Travel while you’re young”, they always tell you growing up.
“See it all now, because before you know it, you’ll be tied down with a career, family and responsibilities. It will never be the same.”For billions of people, this is exactly how it works. And how it has always worked.
Do an exchange program, cross a few hot-ticket destinations off the bucket list, then settle into a stable, nuclear lifestyle. Maybe honeymoon abroad and spring for a few vacations when you can find time. And pet care. And house-sitters.
But for most of us, growing up means settling down, and staying put.
Raised under such pretenses, I was determined to seize every opportunity for adventure. Each journey was veiled in a choking sense of culmination. “This may be the one chance you’ll have to do this”, I told myself every day.
The problem is, I got addicted.
Chasing the strange and sensational across the globe, I find that with every new excursion it gets harder and harder to accept that it may be my last. Nonetheless, as an ambitious, career-minded woman in my late twenties, it’s time to face facts.
What is more important, career or travel? Experience, history, and social paradigms tell me that I must choose.
As it turns out, I am not alone. Exploring Asia, I met a number of like-minded expats who are struggling with the very same issue and feel societal pressure to lock life down. Many of them, like myself, have been attempting to prolong the settling ‘grace period’ allotted to people in their twenties; either by studying, working abroad, or teaching English.
But what happens after you have exhausted these channels? I’ve been pleased to learn that career evolution has evolved.
In a globalized world economy, there are now boundless opportunities available for people to incorporate travel within their existing role, work independently, or work remotely.
Likewise, it is now universally common for individuals to change roles, companies, and industries a number of times throughout their career development.
Just because settling down and staying put is what we are socially groomed to appreciate as ‘the right way’ to do things doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with letting wanderlust intermediate the quest for career success.