adventures that will last me a lifetime. I want to be true to what I really want, and right now, that isn’t furthering my career, it’s seeing the world. Putting yourself first is so important, and I plan to do just that once I graduate.
Success Isn’t Black and White
Who’s to say that by going out and seeing the world, I am giving up my success. Success isn’t a clearly laid out path, and can look different from person to person. A luxurious car, penthouse apartment, and six figure salary may be the ultimate definition of success for some people, yet may be no more than material items to others. By going out and traveling, I am seeking out my own success, one that doesn’t revolve around a salary, or my job title. That is what is important to me. And if you disagree, well, hey that’s kind of my point, success is subjective.
Internships Will Always Be Available
Yes, I know, the bulk of internships tend to revolve around current students or recent graduates. I am writing to you now as an intern for one such internship. But, does that mean that my internship offers will effectively cease to exist if I don’t capture them within the six months after I graduate? If I chose to look for internships after my travel plans are complete, will there still be some readily available? From my own personal research, I can tell you that there are some. They may require some extra digging, but that is something that I am willing to do if I chose to apply for internships after traveling. And some companies will be able to appreciate my travel experience, an added bonus! I chose to travel, and some companies may actually value that.
Our Perspective Shifts With Age
I can set out on the exact same destination ten years apart, visit the same cities, eat the same foods, and I will have a wildly different experience. Why? Perspective. Our perspective is constantly evolving and adapting as we age and mature. So experiencing as much as I can when I am young is so important to me, because well, I can never go back to that age again. I am so looking forward to staying in hostels, meeting equally eager travelers, and living out of a backpack, and if and when I am able to travel again, I can look back on the youthful experiences I got to share in while I was young.
Experience is So Valuable
The experiences that I will gain through travel will be incomparable to anything I have ever done before. I will get to experience my first dreadfully long international flight, go see every major tourist hot spot available, and sleep in a bunk bed for the first time since I was 5. I will get to try, and probably fail, and communicating with the locals in their native tongue, and share a bottle of wine with my best friend in France and eat pasta in Italy. We’ll be those ugly Americans taking photos in front of Jim Morison’s grave. Those are thing I would not be able to accomplish from an Internship desk.
Getting Out of My Comfort Zone
If I am being totally honest, the thought of traveling abroad actually terrifies me. I have movies like Hostel and Taken to thank for that! Way to go Hollywood. But after some extensive research, and a little common sense, I logically know that traveling is mostly safe when done correctly. And if I am also being honest I’m afraid to be away from my friends, family, and pets for so long. I am also unreasonably terrified to be stuck on an airplane for 15 hours! But I also know that getting out of my comfort zone will be good for me and allow me to see things that I otherwise never would have.
Seeing How Other People Live
It is a pretty sad fact that most of my knowledge of other countries comes from movies, fictional stories, and now Social Media. Are all of those vivid stereotypes about foreigners actually true? How should I know, I have no first hand experience! But when I chose travel, I handed myself a first class, um, coach ticket, to see how other people live for myself. I will get to experience it, ask questions from locals, and see everything with my own eyes. This is one part of the experience that I am most looking forward to!
Once I decided that I in fact chose traveling over seeking another internship, my heart skipped a beat. Gaining invaluable experiences, living out of a backpack, speaking to people from other countries and cultures, and sticking to a very detailed budget while abroad are all things that are going to help me to grow and learn about myself in ways I never would have thought possible. Self growth is inevitable for everyone, but this experience will no doubt shove mine right in my face.
Is there any better reason than the fact that I get to, well, travel! Traveling in itself is something that so many people dream of and aspire to! And for good reason. Expanding your horizons, experiencing places that you have only heard of, and making memories for a lifetime are all things that traveling gives a person. So what better reason is there? I can’t think of a single one.