|Atop Mt. Tamalpais viewing San Francisco|
Have American's lost their sense of adventure?
As a college student I have accomplished a lot. I completed 6 internships at many large news stations, have been a part of student government and won countless awards and scholarships during my four years in college. I always prided myself on my hard work ethic, but now that I am close to graduation I am second guessing whether or not I want to continue this back breaking work ethic or if the career I am in is really what I want to do.
You see, I am living what many Americans see as the traditional road; work hard, get your degree, get a job, get a mortgage, raise a family, etc. That is a very fine road to take if that is what you wish to do, but do most people choose that path or simply accept it as the status quo?
Times have changed very greatly from when young adults my age would choose to travel the world in their early 20's, or join the military or simply something new. The Beatniks of the 60's/70's embodied the spirit of pure adventure and would simply visit new places just to explore. Fast forward to 2014 and all my friends talk about is how they are stressing about finding jobs, fretting about interviews and pacing back and forth doing what many people in their senior year crisis do; worry about what to do with their lives. It has taken a while for me to figure out what I plan on doing immediately after college, but the answer was so simple.
I watched a video from the late philosopher Alan Watts who asked the simple question "What would you do if money where no issue? If you knew you could not fail, what would you like to do with your life?" It is a question that many are afraid to ask because they afraid to not follow their dreams. Afraid of disrupting the status quo, afraid of what their parents will say and ultimately afraid they will not achieve it. I promise not to be one of those people.
Ever since I was a child I have had a passionate love for writing. I would write in a journal when I was in elementary, started my high school's newspaper and continued my writing through blogs and essays in college. If money were no factor I would continue doing what I am currently doing write now; writing.
My newest passion I only recently discovered, but man, she has me head over heels for her. Travel was never an option growing up in my tiny town of 5,000. I would see the same faces and places day after day. Many in my town also have the notion that there is no escape and many never leave.
Ever since I traveled to Europe after my graduation from high school I wondered what else I missed out on. I felt an interconnectedness with the rest of the world that was so beautiful I can't even begin to describe it. The world is so immense and wonderful but most shocking was not the unfamiliar terrain or differences in culture, but rather how warmly similar these people were to me. Although thousands of miles away you could still recognize a friendly smile, a laugh, a display of affection, a moment of sadness and pure moment of joy regardless of ethnicity. If money were no object I would travel the world and immerse myself in the global ocean and learn new cultures while meeting new people.
Eureka! I had found the two things I was passionate about and figured out a way to put them together. After graduation I will fulfill my need for travel by spending a month in Thailand and, if money permits me to, I will continue to travel from country to country until the money runs out. I will also fulfill my need to write by completing my childhood dream of writing a book about my travels and hopefully encourage others to expand their minds by expanding their perception of the world beyond the US border.
I have found my long-lost sense of adventure and hope others will do the same. These are difficult times to be a college student and there are many reasons not to embark on an adventure such as family issues, financial issues or fear. However hopefully my book, blog and travels will encourage others to think about what they truly want to do and whether or not they are following the path to reach those dreams or if they are simply taking the well worn path because it is easy.
Many other countries encourage a gap year to follow their dreams, but we do not. Many other countries encourage their citizens to learn multiple languages, yet many in America refuse to do so. Perhaps this is the reason why only 33% of American's own passports.
Many of my American friends have never left the country where as my friends from Europe, Africa and South America have visited multiple. I truly believe that our culture and geographical location actually discourage travel and hope to change that. My book and blogs may not get many views, but hopefully the stories I will share may spark at least one person to think differently.
My questions for readers to think about and comment below are:
Do you think America's culture encourages or discourages travel abroad?
If money was not an object, what would you like to do?