Working at a travel company, there’s almost a guarantee that you might get itchy feet. I constantly find myself mentally adding to my travel to-do list, and with all the research into where to go and what to see in the world, it’s only natural that some of it will start to rub off. In nearly 18 months of working in travel, I’ve seen the ancient wonders of Rome, visited the Christmas Markets in Bruges and spent two blissful weeks in Disneyworld, Florida. I intend on doing more, however. I’ve still got plenty of places on my list to do before I die – from discovering the landscapes of Iceland to sipping cocktails in the Caribbean.
Its often that I hear of my friends deciding to go travelling – for the millennial generation, it seems to be a rite of passage along with getting your GCSEs or buying an iphone. I for one, have travelled – but have I gone ‘travelling’? I’d probably say no. I’ve never head off to the airport with nothing but a rucksack, filled with expectations of Thai islands and the Australian outback. I’ve been lucky enough to visit America, Italy, Spain, France and a lot of the UK, but I’ve never disappeared for a year with the promise of new adventures. I’ve never spent my time sharing hostels with strangers or spontaneously booked myself on trains without any idea of where I’d end up.
Does that make me someone who’s lived any less? I don’t think so. I’m not taking anything away from those who wax lyrical about how travelling was the best time of their lives, but I’ve still done plenty. I’ve had the best time of my life too – it just so happens that some of my adventures were had in a rainy city in the North West, gathered around kitchen tables or hiking through forests in the English Lake District. I’ve loved and I’ve lost, I’ve been rejected and I’ve gained my own independence. I’ve lived on my own on a small budget and I’ve learnt how to make my own way but often I’ve just had other priorities – priorities that often didn’t require a passport.
For the most, I think we need to remember that travelling is a privilege rather than a rite of passage. Whether you spend your late teenage years studying at university, working full time or spanning the globe, you’ll still learn more about yourself than you ever thought you would. There’s a big world out there and escaping your small town is almost guaranteed to make you question your place in it. That said, you might just as easily ‘find yourself’ stacking shelves in your local Tesco or deeply immersed in your Creative Writing course. If you’re not lucky enough to be heading off to somewhere spectacular, don’t feel the pressure – you’ll make your own way whatever path you choose.