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1. You’re burned out
You’re ambitious. You’re capable. But twelve years spent in high-pressure schools burns that ambition right out. Especially when you don’t know what you want to do the whole time.
You’re not lazy. You just don’t want to go full-throttle on things that are pointless. You’ve been doing that for the past twelve years and now it’s time to figure out what you want to do.
And what better way to do that than adventuring?
2. You don’t know what to do with your life
When I left to travel the world I had no idea what I wanted to study. No idea where I wanted my life to go.
And I didn’t want to just go through the motions like everyone else at college and spend 25k a year to do it.
Now, four months into traveling the world, I’m almost done writing my first book. I’m launching a gap year blog. I’m learning copywriting and marketing (tools of the trade). By traveling, I now have a way better idea of what I want to do. That’s more than you can say for most college freshmen.
3. You want to adventure before you’re old
There’s a story of two monks. They’ve taken vows to stay in a monastery for the rest of their lives, but they both have this desire to travel.
Except they can’t betray their vows. They’ve pledged to be monks. So, instead, they play tricks with their minds. If it was Summer, they would say, “We’ll leave in the Winter.”
And when the Winter came, they would say, “We’ll leave in the Summer.”
They did this for fifty years.
Most people aren’t monks, but it’s almost like they live with monk-like vows. They graduate high school, and say they’ll pursue their dreams after college. And it never happens.
You’ve seen older people put off their dreams of travel for years for this reason or that. And you realize if you don’t do it now, you might never do it.
4. Okay, you want to party
When you first start traveling, every night is a party.
But that’s not the part you tell your parents. What you tell your parents, is there’s this guy who traveled in Thailand for two months (hey, that’s me) and after partying for two months straight he got bored of it. So he started writing a book, taking marketing courses online, and created a blog to help other kids take gap years.
After two months of straight partying, he wanted to create things that mattered.
You don’t want to travel to party. You just want to get partying out of your system before you begin your studies, Mom.
5. You don’t want to be like everyone else
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
“Graduate high school, go to college, have a career.”
Sound appealing? Not to me. Especially when most of these people have a perennially sour expression on their faces like they tasted dog poop.
If I wasn’t traveling I wouldn’t have met a nineteen year old app designer who made $80,000 before he was twenty. I wouldn’t have met a vlogger who has 60k followers on YouTube and lives in Bali. These opportunities all start with hitting the road.
So, if you don’t want the typical life path what do you want? You want an alternative life path. And is there a better way to start your life down an alternative path than to separate yourself from the herd?
And start talking to others who have rejected the 9-5 lifestyle?
6. You’ll be more experienced in the world
When I left the United States everything was beautiful. The world was going to collaborate to make me happy.
Since then, I’ve four-by-four-ed around the sane dunes of Fraser Island and swam in mountain lakes that could’ve been swimming pools.
I’ve also been stolen from, lied to, and had to put up with unpleasant people. The only way you become experienced is by living in the real world.
When you travel, you grow up. Real fast.
7. You’ll become self-reliant
There is no feeling in this world to be compared with self-reliance — do not sacrifice that to anything else.
John D. Rockefeller
I’ve been on fishing trips where I had to be taught how to cast the line. I’ve been on surf trips where I had to ask how to stand, and still couldn’t do it. There is nothing I dislike more than having to be coddled.
When you travel you toughen up. Not everyone you meet on the road is going to treat you like the wonderful snowflake you are. Some people are downright mean, and others couldn’t care less whether you’re alive.
You learn how to be by yourself. How to make a fire. How to become independent.
You will realize that if you don’t stand up for yourself no one else will.
8. You’ll love learning again
Twelve years of rigid school instruction is a long, long time. Long enough to make you loathe what impoverished nations wish they had.
I didn’t do much the first two months I traveled.
But the subsequent months have been completely different. I haven’t missed strict class schedules, waking up early, or socializing with people I dislike — I don’t miss school.
I miss learning. And moreover, travel has made me realize if you want to be successful, at some point, you have to take your education into your own hands. And that’s why I’ve spent over $200 on books and e-courses since I’ve been abroad.
9. You’ll realize what your Boys and your Home mean to you
There is no place like home. Even little things like lingo on the road are completely different. I live on the East Coast of the United States, and I didn’t even realize we had lingo until I would crack a joke over here and realize no one had any idea what I just said.
The adventures with your boys, the girls, the hang-out spots, the fishing days, the surfing days, the camping days, and the day hikes: You’re going to appreciate them all so much more when you’ve been away for four months.
10. You will respect your parents for everything they do
I know, I know; back home they’re annoying beyond belief. But your parents are going to bail you out when you’re screwed. When you’re laid up in a hostel because you have tonsillitis and can’t move without wincing, your Mom is the one who will text you and make sure you’re not dead.
When you need to know whether you should go to a clinic because you messed up your toe or whether you should wait it out: Mom always knows.
Traveling made me appreciate my parents way more than I ever did when I was actually home.
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