I travelled South East Asia (and Australia) with my boyfriend in 2010 before Uni, and then went back to Thailand last summer for 6 weeks. We thought we were done with travelling and I haven't been back to travelfish since: my boyfriend got a good job and working towards my degree.
The thing is, we can't get the idea of one last big trip out of our head, before mortgages and kids etc tie us down. Is it unwise to take more time out of 'real life' to travel again? Should we be saving for a mortgage deposit rather than a big 3-6 month trip? We're so confused! We wouldn't realistically be going anywhere until 2014, but we're so conflicted!
What do you all think?8
There are some variables in there you didn't mention. Have you already incurred debt from school? Does your boyfriend have a serious career job where it would hurt him if he gave it up? How old are you? Have you reached the point where you are seriously considering settling down?
If you don't have any debt, I would say there's no harm in going on another trip after you finish school.
I will have student loan debt that will need to be repaid, but I won't have to pay until I'm earning £16000 a year or something (so its essentially on hold until I'm working). I'm 21 and he's 22, we've been together for 6+ years so we're 'settled down' in some sense but not others. Our view is that there's plenty of time to have children and houses but not much time to have adventures around the world...
My boyfriend is in a 'career' for the first time, and I think that's the biggest issue for us. It's a sales executive job for a worldwide company, and he thinks the experience he gains in the next few years would help him to find a similar but new job after we got back... But that obviously isn't a guarantee... The big issue is whether it would be silly to step off a positive career track to travel. On the one hand, my sensible side says it would be. But at the same time I would hate for us to look back in 20 years and wish we'd travelled...
I'm 67, and have just returned from my first trip in over 30 years. I've realised how much things have changed, and what I have missed out on. I did the career thing, and I do have regrets.
You can't realistically leave until 2014, so that gives you a very good start on careers.
Don't regret it, go for it!
You're still young and considering that you should do that trip now. Really no point in waiting 30-40 years until you retire.
Having said that, you, and especially your boyfriend, have to realize that finding a job in these economic uncertain times will be hard. It won't look very good on his CV if he goes travelling again. Most companies consider it an asset if you have broadened your horizon by travelling during a gap year. However, doing it again, after having had a proper job, will make him look unreliable and that could make an important difference these days. I've been there myself on both sides of the story.
All in all I would still travel if I really felt the need. Spending the next 30 years with regrets about missed opportunities is less appealing than struggling a few more months to find a proper job again.
Well, it's too early to decide now anyway. You got a couple of more years, and maybe your boyfriend will be in transition then.
Unlike UsTwo I did the career thing, had no gap year, never travelled (in terms of free lancing vacation time) and never regretted it. It put me in the position where I am now, where I can do what I want, when I want, for the rest of my life.
Not as easy call, but easier to make when you are close to finishing school and your boyfriend's employment situation is clearer.
Sound advice from Mac. Just save money anyway now. Whether it's for the trip or to use for settling down, you can always use it. In a year many things can change. May be you'll loose your desire to travel or the career may take a whole different direction. Save money and make a more comfortable decision in 2013 and then work towards it.
In the end it will be always your own choice and it's hard for others to help you with this. We don't know how badly you want to travel and such and it doesn't matter how many people will advise you, you'll always get different point of views
Thanks for the advice everyone- it is early days but definitely something that needs a lot of thought so in some ways we're glad to have a couple of years.
UsTwo- the regrets you have are the exact regrets we want to try and avoid. When we consider our parents and other 'older' people we know, none of them have travelled and all of them express regrets about it. I know that past generations maybe didn't have the opportunities that we do in terms of gap years and travel etc, but my view is that opportunities are there to be taken!
Eastwest and Madmac- you both make really good (sensible) points about the career aspect... I know this will, in the end, be our decision, but we love input from various sources because it's such a big choice! Saying that, the idea of travelling in a few years or waiting until retirement seems pretty clear cut, and I think the dread that we feel at the prospect of waiting a few decades shows how much we want to go!
Who knows how we'll feel in a year or two... but you only live once right? Hmmm *pondering*
This is a good thread. I think just about everyone who loves travel goes through these same struggles in one way or another. Most societies generally expect people to follow in the normal line - career, house, wife/husband, kids - but something inside us longs to blaze a different trail.
I've personally always resisted what we in the States call "the American dream." I'm 32 years old, never been married, never owned a house. I did finish University (took my time doing it and a self-designed degree at that), but I've never been willing to lock myself into a career I'm not absolutely certain will be fulfilling not only for my wallet but also my soul. I've done all kinds of jobs over the years, and I've done okay for myself, but I've never taken a job that would prevent me from following my dream, which is to see the world and experience other cultures for extended periods of time.
Of course, taking that approach has meant doing jobs like bartending and driving trucks at times, but I've never been sold by the corporate suit and tie thing anyway. I worked my ass off bartending for two years and during that time I was making the same or more money than acquaintances who worked corporate jobs, selling insurance, or as salespeople. Sure, I was the one clearing their dirty plates, and on the surface it might have seemed like they were successful while I was "just a bartender", but the truth is those guys were working way more hours than me, and they were stressed out by their jobs night and day while I spent my free time planning the next trip and was almost never stressed out by work. And all along we made the same money anyway!
I did have the good luck back then to end up with two really good and lucrative bartending gigs - not every bartender does that well - but the point is that things are not always what they seem. As "just a bartender" I was able to save up enough cash to start a new life doing what I really want - traveling the world and experiencing other cultures while working as a freelance writer, teacher and entrepreneur. So who has the last laugh now - me or the stressed out insurance salesman back home?
I feel like so many of people's decisions are based on image. They think, "Oh I can't go off and travel long-term and teach English or whatever because everyone will think I'm crazy; it's too scary; or everyone will think I'm a failure or an outcast." I say, who gives a **** what people think? Who cares about image? Personally, what I care about is happiness, and I know I'd be miserable if I were stuck in some corporate sales job forever. That's just me. No offense to anyone whose happy in that setting - to each his/her own.
Sorry if this is a bit of a ramble, but my point is this >
You guys are young, and as far as anyone can be certain we only have this one life to live. The fact that you have this seemingly innate desire to go off and travel for six months tells me that you are not the type to simply follow the normal tracks of society. It's your world. You can make it whatever you want it to be. Put some thought into what are the most important things for you to do / see / accomplish / fulfill in your lives. Is it raising children? Is it being close to your parents and friends and having a stable life? Is it making a lot of money? Is it experiencing different cultures and seeing the world? Is it gaining spiritual wisdom? Is it satisfying some kind of creative longing? Is it a combination of some or all of these things and more?
Try to come to terms with what is most important for you in your lives, and then start thinking about how you can make it all work. And don't think it's impossible to do all of the above (plus a lot more) in one lifetime! Especially in this day and age where it's possible to do all kinds of work from anywhere in the world, you can make your life whatever you want it to be if you're willing to get creative and think outside the box. Want an example? Here's a good one.
"As a farmer guides water to his fields;
As a woodworker carves wood;
As an archer aims his arrow,
So the wise shape their lives."
Not to be the fly in the ointment DLuek, but for me it was the other way around. I too wanted to see the world, and I did that by joining the Army, which let me live in seven different countries, which was a great experience. I also loved soldiering, feel I was born to do it. But it requires total commitment in a corporate sort of way. I never regretted my decision, and it paid off in the end as well. I do understand that different people are cut out for different things, and would never advise any and all to do what I did. But if you invest in something long term, it can lead to long term rewards. That's why they have to weigh their decision based on their realities.
We like the idea of settling down properly with good jobs, family etc but would like to have an adventure first if that makes sense? Should we just take the leap and go, and start the normal stuff when we get back, or is it just silly to do something like that with the risk that we might not be able to get back on track afterwards? I know it's a while off, but I can't stop thinking about this today!