What travel can do for you

Being on the other side of the world from your family, friends and the place you grew up can be tough sometimes.  Occasionally I'll ask myself whether I made the right choice to go travelling after graduating from university instead of throwing myself into the job market, adding only more hospitality work to my CV instead of broader, career-relevant work experience.  Ultimately I have to remind myself that I have the rest of my life to find meaningful employment, not to mention the fact that what society considers a "good job" is hard to come by these days, and career-relevant work experience will inevitably involve working for free.  I stand by my decision to go travelling, despite occasional moments of self-doubt, and these are my reasons why.

  • Travel forces you into situations you might ordinarily have avoided, to make decisions independently, and to take risks.  It becomes second nature to perform a quick cost/benefit analysis before undertaking any new venture, and as a result you become more confident in your ability to assess different situations
  • You meet people from all over the world, which as well as providing you with contacts in all kinds of new travel destinations, improves your communication skills.  Working with many people for whom English is a second or even third language has made me more concise in my speech, better at unravelling unusual sentence structure, better at taking non-verbal cues.  I'm even increasing my own language acquisition, despite Australia being an English-speaking nation
  • I can calculate in my head what time it is in over 5 different time zones, as well as calculating cost conversions into AUD, USD, GBP, Euro, even Swedish Krone... and I've never even been to Sweden
  • After a concentrated period of catching international flights as well as numerous trains and buses, your time-keeping becomes more accurate and working to a deadline is second nature.  I get anxiety dreams about missing my plane the whole week before a transcontinental flight, and it's made me more serious about appointment-keeping in general
  • You reassess your priorities.  On a working holiday visa in particular, you'll probably find yourself applying for jobs you would never have considered at home.  Removing yourself from your comfort zone helps you assess your real skills and strengths, and you might find pursuing a dream career isn't as important to you as being able to fund another passion.
  • Your productivity increases.  When you are working or studying abroad, you obviously have commitments to balance against your desire to do touristy things and generally have an adventure, so you become used to a faster pace of living.  Don't get me wrong, I still need a day every so often to pass out in front of a Law & Order: SVU marathon, but that kind of day is a much rarer occurrence than it used to be.  More often than not I want to spend my days off getting out into nature, or going to museums or to the beach, and my evenings are spent blogging, sewing, and planning my next trip

There's a saying that goes "Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer".  All of these pictures were taken in the 9 months that I spent studying abroad in the US (in Arizona, Hawaii, New York, California, and New Orleans), and though each trip and activity cost me money, the memories are worth more than I can say.  I'm also aware that the freedom to move with as much ease I have is not afforded to most people - as an unattached young adult without (urgent) debts, dependants, or other restrictions, and as a British citizen I have one of the best backgrounds for getting visas if required at all.  So even though homesickness can set in, I stand by every decision I've made, and I know that my time in Australia will be more rewarding than I can currently imagine.

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