It's that time of year again. Your final year of university is coming to a end.
All those months of toiling over your dissertation, panicked all-nighters, endless days of revision - it's finally coming to an end. For good.
Once graduation day is over and the photo of you in your gown is firmly placed in your parents' living room, then comes the big question: now what?
Once graduation day is over, then comes the big question: now what?
Travelling has always been at the back of your mind. If you've never left Europe, surely now's your chance?
We're not saying leave uni and become total useless bums. Parents hate that kind of sh*t.
We're saying now is the time to explore who you want to be before you rush into the big wide job-hunting world*. Interested? Read on...
P.S. Before you set off, make sure you read these very wise words about things you should consider before travelling the world...
*It's just our opinion, lots of people will think this is total bollocks.
The Job World Is Overrated
Yes, all of your friends are manically trying to squeeze grad scheme applications in between writing their dissertation.
Guaranteed half of them will sign up to jobs they hate just because they think they should finish uni with a job, in order to become a successful human being.
This just isn't true.
The first week of any new job is always exciting. But after six months, when you're sick of commuting at 6.30am and would rather eat your left shoe than go into work, you'll wish you thought about what kind of job you're applying for a bit longer.
Save Lots Of Money In Advance
The job world might be overrated but no one wants to be sat in their parents' house broke and unemployed.
The novelty of scabbing food out of your parent's fridge and watching The Big Bang Theory all day long starts to get boring after about.... two days.
Do get a job - but make it a fun one, like watersports assistant in Greece. Yes, you'll get paid sod all, but at least you're getting a tan while you do it.
Otherwise, get a job near your hometown that pays well. Work your butt off for six months until you've saved enough money for six months of travel.
Then say sayonara to the grey British Isles!
All Your Uni Friends Will Scatter, Where Will You Go?
One of the saddest things about leaving university is realising that you will probably never live in such close proximity to your best friends ever again.
How will you cope without being able to walk to your friends house in two minutes for an Indian takeaway and an evening of Take Me Out?
It's a sad, sad world we live in.
Accept that you friends will scatter across the country like discarded sweet wrappers and - in the words of my mother - plough your own furrow.
You Might Not Get The Chance To Do This In The Future
You do know what career path you want to take? Congratulations!
But wait a second. Once you step down this path, it's very hard to get off the treadmill and err.... just bugger off to Indonesia for a month
If you've put in years of hard work, time in the office, butt-kissing towards your boss, it's unlikely you're going to want to ditch all that in favour of a plane ticket to Australia. Not when you've come so far.
Take the time off now, while you can. I know a woman who spent two years travelling the world. Now she works on a travel magazine, thanks to all her worldly experience gained from globetrotting (and a great deal of journalism training afterwards).
Who said you can't have your cake and eat it too?
You Should Live In Another Country Once
"Travel is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer," a wise woman once said.
Everyone should live in another country once, if they can. It's important to understand that the way you live isn't the only to way to live.
Don't just head for the nearest Westerner hotspot and hang out getting drunk with other people from the UK.
Ingratiate yourself in a community. Learn a language. Understand what it's really like to live in a place that's less fortunate or just different to your own.
Do Something Good For The World
There's no point just being the world's tourist and learning or contributing nothing to the countries you're visiting.
Travel mindfully. Keep your brain switched on. When you see tigers kept in captivity, stop and think for minute. Is this something you should ethically be taking part in?
Do something positive while travelling - whether it's volunteering to teach English or working on an organic farm as part of a conservation project. Ethical Traveler is a great help for choosing what to do.
There's a good article here by Nomadic Matt on thinking carefully about how you travel and whether what you're doing is really effectively helpful others.
You Don't Have Commitments Right Now
There's no mortgage hanging over you. If you've not got kids, then there's no one to feed apart from yourself. You are (relatively speaking) commitment-free.
If you're going to travel at any time in your life, now is a really good time.
Later in life, you may have a serious partner or a job you really love or kids who can't be pulled out of school on a whim.
Time is of the essence. Go now.
Build Your Skills Along The Way
Everyone dreads that feeling of going to a job interview and being asked, "So, what exactly did you do on your gap year?"
Spend your time wisely. If you think you might want to be a photographer, invest time in taking great photos. Want to be a writer? Start a blog - and stick to it.
Even if it's something broader like scientific research or accountancy, there are plenty of ways to weave this into your travels.
Then you'll always have an answer to that probing question from prospective future employers.
Rent Is Crazy Expensive
Have you even looked at the rent prices outside student towns? Say goodbye to your weekly Starbucks and gym membership.
You will be skint and likely to spend the majority of your salary living in the city.
Save all the stress of finding a flat for later and enjoy sleeping in £2 per night hostels in Thailand while you can!
You'll Regret It If You Don't
If not now, then when?
It's time to say goodbye to essay deadlines, library angst, irritating housemates and grey skies.
Plan yourself the adventure of a lifetime. We promise, you won't regret it.