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.