How Travel after High School Can Help Shape Your Future

February 1, 2022 | Courtney Humes

Wondering what you should do after high school? Do you really need to go to college right away? In today’s day and age, this is a common question teens are asking themselves.  
For many high school seniors, deciding when to go to college, let alone knowing what program to take is not an easy decision. For some, going to college right away and picking a generic program, just so they pick something ends up being the answer. However, is this the right choice for you?
While there are definite benefits to continuing your education right away, there are also benefits to holding off, especially if you feel you need time to find answers and find yourself.  A great way to help you find those answers is through travel. Traveling as a young adult is a great way to explore different parts of the world, test your strengths and abilities, and discover new options and paths. 
Travel can help influence and shape your future. Here’s how:

1. You will learn life skills

As you go through your teen years, make your way through school, and get your first few jobs, you will experience a variety of situations that set the stage for building life skills. These skills, such as time management, planning, and personal responsibility are vital throughout your entire life.    
Travel enhances and builds even more vital skills. Things won’t always go as planned when you travel and you won’t always have your parents or friends to help you out. To get through certain situations, such as a canceled flight, or a wrong turn, you will become more independent, resilient, and adaptable. You will learn how to solve problems on your own and ask for help. In addition, travel will teach you how to budget your money to ensure you have enough for each day of your trip, to navigate your way through new places and countries, and to be spontaneous and open to trying new things such as foods or activities.   

2. You will build confidence, strength, and courage

As you travel further away from the comforts of home and continue to build your life skills, your confidence, strength, and courage will also continue to grow.
Over time, you will learn to trust yourself, your intuition, and your feelings. You will get out of your comfort zone and push yourself to do or try things you never imagined. You will learn more about your strengths and weaknesses, and what areas of yourself you truly want to work on or improve. Through travel, you will realize you do not have to have all the answers, and that it’s OK to change your mind along the way. You will learn to listen to your gut and be content with what it is saying.
Depending on where you go, or the type of experience you decide to embark on, you likely will not have all of the day-to-day comforts or amenities you are used to having at home. And this is ok! When you pack for your trip or travels, you will bring with you only what you can fit in a backpack or one piece of luggage. This will include clothes, a good pair of shoes/sandals, a few toiletries, maybe your favorite book, and small items such as headphones, a headlamp, and charging cables (and I suggest a travel journal).


By having only these items with you, you will learn you do not need much more to make you feel happy and fulfilled. That life can be satisfying without TV, your everyday Starbucks latte, or the latest version of the iPhone. This realization will also help reduce the pressure you put on yourself and your future life by decreasing the expectation to have certain things.

4. You will gain a new perspective on the world

Did you travel as a child? If yes, you may have had the privilege of seeing new parts of the world outside of your hometown or city. Maybe it was a road trip within your state, or perhaps travel to another country to visit family. Whether you have traveled or not, you may have the “travel bug”. The travel bug is curious and wants to explore. It realizes we are all just one small piece of this big wide world, and opens our eyes to new perspectives and ways of living.
By traveling to new places, seeing new cultures, and meeting new people, you gain a new understanding and appreciation for the different ways people live, the religions and rituals they follow, the food they eat, and their values, goals, and beliefs. Through this, you will gain a new perspective on the world and yourself. It will open your mind and heart, making you more compassionate, humble, and considerate to others.

5. You will learn more about yourself

Traveling after high school or even college is a great way to jumpstart the journey towards creating your future self. The more experiences you have, the more you learn about life, what you personally need and desire, and what will truly make you feel fulfilled. Travel creates experiences and memories that teach meaningful lessons and set you on the path you desire. It helps you define your goals and values, and determine what direction you want to go.
When planning your travel experience, look for destinations and nature-focused locations that will give you space, perspective, and time for contemplation. Find activities that will allow you to focus on and understand your mental, emotional, and physical health. By doing so, you will be able to clear your mind, appreciate all of the options that are open to you, and find the answers you seek.  With those answers, open your mind, heart, and soul, and begin to shape your future.



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