Travel for many is viewed as a luxury. Most tend to reserve travel for celebratory moments: honeymoon, anniversaries, promotions, or the classic annual family vacation. As a couple, the honeymoon is seen as the pinnacle of a burgeoning relationship; especially for those who choose to wait until marriage to consummate. Traditionally, annual family outings are placed on a pedestal and are something one must work hard all year to “earn.” These rites of passage (honeymoons and family vacations), are some of the most significant occasions in our lives and they forge indelible memories; yet, so many are guilty of relegating them to annual or solitary experiences in life. Even worse, many people choose to wait to travel until the “Golden Years” during retirement. Well, we firmly believe you should travel while you’re young, so hear us out on why you shouldn’t wait until retirement to travel.
My (Michael) parents always had a dream of retiring, buying a motorhome/RV, and driving around the United States together touring every Major League Baseball park from Los Angeles to New York and everywhere in between. In 2016, my parents passed away within 6 months of one another. Their baseball park road trip dream would never come to fruition.
The one commodity we can never get back in life is time. Don’t waste your time doing shit you hate just to make money so you can buy more possessions that you don’t need. Material possessions will only make you happy until you either feel a sense of buyer’s remorse having overextended financially or until the items are “old” or “broken” in a few months (or less). Spend your time (and money) on expenditures that make you richer: experiences. Invest in yourself and your partner, family, friends, etc.
My Grandmother is 90 years old but she still dances, makes inappropriate jokes, and even knows how to text message on an iPhone. She’s the quintessential 4’9″ Irish grandmother. She is, however, also an exception to the rule. The average American lifespan is only 78 years. Considering Americans can only collect social security retirement after age 65 or 67 (depending on when they’re born), that really only leaves 11 – 13 years to travel and enjoy the “Golden Years” before the grim reaper shows up.
Talk to an elderly person and ask them what they wish they did more of when they were younger and, similarly, what they wish they did less of. Most will say, “Work less. Travel more.” “Work less, spend more time with family.” “Worry less about what other’s thought and did more of what I loved.” So, why wait until you’re 70 or 80 to have this realization? Let this be the impetus for the Renaissance in your life. Fuck what other people think. Take mini-retirements throughout your life. Work a remote job and travel around the world. Take a gap year. Use every vacation day. Cherish your life and the ability to move and explore. God gave us feet for a reason…if we were meant to stay in one place we would have roots – not feet.
I probably re-read Robert J Hasting’s poem The Station once per month. If you haven’t read it, here it is in its entirety:
Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent. We’re traveling by passenger train, and out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hills, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.
But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. There sill be bands playing, and flags waving. And once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true. So many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of our lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering … waiting, waiting, waiting, for the station.
However, sooner or later we must realize there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.
“When we reach the station that will be it!” we cry. Translated it means, “When I’m 18, that will be it! When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz, that will be it! When I put the last kid through college, that will be it! When I have paid off the mortgage, that will be it! When I win a promotion, that will be it! When I reach the age of retirement, that will be it! I shall live happily ever after!”
Unfortunately, once we get it, then it disappears. The station somehow hides itself at the end of an endless track.
“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.
So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.
Why wait until you’re old to travel when your opinions and convictions are well-shaped? Travel while you’re young and impressionable. Expand your world-view and become a better global citizen. Don’t relegate your life to the bubble in which you were born and raised.
Travel provides one the opportunity to walk a mile (or kilometer, whatever your preference) in someone else’s shoes and, even if just for a moment, provides the insight into what someone else’s journey might be like. You’ll challenge your own belief systems, exhibit empathy for individuals in predicaments they were merely born into, and truly find yourself while you’re getting lost.
Why would you want to pass the opportunity to educate yourself in the most profound way? Don’t save travel until you’re set in your ways.
For some reason, “gap years” are only sociably acceptable during your 20s. So take advantage of this and be “irresponsible” for a year. Go explore the world and discover your vocation while you’re learning a new language. When you have kids, you’re essentially stuck for 18 years before they head off to college. Sure, you’ll take family vacations and these will certainly be the best experiences of your children’s lives. But take advantage of the ability to explore in your 20s.
The biggest lie that high school and university students buy into is that you have to have your life figured out by the time you graduate from university. Shit, Alex is 31 and I’m 28 and we BARELY have our lives figured out. I truly think part of “figuring it out” is realizing that you never truly figure it out.
Based on what we know of our audience, our average reader is a 25 – 34-year-old American or British female who uses an iPhone. However, if you’re one of our outlier readers and you’re in your 50s, 60s, or beyond, and you still haven’t traveled extensively, it’s not too late! Remember The Station? Fear of tomorrow and regret over the past are twin thieves that rob of us of the present. So seize the power of now and book a trip. Where is that place you and your spouse always dreamed of going? Even if he or she has passed, take a solo trip there and honor his or her memory. Take your kids on a vacation. Travel with your friends. It’s never too late to start traveling!