Wednesday, August 08, 2012

My 10 Reasons to Travel While Young

As a disclaimer, I'd like to say that I'm still relatively young and I'm still changing and stumbling through my life abroad.  I've just barely got my ATM card to work and actually withdraw cash in Japan so clearly I'm not above the learning curve.  But these are just a few things that I've felt to be true in my quest for adventure, love and answers.

1.  What you do and who you meet today will influence who you are tomorrow.
         Almost everything that follows can probably be tied into this one, but it's major. Is it my spontaneity that caused me to travel or did travel spark my spontaneity?  If had never quit my dead-end job, would I be living abroad now?  Would I be making the same choices?  Would I appreciate food in the same way?  Would I have learned another language?  I could have been so different!

2.  People are more forgiving of mistakes made while you're young.
          When you're young, making mistakes is all about "growing up," learning about yourself and the world.  If you haven't "learned" about yourself by a certain age...people start to think you're a bum. Or weird. Or both.

3.  People are more trusting to help a young person.
          Old guy asking me for directions = creepy
          Young guy asking me for my number = charming
          But seriously, asking for help is easier when you're young because adults still see you as a child. And they probably wish they were still in your shoes. Natsukashii ne? (Very nostalgic)

4.  You have less responsibilities. Cliche, but true.
          And because of your youth, you have an excuse.

5.  Your body can survive better.
          Backpacking through Europe? Exciting!
          Sleeping in the creaky roofs of a Cambodian hostel?  Edgy!
          Hiking up Mount Kinabalu for 2 days through the heat and cold?  Hardcore!
          Trying food in random street stalls in Thailand?  Risk-taker!
          All this 20 years later?  Exhausting, uncomfortable, painful and food poisoning.

6.  You find passions that you never knew about.
          ie: photography, Vietnamese food, scuba diving, collecting ethnic jewelry, belly dancing, yoga.  Maybe from people you've met along the way or maybe just by accident.

7.  You'll have interesting stories to tell.
          The most interesting are not always the most well-planned!  Some of my best stories include being an underwater stunt double for an action film in the Philippines, backpacking by myself through rice terraces, and falling in love with and in Singapore.

8.  You learn more about people...quickly.  This includes previous friendships, future friendships and even dating.
          I used to be very naive about...everything.  From friends to dating to trusting others.  Sure, that sort of optimism is endearing and ideal, but as cynical as it sounds, you learn how to quickly get a feel for someone across cultures.  This can also be a positive thing as you'll learn social differences in culture very quickly - by accident or otherwise.
          Living abroad is almost like express socializing/dating as nobody seems to really have any time to waste on someone they don't like or enjoy or even just click with.  It's not a bad thing; you'll barely have time to keep up with the important people in your life so there's no use spending time on those are are less than that.

9.  You learn more about yourself.  
          My travels have definitely given me insight on things about myself. Some things fabulous, some not to so fabulous and some even downright painful. ie: "I'm pretty good a photography composition!"  "I'm missing out on all my friends' weddings."  "I've grown apart and am not there for my friends like I should."

10.  If anything, be inspired, fall in love, and change your life before it passes you by.  Create forks in the road and choose the one less traveled!


  1. Great post! Such an awesome list. Cheers to youth!

  2. The above items range from obvious, to asinine, to reckless and arrogant. Not everyone is blessed with the good fortune (and finances) to roam the world for free. For many, the harsh realities of life are well-established back at home, whether it be a dependent family member, a carefully cultivated career, or just plain lack of funds. Sure the practical difficulties of travel are easier faced when young, but I strain to understand how taking the easiest route is commendable? Your approach is condescending, because such route isn't available to everyone. Moreover, who's to say that the ultimate reward of traveling at an older age won't be made sweeter by years of hard work, dedication and wisdom accrued by that age. Alas, I digress--I'm sure the many attractive, young and willing people abroad just aren't perceptive of these realities, though.

    The only question, I ask, is what will such youths will do after their youths are spent traveling and living the bohemian life?

    1. It seems you've taken my light-hearted, casual post it to a very extreme level; while I can see how you may have come to some of these conclusions, I meant travel in a general sense, not necessarily relocating to another country or dropping all your responsibilities, especially if you have a stable career. Nothing of the sort. I just meant that taking a vacation, a road trip, something out of your normal day-to-day is good for anyone's perspective and particularly when you're young because it can still affect how you think of things later. Of course travel is fantastic when you're older, at any age really.

      Even so, if someone wanted to relocate, what's wrong with doing so? Why do you assume we have money, that we don't have dependent family members, that we don't have our own harsh realities of life? Not everyone has the luxury of a stable career, a healthy family life, a home to go back to. It seems your comment is pretty arrogant and condescending in itself.

    2. Perhaps it was extreme, but the "look at me! look at me!" tenor of the post was just begging for a reality check.

      First, your post was clearly not about travel in the general sense. See Item #1. It makes clear that you're speaking from an experience much different from a mere "vacation." ("If had never quit my dead-end job, would I be living abroad now?"). The rest that follows reads something like a testament to yourself and vvalidation for how you've made the right choice by living abroad.

      Nothing's wrong with relocating, so long as it doesn't empower you to post asinine things such as: "Old guy asking me for directions = creepy; Young guy asking me for my number = charming." How the hell is someone merely asking for directions (regardless of age) more creepy than a deliberate come-on (regardless of age). Of course, who cares because your elders "still wish they were in your shoes." (eye roll)

      Traipsing around the world in lavish fashion (see all your other posts) necessarily entails: a) having money (or otherwise having someone pay for your shit); b) physically (and emotionally) divorcing yourself from said dependent family members and self-proclaimed "harsh realities." Your comment, "luxury of a stable career, healthy family life, and home to go back to" shows just how little you know about life's realities. Guess what? Real careers, healthy family life and the true meaningful things in life don't come to you on a silver platter (i.e. not a luxury), and are cultivated over a long (and sometimes painful process) that takes years.

      Have you taken a moment to look at the ordinary people who actually live in the countries you vacation in? They aren't jet-skiing, living at resorts, or eating five star meals. They're busting ass as farmers, fishermen, merchants and middle-class slaves. They're supporting their kids, spouses, and elders (despite how they wish they were in your shoes).

    3. You're clearly taking this post way too seriously, especially with the young/old example. Obviously it's not that black and white. I do have my own reality, as much as it may annoy you. I work a normal job, pay my bills, save up money and have my own problems. And I do consider family, career or even "jetsetting at a resort" luxuries because not everyone has them and you have to work to attain them. Or at least I do. Just because I don't post every gritty detail of my life online doesn't mean I don't have my struggles like "ordinary people." I am a completely ordinary person who has made lots of mistakes, too. Doesn't mean I want to post about them.

    4. Wow. Anonymous seems to have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. To me, this blog read as if we should all be young at heart and enjoy life to the fullest, each and every day. If you read between the lines, yes, there are difficulties that must be overcome to enjoy the "good life", but to keep a positive outlook and a carefree attitude is refreshing and inspiring.

      Thanks for the great blog KYS! Looking forward to reading more of your great blogs as a fellow traveler of the world who can't afford shit. lol.