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by Emma Sherman

Not all those who wander are lost

After spending seven and a half months in Australia and having only been back in the UK for seven weeks, why is it that I am already planning my next trip? Am I so desperate to get away again, to escape real life? Or am I just using my freedom and lack of responsibilities as an excuse to explore the world?

Born in the 1980s and growing up in the ‘90s, I am defined as part of the millennial generation. Millennials are a group of people full of optimism, ambition and a serious group of travellers so it would seem. Although not all ambitious in the same way. Whilst some are happy to settle for marriage and babies, some of us crave adventure and new stories. Neither of which is right nor wrong.

Growing up I thought that after University I would find my dream man, get married and have a baby. I craved a lifestyle that my parents and Grandparents had; something that I had grown up with and believed was the norm. So what changed my mind?

Well I have always been fascinated by the world and by different cultures but our generation is the first to have made travelling such an easy, everyday thing. In this modern age people are choosing to travel a lot more than what they used to. What surprised me the most when I was travelling was how many other people my age were doing the same as me. With easy access to budget-travel tools and Wi-Fi absolutely everywhere in the world (even third world countries), this has just made it easier for us to find the best places to go and to book trips in the blink of an eye.

‘The World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation found that young travelers are not as interested in “the traditional sun, sea and sand holidays” as previous generations are. They are spending less time in “major gateway cities” and instead exploring more remote destinations, staying in hostels instead of hotels, and choosing long-term backpacking trips instead of two-week jaunts. The study showed an increase from 2007 in young travelers taking trips for longer than two months, with the average trip lasting 58 days.’

Knowing what is out there and the opportunities that await me, I now long for new experiences; experiences that will help define the rest of my life, to make memories and friendships that will stay with me forever, but most importantly to teach me the lessons that I will never learn if I were to stay at home or in the UK.

My desire is to discover new things and explore unknown places. To gain an understanding of different cultures and most importantly to find compassion, compassion that has been lost along the way. There is far more value to be gained through travelling and I believe it is an important part of our development to venture out from our comfort zones. Plus how do I know where in the world I want to settle if I have never seen half the places myself?

Being financially able to buy a house nowadays is so ridiculous I could cry, and the reality is that most of our generation will never be able to afford it. So my theory is to save what I can and spend it on experiences, and worry about the serious things later on in life. At the end of the day what is a house going to bring to you when you pass, whereas travelling will bring you years of great memories and exciting stories; much more rewarding in my opinion. Not once have I met someone who regrets travelling, yet I have met many who wish they had travelled more. “Remember that money can come as quickly as it goes, but time, once it is gone, never comes back.” – Damon Brown.

It is known that people who say they will travel later in life after starting a family or career rarely actually do but those who travel first are more likely to fulfil their family or career needs after. Travelling allows me to feel more connected with the world, as I am sure many would agree. Our generation consider ourselves to be global citizens; we are no longer country specific.