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I grew up in a "deaf world." My confidence was never that high, so when it came to leaving school, I had already made my mind up that I wanted a career in theatre. It was as I was finishing college that I found out how hard it was going to be to get into theatre school, so instead, I chose to travel abroad. I was not pushing my career choice aside or diminishing my decisions about theatre in any way, I wanted to broaden my horizon and gain independence and I had heard that traveling was a good way to achieve this.
So to help me decide on where I wanted to go, I headed to Olympia in London to the Travel show. As I walked into the indoor arena, I found it filled with so many stands offering trips to every corner of the earth, some just for fun, and others with specific projects and aims.
I wanted to do both; work and travel abroad. So I completed a year of VSO in Japan, then four years later decided to take the air once again to see Australia for a six-month backpacking experience. Both of these experiences were absolutely awesome, teaching me so many things. Each had their ups and downs, but certainly looking back on them nearly 20 years later, I know that I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if I hadn’t have gone.
So if you’re someone who knows exactly what for a career but has even the smallest desire to travel, then my advice is, TRAVEL. Everything about your chosen career will still be there when you get home, but if you pick your career up without fulfilling your curiosity of traveling ,then without a doubt you will regret it later in life.
I have friends who I grew up with but chose to pursue their chosen career as they left school and university. The main reason was that they wanted to go into a competitive field or there wasn't enough money for both travel and university if they travelled. Today though they admit they sourly regret not travelling when they were younger, since they have finished their degrees some have gotten married, had children, have had to leave their chosen career while the children grow up a bit, and now finding it hard to get back into what they love as work, as they have to retrain and do refreshers to essentially get back to where they left off before they had children.
It doesn’t matter what age we are, our brains will always find the idea of traveling and seeing the world as an exciting opportunity, but the body won’t be able to cope with some of the activities that could have been experienced when we were younger. So as school or university graduate in your late teens to late twenties with even the smallest interest in seeing the world, then go for it, because you never know what will happen later in life—disease, dependents, homelessness, bankruptcy, none of which anyone can predict.
Now I have been very lucky over the years. I have been to Egypt, South Korea, and quite a few places in Europe, all of which has settled my travel bug, and I have come to be content with living, working, and enjoying my own country origin. If the opportunity was ever given, I’d still love to visit New Zealand, but will I regret not going if the opportunity never comes? No, because I have seen so many other amazing places in this lifetime.
I get and understand that opportunities for careers can be limited, so you have to take opportunities as they come, but I also know that every work and job career is always being updated through legislation, business plans and strategies as well as technologies. I view careers like mobile phones or computers, some people will get the latest models as soon as they come out, while other people will be quite happy with the older models and update when three or four models have passed.
Or like a brand new car rolling out of the showroom, soon it’ll have dents and scratches then the newer models come out with the newer gadgets and gizmos. It’s heartbreaking as you wish you had waited that little bit longer or you had a little more cash.
You should never feel pressured into getting work, making a career, and having a family. Life can only be lived once, and there are so many fantastic activities to be experienced, as well as learning about the different cultures and different lifestyles. Also, there are so many interesting people out there that you won’t get the opportunity to meet anywhere else. Some may even be able to advance your career before you have even started! But here’s the key thing: in building any career for any line of work, you need to be able to network. That is the one thing that, regardless of what job you want in life, networking is the key to success.
The time you take traveling can be time well spent, considering how you will be spending the rest of your life, the career you wanted to pursue, deciding if it really is the right one. I have known people have one idea for a job before they travel, but come home with a completely different agenda. It happens. Life away from home changes you, as you mix with new people, experience new things, it can also affirm and establish you as the person you want to be.
Just think, over seven billion people on this planet. Just think what that can do for any business or career.