“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
WHY YOU SHOULD START TRAVELING WHILE YOU'RE YOUNG
“But what about school?”
“But what about my job?”
“But what about my pets?”
“But what about debt?”
“I just can’t afford it.. I am broke.”
The countless things I hear when people ask about traveling.
I get it. You are broke. We are all broke. I mean let’s face it, most of us aren’t rich. That doesn’t matter. You just have to make it work. My answer is – just GO.
If you want to travel – don’t think – just DO.
My affinity to explore the vast world and curiosity about the magic lurking out there took over my brain and became more important that anything else and that only continues to grow once you leave your comfort zone and start traveling. So I saved money, asked for time off, moved out of my apartment, took my pets to my moms and I just left.
Everything changes. My mind suddenly shifted from “Oh I don’t have the money to travel the world” to “OH! Back home I have way too many luxuries and a lot of things I can do without or sell in order to continue traveling the world.” You see I’m not saying you can be broke – you have to have some money BUT you can live for very little — especially while you are young.
I have read countless articles on this very same topic, on starting to travel when you are young. Many people talk about a number a reasons but there are a few which I have found to be true.
1. We are young. Being young is a time when you can be reckless. We are most free from obligations and responsibilities at this very moment. It is a time when we can catch a plane to Thailand and a few days later meet someone in a coffee shop and decide to catch a train that evening to Chiang Mai. Being young gives you more of an ability to go and do as you please. You can rummage from country to country. Meeting and staying with people you meet without having to worry about upsetting others.. Without having to think about who will watch the kids and how you will feed your family. Now this isn’t saying you should go out and travel like a complete moron, you must maintain your common sense. All I am saying is that while we are young we have this small window of opportunity where we can look at something that others might not approve of for their own reasons, and do it anyway. We can, in some ways just be selfish. For these moments – everything can be about you. That all changes as we get older. You get serious jobs, pets, get married, and have kids. Then everything in life shifts to being for someone else. Youth is the golden hour which was built for you to find and understand yourself. Experience life. Grow mentally.
2. Our bodies are in (hopefully) good condition. This isn’t saying you or I won’t be fit in the years to come, but right now we are in our prime. We can go out rummaging the streets of Vietnam with friends until the wee hours of the morning and wakeup at 5 am to climb a mountain the next morning... with minimal pain. We can hike up the millions of stairs to reach a beautiful temple as the sun is setting or hike down the millions of stairs to see the world’s largest caves and be cooled off from the heat of the day. What I am saying is — your body is happy right now. We don’t have hip, back, joint, and anxiety problems (yet) and this allows you to be a little more adventurous during your time traveling.
3. When you’re young you don’t really care about things that are nice. I mean you could care less if you sleep on the floor of a hostel if it means you will have lunch and a beer on the beach later. When we are young, all we care about is the experience. The older we get, the more comforts we create for ourselves in our mind. We switch gears in our head one day and suddenly have to travel and stay in nice hotels and or eat nice full meals. While you are young you really couldn’t care less about either of those things (or at least I couldn’t). We don’t care if our agenda changes, we don’t care if there are rats and bugs crawling around the hostel, we don’t care if its a million degrees out while we are bike riding. We just don’t care. We are free. When you are young you are the most free you will ever be.
4. You learn about compassion.
You will see things that will make you cry.
You will feel things which will break your heart.
You will learn that this world is huge and also very small.
You will see poverty and things bigger than anything you have imagined before. It will force you to care about issues you never dreamt of before. You will find love and compassion for others cultures and in turn love and compassion for other people in ways you wouldn’t believe possible. You will feel connected.
You learn to relate. You can relate more to others or relate other things to places. You can say.. “Ah the flowers in Big Bend remind me of the sunsets in Thailand. You brain becomes this giant canvas of beautiful things and people you have seen and connected with. It’s surreal.
You see, when you travel, you grow. You grow mentally in many different ways. You learn about other people’s culture’s and emotions. You learn the history of ancient cultures. Your mind expands. Your heart expands. You gain all these memories and all of this knowledge from other people which you can one day pass on to your children or the people you love. It gives you this wild taste of the world that no other thing in life can give you. People can tell you how something is all day and you can look at pictures of places all afternoon, but there is nothing like the infinite feeling of oneness when you go and experience the world for yourself.
Now in the beginning I stated that we should START traveling while young. This is because by no means do I think that you should only travel while you are young or that it is too late for anyone to start traveling. Traveling at any age holds its beauty and rewards. I met countless older people while traveling and most of them said they visited here or there 20 years ago and came back to see how it had changed and how it hadn’t changed. Just traveling when you get older is (like I said) slightly different. It’s a little more laid back and easy going. That goes to show you though that it holds equally as much importance and beauty as traveling while you are young.
BUT my advice is – if you are young (or any age) – JUST GO!
See the world.
Have your heart broken.
Fall in love everyday.
Be free. Just be free and venture out.
You will never regret traveling.
It is the one thing you’ll never regret spending too much money or time on.
Traveling will change your life in all the most beautiful ways possible.
So travel on…
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll
Sarah Eiseman is a 24 year-old, daydream believer. She spends her days doing physical therapy with the elderly and her free time trying to break the separation gaps between raw emotions and art. Sarah writes music, travels and shoots photos in order to express feelings and try to show the beautiful light and dark in the world... in a way that others can relate to. To show that we are all more alike and connected than we think. Feeling feelings together.