The post-school gap year or a hiatus after university. It seems that the most popular times for young people to up and off to travel is in their late teens or very early twenties. And what better time to go, with no responsibilities to hold you back and nothing to tie you down yet. But having travelled after finishing school and then again after university, I’ve found that in fact travelling now in my mid-twenties is the most rewarding it has ever been. Here are six reasons why.
Not the most important but the most obvious one. After graduating from university and getting a few years of my career and a salary to match under my belt, my days of my overdraft and living off pasta in a packet meals are well and truly over. Although you may not be rich in your mid-twenties, you’ll still have more money than your late teen self did. And of course, more money means longer travel on less of a budget.
It’s not all about partying anymore
After many years of going to sweaty nightclubs and sleeping until 3 pm as a student, I honestly say the novelty has worn off. Working full time, I no longer want to waste one of my two days off a week laid in bed nursing a hangover. It is a waste of my valuable time, and hard earnt money. The same can be said about travelling. Going out and partying used to be a big part of travelling for me. But now I like waking up early and properly exploring the place I’m in, so I can experience every element of its culture, not just its party scene. I don’t mean to say that I don’t like exploring the nightlife of wherever I travel to, but I just like more of a balance so I can come away with an overall more well-rounded experience.
Enrichment not escapism
After graduating I saw a lot of people I knew go off travelling for a few months to a year. Although rather envious whilst settling into my first full-time job, I soon came to realise that perhaps I had the upper hand. A lot of these people went travelling to escape from and postpone the inevitable – the fact that they had to enter the big scary post-education world. I think the worst reason to travel is for means of escapism because unless you find your calling somewhere along the way, travelling won’t make your problems won’t go away, and you’ll still have to face them eventually. I found after spending a few years figuring out what it is I enjoy doing after university, my travels now are not to escape the realities of my life, but to enrich it further.
You know yourself better
When I went interrailing around Europe at the age of 18, I didn’t research any of the places I was going to, leaving it all to my slightly more wiser travel companion to plan the itinerary. I enjoyed the trip, but with a few more years life experience, discovering who I am and what I like, if I was to do it again today I would have more of an input. As I now have my own ideas and thoughts as to what I want to gain out of travelling and the places I go to, and how to maximise my experience to the fullest.
You appreciate the freedom
When I travelled before going to university and after university, one thing I really wished I’d appreciated was the freedom. Before starting to work full time, I never realised how much free time I really had before, and how much better I could have utilised it. So now when I travel now I appreciate every single last second of it, because I realise how precious that time away from my daily life is.
After moving away from home, going to university, having many part-time jobs and now on my second full-time job after graduating I’ve already met so many wildly different people. Over these years I’ve seen my confidence grow dramatically both in myself and when meeting new people. When I travelled when I was younger I used to be quite shy when in unfamiliar situations. Now I’m much more confident, and in being so open myself up to more opportunities when travelling, because I have come to learn that most people are lovely, want help you, and be your friend.
When do you think is the best time to travel? Or do you even think there is a best time to travel? Let me know in the comments below.