“…So then, after walking around aimlessly throughout the city, the five of us were exhausted. For an ancient city, Pompeii sure was huge. We finally made our way to exit out of the ruins but the exit lead to an unfamiliar road. My friends approached a local (my friends were from Salerno, not from Pompeii) and after exchanging some Italian dialogue, they tell me ‘come, he’s going to give us all a ride’ all six of us squeezed into his tiny car. It was a hot day, the car did not have air conditioning and we were all squeezed in together, but you know? I would repeat that moment again. It was one of the first times that I truly felt nostalgic for the present. Here I was, in a random stranger’s car in a foreign country in the middle of summer with people I had just met a few hours ago. After a couple of ‘mama mia’s’ and more Italian dialogue, the kind stranger dropped us off to where we needed to be…”
July 2012 I took one of the most amazing trips of my life. As my high school graduation gift, my family and I took a trip to Europe and went to six countries. We were gone for almost a month. The story above is when I was in Pompeii. What is amazing about all of this, is that this happened over 5 years ago, and yet, I still remember that day full of adventure and fun. The best part, no one can possibly ever open my head, pull out my brain and take away that memory. It’s the memories and experiences that no one could ever steal. That is the very reason I love to travel.
Upon graduating high school, we are expected to enter a college or university and work towards a career that will pay for our living. After you get your degree, you most likely proceed to find a job (especially of you have loans to pay off). Bam! You land the job, you start your career… you work… you work… you work…
Yes, working is important. It is necessary, but then what happens? You work to pay off bills, buy or rent a home, buy a car…etc. Finally, after a generous amount of years of hard work and dedication, you retire. At this point, perhaps you can travel, but by then, it will not be at it’s full potential. You won’t look forward to hiking by the Himalayas. You won’t want to kayak around Bali. You won’t want to sled ride in Norway. Many do this after they graduate college and have a degree, but then you have a whole lot of bills to pay. Realistically, not everyone can do it.
As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, when we travel, we not only go to a spot for a given amount of time, we experience life with the locals. We eat their food. We learn their language, we interact with them and form life-long bonds. THAT is real travel. No. Scratch that. That is more than just “travel”; that is actually living! I cannot fathom why it is that people do not understand it. Sure, I could have gotten a career that involved travel, but there’s still the risk of me not being able to connect to people the way I want to. I am young now, let me take advantage now. That is what I truly crave.
One main thing many ask me is “money”. How will I get the necessary mula to live abroad? How about while I’m there? Where will you get your gold if you are not digging the dirt? What about when you become as old as dirt? Then, how will you survive?..etc.. Money is necessary, but it isn’t everything. Ever heard if the saying “less is more”? Well, that is quite true. The less you have, then the less you worry. You can survive off the basics and not work as much. Jehovah God also has always taken care of his people and as long as you are a good person and hard-working, you should be alright. Still, saving up and having a plan is always a good idea. In fact, what I am trying to do, I am taking a few years to save up enough to get me a fresh start elsewhere. Once I make my fresh start, I don’t want anything holding me back (sorry fancy car payment. Sorry student loan). It takes a significant amount of effort, but it isn’t impossible.
My point, perhaps you’re not sure what you want to do after graduation (I didn’t and in all honesty, I still don’t). All I knew after high school is that I wanted to travel; still do. If it weren’t for that desire, I probably would have never given Nutella a chance (real Italian Nutella at that!). I would have never felt the tiny bites on my knees that the small fishes like to give to the strangers who decide to swim in the Mediterranean sea by the Greek islands (the bites don’t hurt at all by the way. The fish are very small so it sort of just tickled). I would have never felt the enchantment that came with walking into a typical French “Jouet” shop full of hand made toys while a French accordion melody played in the background. No, I don’t have a fancy degree, but I have a set of skills that can hopefully help me survive wherever it is that I end up. Just get out there and explore! Everyone is worthy of an adventure.
Release those ropes!