More and more young people are embracing a travelling lifestyle and setting up roots abroad.
Every single one of us now has a best mate, a sibling or a significant other that they best recognise through a Skype video and look forward to lengthy emails and cool postcards from.
Travelling makes your world bigger, while at the same time making the planet itself seem much, much smaller. It is equally terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.
‘Courage’ is secondary to the desire to explore
When people go travelling, others say how brave they are to step into the unknown.
Making such a big jump however, makes you realise how ‘courage’ is secondary to the desire to explore, not a motivator but instead a companion you’re obligated to take along.
As global travel becomes more of a possibility for all of us, here at Cooler we’re wondering whether travel really is so good for the soul and whether everyone should pack a bag and head for the hills at least once in their lifetime.
So we went and asked four ladies who decided to go and do it....
The One Who Went To Find An Adventure
"The world is a madness, you have to at least try and explore it" says Emily, currently training to be a diving instructor in Panama.
After getting a job in copywriting in London and living in the south of the city for a year, Emily got an itch to change the path which she was going down.
"London just didn't tick all the boxes and I know I had to go see what else was out there," she says.
The world is a madness, you have to at least try and explore it
"Permanently travelling is difficult for a lot of reasons so I don't think it is for everybody, but I guess I do believe that you won't know if it works for you unless you try it out."
Travelling can be hard and lonely. It can change your thinking about what's important to you and it can change how you live if you return to your old life.
"It's made me cherish England more, I miss things I didn't even notice when I was there" says Emily. "If I find a new place out here where I could see myself settling down with a family, I'll stay. If not, I guess I'll return to England."
The One Who Might Never Come Back
While some people travel across many places in a short amount of time before returning to their homes and families, others make the choice to go down a scarier route... The daunting one-way ticket.
Charlotte planned to move to London after university, but had the feeling that she was making a mistake.
She made a sudden decision to buy a plane ticket and take a job in Mongolia.
Maybe the children I teach will, as the elite, change their countries for the better
“I’ve had an urge to travel for years and years" says Charlotte. “While I was at university, it became clear that life for me would be better travelling abroad and making money as I go, rather than finding a job I don’t care for that much"
Charlotte planned to stay for one year in Mongolia, but three years later, she is still living and teaching there.
“Although I work for international schools with generally wealthy children, education is important, especially in third world countries."
"Maybe the children I teach will, as the elite, change their countries for the better and hopefully I teach them to have compassion and a sense of responsibility instead of entitlement and disconnection with people who are different from them."
So how do you handle it when your idealised view of a new culture doesn't match up to the reality of another country?
“I am often frustrated beyond belief with horrific air pollution, ridiculous traffic and the strange bureaucracy that is prevalent here, but it is FUN. It gives you lots of stories to share."
“Perhaps I’ll never come back to the UK to live permanently. I just can’t imagine what I’d do there anymore."
The One Who Jumped On A Train To Paris
“Moving abroad opens your eyes to the rest of the world and your options" says Jo, who has just returned from a year and a half living in Paris.
When Jo realised that moving to another country wasn’t as complicated as people made it out to be, she decided to go for it,
“I had no paperwork, I just got on a coach from London and arrived" she says, “and then I just lived in Paris!"
I had no paperwork, I just got on a coach from London
While moving from one country will always be daunting, and quite rightly so, moving will always seem like a smaller deal in retrospect.
“Travel opens your mind. Getting out of the UK for a little while helped me get off the 'be a graduate-find a job-find a better job’ train in the UK."
“I think leaving that 'train', makes you realise the things you value in life. Rather than what the others think are important to do, or the right way to go about things."
The One Who Went To Travel The World
Kate decided at the end of university that wasn’t ready to enter the world of work until she’d had an adventure. So, she spent a year saving her pennies until she had enough to travel around the world.
“I think everyone should travel" says Kate, “It gives you appreciation of other cultures and ways of life of you can’t get from just learning about them in a detached, theoretical way."
Travelling with one other person, she hopped from one country to another for seven months.
No one is ever really prepared. I think the hardest part is just taking the plunge
“It’s a bit like uni. No one is ever really prepared. I think the hardest part is just taking the plunge, but when you get there, you manage because you have to. It gets easier as you go."
While Kate is now back in the UK, the experience has opened her up to the option of moving away from the UK in the future.
"Travelling has taught me to be more laidback. Before going travelling I'd panic when stuff didn't go to plan, but after going to South East Asia I learned to let go more and just go with the flow."
Is Travelling For You?
Travel is becoming cheaper and more accessible, no matter what kind of budget you're working with.
Every person we chatted to about making the leap agreed on a few important things....
You will become more self sufficient, you will let go of silly worries, you will question what you think you know, you will change.
Travelling and moving somewhere new is hard and perhaps not everyone will deal with the lifestyle long term. But how will you ever know for sure if you could, unless you give it a go?
You know, there's a whole world out there...