Life After College: When Travel is Your Dream

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Life after college: when travel is your dream

Life After College: When Travel is Your Dream  

There is a lot of pressure on us to have our lives figured out by the time we graduate college, but how do we include travel in our future? The system alots for a few trips over holidays, maybe even an annual vacation. What if that isn’t enough? How do you manage growing up, strengthening your career, having a family, and so on, while your yearning to see the world never waivers? Here are some of my experiences from the past year since I graduated college, and how I’ve managed to continue traveling at the same time as figuring out my life path.

Which Major Assures the Future You Imagine?

There is a certain way of things that American society teaches us to abide by; a generalized model of how your life is “supposed” to go. You’re supposed to know what you’ll study in college by the time you’re a junior in high school (age 16). You’re supposed to choose a college that has a great reputation for the thing you want to study. Then you drain your high school savings account, take out student loans, beg your parents, fight for scholarships, work three jobs, and do whatever else you have to in order to attend and graduate from college. You graduate. Then what?

Well, you should’ve studied something like business, marketing, doctoring, lawyering, dentistry, or any major that would have had a clear career option afterwards. Please, don’t tell me you studied art, music, theater, or writing? HA! Have fun working at McDonald’s for the rest of your life!

Sarcasm aside, it is a risk to choose to study what you’re actually interested in, especially when it’s a field where jobs are scarce and competition is fierce. When you’re still a teenager you are faced with the decision of whether to study something because it could pay well in the future, or because you’re in love with it. Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who gets both. I struggled to decide what to major in because I was worried that I’d have no idea how to find work after college. In the end, I wasn’t capable of studying something that didn’t have my heart. I chose Creative Writing.

 Living in NYC for five years taught me how to be self-sufficient, brave, and open-minded, which inspired me to be an adventurous traveler.

Living in NYC for five years taught me how to be self-sufficient, brave, and open-minded, which inspired me to be an adventurous traveler.

Traveling into Life After College

Graduating college is an incredible accomplishment, good for you! Maybe plans are already set for where you’ll live and work for the next amount of years. Depending on what kind of job it is, you’ll still be able to work traveling into your schedule. Plan for future holidays, days off, sick leave, or paid vacation. If the work schedule is tight, you’re always busy, and have no idea how you could ever afford the time to travel, plan far ahead for it. Take a weekend drive to a nearby city you’ve never been to before. Do something to satisfy the travel urge!

If you’re like me, the thought of graduating college, while exciting, was also incredibly scary! What the heck am I going to do with my life once I’m out of school? How am I going to survive as a writer? People assume if you’re a writer you must also be a teacher. But to be a teacher means you need lots of teaching degrees, and ain’t nobody got time to stay in school any longer than I already have! I want to be a novelist, a blogger, and a travel writer. I can’t stay in a 9-5 office job, 40 hours a week, living to work, and working to live! Where is the fine line between surviving financially and living out your wildest dreams? Why do I have to choose between a job I love and a job that pays well? How can I ever have both?

To be clear, nothing in life is as black and white as that logic. Just because you have a 9-5 office job doesn’t mean you will be miserable. Just because you make $80k a month in ad revenue from Instagram doesn’t mean you’ll feel happy or complete. There are a million ways to enjoy your life. It all depends on what’s important to you. If traveling is important, don’t give it up. Unless it’s a sacrifice you are making to pursue something else that’s even more important to you.

 A peep into Universal City, California, from Universal Studios Hollywood, about an hour away from where I grew up.

A peep into Universal City, California, from Universal Studios Hollywood, about an hour away from where I grew up.

As long as you remain committed to traveling, you will incorporate it into your work, your schedule, and your life. Even if you do wind up settling down with a family and a career. Even if the only traveling you get to do is that yearly trip. The best part is that your travel memories will endure. You’ll always have a piece of the places you’ve been to, in memory. When I’m feeling stuck, anxious, and stressed, I delve back into those memories, and they bring peace over me.

Taking Trips and Planning for the Future

The whole idea of planning for the future is a bit strange when you consider it. The future isn’t guaranteed to anyone. You think you know how things are going to happen, and then the universe chucks a couple of unexpected twists to rattle things up. I have spent so much time stressing about this idea of “the future.” How to be successful, how to make a difference, how to afford the costs of being alive, etc! The pressure of finding a job now that I’m out of college is like a cement boulder that I carry on my back at all times. I want to be a writer. I want to travel. Always, those things will be a part of me. But how do I survive, realistically? What do I do in the meantime while searching for the kind of work that would allow me to do what I love?

 Graduating college at Radio City Hall in Manhattan was a surreal experience!

Graduating college at Radio City Hall in Manhattan was a surreal experience!

In the past year since graduation I have done much more traveling than I have done work. After graduating college, my boyfriend and I moved to Maui, Hawaii, to try living there. Upon realizing that it wasn’t working out for us, he moved back to New York, and I have since been on a spiritual trip, trying to figure out how to follow my dreams. In the past four months alone, I’ve been on six flights, traveling from Maui to California, then to New York, then six weeks in Europe, back to New York, and then back to California! Whew. That isn’t how things will continue for me. I am figuring out how to survive in society without compromising who I really am. Without “selling my soul,” as I dramatically call it. Remaining true to myself.

 Taking a stroll down the palm tree path in Málaga, Spain.

Taking a stroll down the palm tree path in Málaga, Spain.

I have close friends who, although working those 9-5 type salary jobs, still go on frequent adventures in different countries around the world! They plan, budget, save money, and stay patient for the right time to travel that won’t interfere with their work. Sometimes they find cheap plane tickets and spontaneously go somewhere for the weekend. They keep their imaginary itineraries and dream destinations lists updated, just in case the opportunity arises to travel. Having a good job is important to them, but so is traveling. They do both. I imagine myself being a novelist, but also, always, being a traveler. I will write and I will travel in addition to whatever else I'll do. You will travel too, if travel is your dream, even if it isn't your only dream.

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We are a team of four feminist travelers coming together from different parts of the world to share with you what we have learned from traveling, living, loving, and exploring all over the world. Join us and tell your story about female solo travel, relationships, mental health, city guides, or whatever else comes to your mind.

 Writer of this article is Heather, 24, co-founder of the Female Travel Collective.  She used to live in California, NYC, and Hawaii, and is currently traveling. Follow her along on her  Instagram !

Writer of this article is Heather, 24, co-founder of the Female Travel Collective.  She used to live in California, NYC, and Hawaii, and is currently traveling. Follow her along on her Instagram!

WRITE FOR THE FEMALE TRAVEL COLLECTIVE