If you are in your twenties, or were recently in your 20s, chances are you heard “you should totally travel” a lot. A little over a year ago I graduated college. I don’t think a month has gone by since that I haven’t received the advice to travel while I’m still young. “You’re so young, you have no responsibilities, travel while you can!” “Don’t you want to see the world?” I heard it all, time and time again. Yes, I would love to see the world, and contrary to popular belief I do have one large responsibility called a job. It started to bother me how often I was encouraged to travel. I almost became against traveling. Why did I need to see other places to have a fulfilled life? I live right outside of Philadelphia, and I know I haven’t seen everything my own city has to offer.
As a self-professed homebody, traveling doesn’t have the same appeal to me as it does to many. I like kicking back at home with a good book or having a movie night with my friends. And besides being a homebody, I had never traveled without family. It was always family vacations or short trips with a parent, but never anywhere myself, with just friends. Up until now, I was pretty okay with that. But, about six months after graduating college, I decided I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone sometimes so I started making a list of places I wanted to visit.
Six months ago I found out a close friend of mine would have an internship this summer in Los Angeles. California was on my bucket list. In fact, it was one place I really wanted to cross off my bucket list. Fate? Maybe. But, it still took a lot of courage to make the decision to take a week off of work and go for a visit with 2 other friends. We planned the entire trip just 6 weeks before leaving (and surprisingly still got pretty good deals). The whole planning process was such a whirlwind that I never had a chance to be nervous.
I won’t lie, I was nervous the day we left, but I chose some really great friends to share this experience with and they made me really comfortable and excited. I was in California for about a week, visiting Los Angeles and San Diego. I had a great time, and I think I caught a mini travel bug. When I came back I realized traveling in your 20s is a good idea, and most of the voices around me were right. Here are a few things I learned by traveling in my 20s: I am no longer against traveling. I still don’t think it is for everyone, but I do think everyone should take at least a small trip to give it a try.
- Nothing was holding me back. They were right, I didn’t have any major responsibilities. Work survived without me, and life went on.
- My other friends were. As much as I don’t like to admit it, I experienced FOMO. Seeing pictures of my friends on their traveling adventures started to make me jealous.
- I bonded with my friends. Sure, we were close before this and would’ve still been friends if we didn’t travel together, but I’m glad I will have these memories to look back on with them.
- I disconnected from social media. This is probably the most underrated reason to travel. While I did take a ton of pictures and videos, I didn’t spend nearly as much time checking my phone for texts or social media updates. I lived in the moment.
- I learned about myself. I’m still a self-proclaimed homebody and I still enjoy a good family vacation. But, being on my own, away from family and work and just every day life, was nice. It allowed me to get to know myself and what I want from life right now.
So, if it’s not obvious, I would highly recommend taking a trip, whether abroad or within the states. But, even thought I am no longer against traveling, I still don’t think it is for everyone. Some people really don’t have the desire to travel. But, I would encourage everyone to be open to the idea.