In the age of social media, where image is everything, many of us judge what we do and what we’ve already done by what we see online. How others have achieved more than us, how great they look in their photos. And for a lot of us this is daunting.
Travel is a huge part of that, particularly among those 20-somethings of the world who want to rush out and explore as much as they can. The race is on for many trying to achieve as many bucket-list items as possible. The more countries ticked off, the better.
I was definitely one of those, jumping on big tours to ‘knock off’ areas like Europe and South America to see places I thought I’d only get to once. And they were some of the best experiences of my life, as well as my many solo travels – during the last decade I visited the Pyramids of Giza, commemorated the Anzacs at Gallipoli, went to a Eurovision Song Contest final in Germany, reported from a Cannes Film Festival, and cheered on Australia’s best footballers at a World Cup in Brazil. I have no regrets about any of the travel choices I made across my 20s.
When you leave your 20s behind it’s a great chance to reflect, on life generally. I recently turned 30, and I’ve been able to truly discover large parts of the world across what I think is a roller coaster of a decade. Working as a tour guide in Europe has given me that opportunity abroad, while journalist work in Australia helped immerse me in beautiful regional areas of the country I call home.
I say it’s like a roller coaster because your 20s are where you’re trying to figure out your place in life. Some work out their career path, many of whom fail at it or get bored with it, or others wander for some time longer. Travel is either an educator, or a form of escapism (or both) – often ending with a person emerging as a better person on the other side.
Travel in my 20s was pivotal to my outlook on life. And a large part of that was leaving home, to travel elsewhere seeking work. It wasn’t my first choice, but it made me a stronger person. Getting out from a major city to see much smaller parts of Australia brought me a better idea of how the famous Outback and indigenous communities have so much to offer. I gained understanding of what it takes to keep our continent alive culturally and economically.
Then leaving Australia for overseas was a whole different step. But it’s what happens when you take that step, either for an indefinite period, or just for a holiday, that helps begin to define you and your capabilities. Travelling in your 20s – when you’re young and still finding your maturity, allows you to make mistakes, learn from them, and then laugh about them later.
Travelling in your 20s allows friendships to form that will last a lifetime. It’s often easier to make friends when you do group tours, go with friends on travels or stay at budget accommodations; you’re all like minded people. You’ll meet duds who don’t have time for anyone or who think they’re too cool for you – but let them go and find others who are worth your time. There will be bad situations, things that go wrong – but you can still control a lot of your experiences.
You find things less fearful in your 20s too – there’s a good chance you’re generally more likely to skydive or bungy jump, say hi to that person in your dorm, or try native food ranging from pasta to crickets. It’s not to say a person can’t do that once out of their 20s, but priorities start to change for any traveller the more experienced they are with exploring. This includes what a person eats, where they stay, and how long they stay in one place. And some don’t choose to travel at all later in life or can’t – so a YOLO (you only live once) attitude is a great thing.
Most importantly, travel in your 20s can figure out where you want to be in your 30s, 40s and beyond. That could be anywhere. And it helps you gain perspective of where you grew up. Whether that’s Adelaide, lucky enough to have a healthy balance of everything, or a much bigger or smaller place that shows you what else is out there.
I write this as a more biographical post because travel allowed me to gain experience ahead of what I now do through Flamboyance Tours for Adelaide’s visitors. I learnt skills from account keeping to mastering phrases in different languages, and navigating a city without a smartphone (didn’t have one in 2010-11). Most importantly I learnt what travel is about and wanted to share that as a tour guide every day. It’s about the stories you create.
When you choose to do an Adelaide walking tour with Flamboyance Tours, I help form part of your travel story. No matter whether it’s part of that mad rush to see as much as possible, or if a longer stay is planned… it’s your tale. And I don’t mean for the world to see on social media. It’s a story you share how you want with the people you want. You do you, as the cool kids say.
What have you found your best experience to be while travelling in your 20s? Would you do anything differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Missed last week’s post? Discover five amazing Adelaide lunch spots serving soup for $10 or less.
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