I recently read an article by a woman who speaks about her issue with the culture change by the millennials, specifically regarding travel. There is a shift in the air, if you will.
We want to see the world and we want it now. We were told by our parents and grandparents and teachers that when we grow up we could be anyone we wanted, so we took that and ran with it.
Far off into the mountains of Colorado, the canals of Amsterdam and Italian cobblestone streets. You told us we could, and so we did.
I’ve always been a strong believer that as soon as you have the courage to let yourself experience life outside of your comfort zone, the universe will open its arms for you.
Sometimes I’m told I’m lucky, sometimes people are envious, other times I’m told I’m selfish.
Is travel pure luck, or is it a priority? The answer is both.
Travel is luck because I grew up with privilege. I was born into a wonderful family who put their children before anything in the world, and taught us how to love and be loved.
I was raised in a house and never had to worry about a place to sleep for the night, or how I would eat that day. I was born and raised in a world people dream of living.
However, I did not grow up wealthy. I learned the value of a dollar, and was taught to work hard and see everything as an opportunity. I took on my first job at age 14 washing dishes under the table — I wanted to help and I never stopped working.
Travel is not only luck, it is priority. When I was 7-years-old I promised myself that I would see the entire world before I died, because to me dying and not seeing this world I was brought on was not an option. And it still isn’t.
To me, it doesn’t make sense for me to be on earth without traveling, and I’ll tell you why: Traveling isn’t about the Instagram photos. It’s not about bragging the number of countries you’ve stepped foot in, it’s not about the expensive hotels and food. It is absolutely not selfish.
Traveling means that every place you experience makes up an entire other part of you that you aren’t aware of yet. It means that every person you meet, you have the power to impact. Travel means that you will breathe air that is unfamiliar, hear languages that you don’t understand, and become one with the world.
Once you do this, you can’t stop. I have friends in over 4 countries. These are people that I met by luck and have changed my life for the better. These are people who have made up another part of myself, and taught me lessons and habits that I wasn’t aware of.
That’s at least 4 people, who are entirely different than myself, but feel a similar connection. That’s 4 connections, and a change in direction.
So why do I not consider myself to be lucky to travel? Why are the millennials opting to this lifestyle? Why do we not consider ourselves selfish?
Because everyone has priorities. I work full time, and have over 4 side gigs. Through working I have made connections, and through connections I have worked numerous jobs allowing me to again, create another part of myself that makes up me completely.
How do I afford to travel? Barely, but I have a priority to fulfill.
• I have debt. Estimated 100k in student loan debt.
• I pay rent in a New York apartment.
• I take the subway every day to work.
• I buy groceries to feed myself.
• I rescued and care for a cat.
Why do I not consider myself lucky to travel?
• I use side gigs to help pay monthly student loan bills.
• I have 3 other roommates, I don’t need have my own apartment or house yet.
• I pay every month to take the subway, but I don’t lease or pay for a car.
• I don’t go out to eat every night, I buy groceries and eat a lot of left overs.
• I budget my spending to make sure that I can care for myself and another animal.
• I participate in contribution and community based yoga lessons.
Everyone has priorities. Some people want to save for retirement, some people want to start families, some work hard so that they can own their own homes and cars, some people pay to use gyms and workout lessons, some people want to pay off their debt early.
The point is everyone has personal priorities, and you are not wrong. You are not selfish.
My priority happens to be that I want to step foot in every inch of the world, I want to meet people who have similar ideals and different experiences, I want to learn about culture and language and you know what, sometimes I do want that Instagram photo.
If you want to travel, and that’s what will feed your soul, you will travel. Do things that make you feel most like yourself, surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you, and when life decides to rough you up, remember what it is that makes the whole goddam thing worth it.