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Steve Wade says in his guest post on Art of Backpacking, Is Travel The Easy Way Out?, “traveling requires a lot of courage. You need to be determined, independent, very sure of yourself and the decision you’re about to make, confident that you can go away for such a long period of time in far away and foreign places and it takes a bit of forward thinking and planning. It’s certainly not for the faint hearted.” That is certainly very true.
Some parents would say that we are being irresponsible when we decide to take a gap year instead of diving into the workforce. Other parents would understand our desire to get out into the real world and explore, just as long as we have a return ticket back home.
The part that irks me about Steve’s post starts in his second paragraph. Is it a difficult decision to make when you decide to go from college to a job/career? No, it’s not. It’s what our society considers a natural progression. But then Steve undermines the entire job hunting process by saying, “you just find a job and work.” Actually, no. Anyone with real work experience knows that you don’t “just find a job and work.” That’s an obnoxious statement to make. Try telling that to the millions of people with hefty mortgage payments and who have been unemployed for the past year and a half. Tell that to my neighbor who leaves the house at 7AM and comes home at 2AM just to make $107 a day. Tell that to the recent college grad with a $60,000 school loan to just “find a job and work.”
If it were that easy, we’d all have jobs that pay extremely well with superior health benefits and allow us 3 months to travel every year. Wouldn’t it be easier to just run away, travel and get your mind off of this stress of tackling a competitive workforce? I would tend to think so. It takes a confident, responsible and resilient person to continue job hunting in the face of so many rejections and under so much stress. That’s not the same courage it takes to pack up your things and travel but it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted either.
Steve also goes to say that ” It’s not something that requires much thought or planning.” Really? Anyone who has ever written a resume, and not just a mediocre template-based resume you copied off Google, will tell you that it requires plenty of thought. They will also tell you that it takes plenty of planning to familiarities and fully understand the company and position you are interviewing for. Anyone with experience will tell you that deciding to “just find a job and work” takes A LOT of thought and A LOT of planning.
Lastly, Steve says, “It’s the people who choose not to take a career break and travel but continue with the 9-5 daily grind all their lives who have taken the easiest option.” Coming from someone who works 50 hours a week and commutes 13 hours every week, there is nothing easy about the grind. Lack of mental stimulation and passion can wear away on you physically, mentally and spiritually. You become a shell of the person you once were. But I guess compared to roaming free on the road, grinding 50 hours a week is definitely the much easier option.
Do you think traveling is the easy way out?