I've been following this thread for a while now and while I don't have much to chip in, I just want to say that travel is an important experience and I hope all works out for the best for the OP. I also found this book very interesting while in Korea last year. The author actually taught in Korea and funded his worldwide travel on a salary from a few years teaching over there. It's something to think about. But there are all kinds of ideas for volunteering and working overseas should the OP find himself in a position where he would like to permanently work abroad. Great read. Just sayin'.
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Of course. I think you are a good resource for someone who is truly interested in working overseas.
I definitely get why this is an exciting prospect. At 25 I would have jumped at a chance like this.
But I'm 32. My perspective is different now. I've observed a bit more of adult life (both my own and those of acquaintances) and understand that it's almost always better in the long term to increase your level of self-reliance and learn to delay gratification. Borrowing from friends to hit the snooze button on having to finally learn how to support yourself is counter to both those principles. It’s clearly the easy road, which is reason enough to be wary (honestly, I pictured someone holding a fork and staring at a piece of chocolate cake when I read the line “This is one of those things that I feel I need to do”).
I’m not trying to talk you out of it, it might well be a good idea. I’m sure it will be fun... But I think the underlying concern in your father’s note goes beyond your employment prospects. He probably has also seen that the longer someone goes before shouldering their own load in life the less likely they are to ever get around to it and the more they’ll be looking around for help from others when they do.
Hopefully something to think about.
And seriously... If you care about your relationship with this girl at all you need to sit down with her (and the check writers) and document the terms of this loan before you book anything. Money can kill even the strongest relationships if you're not careful.
The truth is, we know so little about life, we don't really know what the good news is and what the bad news is. - Kurt Vonnegut
I will agree with this for almost every matter, but not this one. Sure I can delay gratification, but by the time I have earned enough of my own money to finally travel extensively, the opportunity will be gone. Delay is not really an option if I am going to do this. Or at least it will probably be very difficult to put my career on hold for it down the line.
Originally Posted by Samwell
To anyone who is still interested, I have been getting very mixed feedback on this issue. Actually a lot of working folks have encouraged me travel now, even insisting that employers will look favorably on it since I have taken the time to develop myself and discover who I am. Some of these people have noted that in certain jobs in the corporate world, it may not be deemed so favorably, but that they didnt seem to think I personally would be wanting to work in these positions anyway.
I just got back from a two week trip to India (which was awesome). I only get 3 weeks vacation this year, and I used two of them for this trip. Every other tourist we met while over there said that they were on holiday for MONTHS. We spent two weeks touring just the southern half of the country, they would spend two weeks in each city we visited.
Kinda makes me jealous of the leisure time that workers from other countries get.
I love to travel and would absolutely do more of it if I had the time.
"Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard, take me back to the start"
I think this is definitely a cultural difference.
I also don't know how (average) people can easily afford this, unless you have resources in place already abroad, or limited responsibilities where you can just live on very little.
I can see lining up a job after graduation and taking ~3 months to travel before starting work. It's unlikely an employer will extend an employment offer for much further out than that and I think it's unwise to prioritize one's passions over survival.
Based on the OP and subsequent replies, I just don't see you (the OP) as someone who prioritizes financial security. Because of this, you may never find a good fit in a job. You will probably want more time off to travel or more compensation to be able to travel further.
In my mind, you should try to find a job at a big consulting company where traveling is part of your job. That satisfies the need for a job with the desire to travel. Alternatively, maybe you could marry this friend and live off her family's money. Depending on how much of the family wealth is legally/emotionally controlled by her that can be a tough road too.... Rich people have problems too...there is no shortage of proof that in the news.
Working is not the end of traveling. I have done a fair amount of traveling since college with my three to four weeks of vacation each year. I am not able to travel for months on end, but I don't worry about finding a job at the end of my vacation and how I am going to pay my bills either.
I have never thought about it this way but i suppose you are correct. My joy in life comes from experiences such as sharing a meal with friends. I dont know what I would do with excess money other than to travel or share more meals with friends.
Originally Posted by analogman
There is a chance that I might work in the adventure tourism/recreation industry so I can even see long-term travel being an asset. Companies like REI just might value my skills and experience with this sort of travel. I do know people who have hiked the pacific crest trail 3 times (thats 18 months of vagrancy) and am wondering how the heck they get away with it and can still get hired?
I understand the warnings everyone is giving me but cant shake the thought that I just might succeed doing this. What if I did travel for a full year and then managed to get a job anyway? Then I would be thinking to myself "boy I sure am glad that I didnt take my dad's advice and settle immediately into work, I would have missed this incredible opportunity!"
Another possible job just came to mind. Do you speak a foreign language fluently? If yes, you can become a tour guide. Despite the move to more self-serviced traveling, there are still a lot of group tours being sold. The hours are pretty rough, but you do get to travel on the company's dime and get paid for it.
Originally Posted by sam handwich
How successful you are at finding a job will depend on how much money you want to make, how much you want to enjoy your work, and what kind of hours you are willing to work.
The people at REI are generally knowledgeable about the gear the sell because they use them, but I don't know how much money they make. It may or may not be enough for your satisfaction.
This is my perspective so may not apply to you, but I don't see travel as now (20's and early 30's) or never. I don't expect to be sufficiently old and decrepit to not be able to travel for another three or four decades so there should be plenty of opportunities ahead. You should not go to all of the places that interest you right as you start your adulthood; what vacations will you look forward to the rest of your life then? Even the most wonderful places can get old. We really loved Hawaii when we went for our honeymoon, but after going yearly for a while, the shine is wearing off.
This is an interesting conversation.
Sam (OP), it seems to me like you're a person who values experiences more than money or whatever other traditional trappings of adulthood and that's a totally valid choice. I agree with you that it's easier to travel when you're young and don't have any obligations tying you down. When I was your age, I was friends with a couple in their early 30s who kept saying they were going to quit their careers for a year and travel around the world. Unfortunately, life continually got in the way, and they never did. Now they're divorced and she's tied to her career, while he's remarried with a newborn baby at home.
My fiancee and I, together and separately, are friends with a lot of people who live on sort of the "fringes" of society or what might seem to be the fringes to most folks, as they don't care much about "proper" careers or adulthood. One guy bummed around after the dot-com bust, and then became a real-estate agent. Another became a Buddhist monk (yes, really!). Yet another, my fiancee's best friend, is in grad school for public policy. A female friend moved to Ojai, Calif., where she works as a massage therapist and sells her crafts on Etsy on the side. Another female friend moved down south, where she busks and sells her art on the street. An old roommate has been working in various coffee shops while freelancing as an illustrator and comic-book artist, her best friend is a freelance writer and movie production assistant, and a mutual friend of theirs is a fashion buyer. My favorite neighbor and very dear friend moved to S. Korea to teach after working at a neighborhood bar for several years. And finally, a guy I dated briefly just moved to New Orleans, where he works as a handyman for a bunch of different contractors.
All these people in our lives taught us that there are so many ways to earn a living outside of the traditional, go-to-the-office, work-in-your-cube-type career. (My fiancee is a bit like this himself he's always either worked in the trades, or done random jobs.) And from the way you describe yourself, those ways of making a living seem like a good fit. Your travels may give you the perspective and life experience necessary to make you a great handyman, or ESL teacher, or massage therapist, or barista, or busker, or artist. You have nothing tying you down, and the opportunity of a lifetime to travel. And if you don't care about the traditional, or a "career" career, I see no reason not to take this trip. I wish you well.
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if there is one thing I can take from your reply its that there is no universal way to live. Its quite possible that a traditional path may not work for me. This discussion actually reminds me of another crossroads scenario I had a couple of years ago. I had just finished my BA, and despite being very accomplished (3.8 gpa, payed by the university to teach graduate students statistics, ran multiple research labs, etc etc etc), I still had little idea of what exactly I wanted to do career-wise and therefore delayed going to graduate school.
Almost everyone including my father advised me to go to graduate school immediately or I would never return for various reasons. For a little while I believed it, but then I talked to many of my professors and discovered that most of them delayed graduate school. One was a sailboat salesman until he was 40 years old and then decided to go back to school to earn a ph.d. Another didnt even earn his BA until he was 38.
I personally have no desire to have children or keep up with my cohort in the career world so I figure Im not in too big of a hurry to make a ton of money. At this point I think I have decided to travel. Its a risk certainly but I cant think of one exuberant thing in life that isnt.