The travel bug: a millennial epidemic

Today, travel is so accessible that it is as much of a given as settling down or finding a career. For our generation, it is socially acceptable to move out, find a stable career, marry and have children at a much later point in life than the generations that came before us. Only thirty years ago, our parents were never faced with the first world woes of “so many countries, so little time!”

As they inevitably must, times have changed. Once, working at a crappy retail job and saving every cent did not equal a hard earned trip to Asia or Europe. Travel used to be a far larger investment, emotionally, financially and personally than it is today. For our generation, we can have our English tea cake and eat it there too.Travel is no longer exclusively for the wealthy, the well-connected or the educated. It is is no longer only for the brave and open minded. Gap years and university exchanges are now commonplace. Many twenty-somethings indulge in the reality that they can visit other countries to simply drink foreign beer on a slightly more exotic beach.


Yet when the global community requires no “seasoned traveller” pass, our sources of self growth must expand. Thus, we  are introduced to the rubber band of  travelling in our twenties. The further we stretch our boundaries, the further our mind expands – but we are always flung back (reluctantly), to the hum drum routine of home. Travel causes our love of home to grow fickle. So for those who wander and for those who wonder, what is left for us to stretch the boundaries of our comfort zones?

Instead of travelling overseas, living overseas for extended periods of times is the new way to find ourselves – and why wouldn’t it be? The inter connectedness of the world makes it seem easy to pick up your life and transport it all over the world. However, when we don’t have to choose one path, actually settling down can feel like “settling”. Soon, we lose track of the line between “adventurous” and becoming a complete nomad.

When we are generation “I” and generation “Why”, how do we ever know when it’s time to settle if we don’t ever have to settle at all?

Travel can be intoxicating; newness is easily attainable and addictive. It grants a brief nirvana where we see the world through an illuminated tunnel of hope and possibility. If we relocate our lives in search of the new, eventually the new becomes shrouded with routine and it soon becomes regular. Is it possible that continuing to pursue the unknown is stopping us from recognising the value of permanence?

Many people choose to live overseas as a way to first see the wider world so that they may settle down with more knowledge and experience. Yet for a rapidly growing number of twenty-somethings living overseas, young adults risk forgoing a career or establishing an “adult life” during the years where it was traditionally so vital. Are we travelling and living overseas to seek a great perhaps or are we avoiding life?

Words by CYNDALL MCINERNEY, a seasoned adventurer. Check out her blog here.

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3 thoughts on “The travel bug: a millennial epidemic

  1. I agree with much of your post, but want to add to it. I’m 36 and still out there traveling. Most of my friends that are in their 30’s and 40’s travel nearly as much as they did in the 20’s. They do it with kids and spouses. They also pack up their lives and move to other countries, for the adventure. I think that we are living in a time where the accessibility and the mindset are not limited to a particular time of life. Actually, it is a mindset. Travel is seen as a way of life, rather than a luxury. This doesn’t mean that it so simple as packing up and going- there is a lot of planning and financial security involved, but it’s happening. At least with my peers, it was not something limited to our 20’s and I’m loving it!

  2. Hmm.. great points, and in most situations yes, I think you are right on point. But I think instead of discouraging travel as an escape for developing 20s, we should encourage intentional traveling as a way to live more engaged with what’s happenign around the world, even if we choose to stay in America.

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