Why I Travel Instead Of Study

I felt the pressure already a few months after graduating high school – you know that pressure, the pressure everyone gives you ‘to do something with your life’.

It didn’t really bother me back then, I just wanted to travel and enjoy life like everyone else.

Now, a few years later – 21 years old, I suddenly find myself being the only person I know who hasn’t gone back to study, or like they say themselves: “to do something with their lives”.

That’s just fine with me, but since I don’t do and feel the same as those around me, it really seems to bother them. They simply can’t understand why I don’t follow their path.

For me, there are 3 reasons WHY I travel instead of study…

1. I Want The Dream As My Reality

For me, there is no bigger regret than to regret what I never did.

Living without knowing what could have happened if I wouldn’t have chickened out, if I would have taken the safe way and studied to become something I didn’t ultimately want – would really kill me!

When we’re kids, we all have these big dreams of becoming pop stars and pilots, so why do we have to let ourselves be persuaded that we can’t do that?

And all this happens before we have even tried? From someone who never tried either?!

I don’t know what I want to be yet – and I refuse to start studying for any other reason than because I absolutely love the education and that it leads to something that I’m 100% passionate about, in other words, that it leads to my dream job.

Before that, why waste time jumping between educations when I can travel, explore and learn something real?

2. Choosing My Own Path

I believe that everyone has to create their own path in life, and as much as other people and society might disagree, you have to do what feels right to you.

And for me, travel is my call.

I don’t trust other people telling me what to do with my life and how to live it.

I think that by following other people’s advice when it comes to jobs and education, you will more often end up fulfilling someone elses dream, not your own.

I believe that the best way to find an education or profession that you love is by developing your hobby into one.

3. Better Education & Finding My Purpose

When you travel a whole new world opens up  – you see so many new opportunities, you get a chance to look around and see what is possible, new doors open up and you realize that the way they live life at home isn’t the only way.

I find that I’ve finally got some perspective on things, thanks to the past two years of full-time traveling.

I really think that traveling is the best way to find out what you want to do and how you want to live your life.

My grandmother thinks that people travel because they’re restless, that they can’t be happy with life just as it is, that they’re unhappy.

If only she knew how much you learn by traveling, how many life skills you learn that nobody ever teaches you at school or at home.

Everyone I know who has traveled says that they learned more in one year of traveling than they ever did in 4 years of studying.

Most importantly, they learn what LIFE really means – and it was never about “having an education”…

(photo credits: scubasteveoangelapennywilhelmjajepoirrier)

55 Responses to Why I Travel Instead Of Study

  1. Sandra December 5, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    what an interesting idea, I too am feeling pressure to study and get a real job but want to travel. Really not sure yet, but thanks for sharing your thoughts Sofia.

    • Sofia December 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

      Hey Sandra,
      it is a very difficult dilemma, and only you can decide what’s right for you.
      If you have already found a job or education that you really want, then go for it.
      If not, why not travel before you find out what you really want to do?

      In the end, go with what feels right in the gut 🙂

  2. Usha Amudan December 5, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    ITs so true!
    But I have to say I am pursuing something I enjoy doing as much as travelling. And my degree provides me the opportunities to travel as well. 🙂

    Nevertheless it is true, that you learn more as you explore than while sitting at your desk.


    • Sofia December 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

      Hey Usha Amudan,
      it’s great that you enjoy what you do, in the end that’s all that counts.
      If you enjoy your job or education there is no reason to quit, and getting the bonus to be able to travel isn’t too bad either 😉

  3. Anonymous December 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Very well said, Sofia. And remember, like many people have said before me, that travel is one of the best educations you can get!

    • Sofia December 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

      completely agree, thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. Jon Gorrie December 5, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    Awesome post Sofia! I agree 100%!! 🙂

    • Sofia December 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

      Thanks, Jon!

  5. Rachel December 5, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    I love this! I totally agree with you, its why my husband and I travel (even with five kids). People think we’re vagabonds, that we ‘can’t hold down a job’, or that we’re running from something or restless.

    Really, we just love the adventure and discovery, the expansion of our minds, and the
    ‘real’ education that comes from travel.

    Kudos to you for discovering this while still so young, and having the courage to live it!

    • Sofia December 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

      Wow, five kids, that’s awesome! The children will be so grateful when they’re older, having experienced something very few ever get the chance to do.

  6. GlobalButterfly December 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm #

    I think you should always follow your heart and it will take you down your intended path. Sounds like that’s what you did! 🙂

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:26 am #

      I agree Andi, every time I’ve denied what my heart tells me I’ve always screwed up, so perhaps I’ve learnt that lesson by now 🙂

  7. Brian Peters December 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    “I think that by following other people’s advice when it comes to jobs and education, you will more often end up fulfilling someone elses dream, not your own.”

    That is such a true statement I think you could have made the entire blog post that one sentence.

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:34 am #

      Haha yeah you’re right Brian, sometimes a sentence is all you need 😉

  8. Anonymous December 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm #

    Great post Sofia, from the heart. I think your first point rings the most true to me.

    One thing that’s wrong with the school – university – career path in the US is the rush from high school to college. Most 18 / 19 year olds have no bloody idea what
    they want to do with their life. The expectation to immediately start college makes no sense and is the reason many drop out or switch majors multiple times. The result? More debt to weight you down post graduation. By taking six months or a year post graduation and traveling somewhere in the world,
    you’ll learn many things about yourself – hopefully, a better understanding of what you want to be when you ‘grow up.’

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:30 am #

      Thanks Matt!
      I agree, most 18 year olds have no idea, and usually people change drastically during those next two three years in every aspect of their lives.

      The cost is definitely something to consider as well, who wants to live under a huge debt that gave you nothing in return for the rest of your life?

  9. Camila Navarro December 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    It’s a difficult and very personal question, but you don’t have to be rush. You have all your life to study and work. Because my job I can’t travel as much as I’d like to… So take your time! : -)

    • Sofia December 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

      I agree, although I sometimes feel like I’m rushing through life a little. A good thing to remind yourself once in a while, to take things slow 🙂
      Thanks for commenting!

  10. Victoria December 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    It really frustrates me how it’s almost programmed in us to be cynical about achieving our dreams. Tell someone you want to be a popstar and you’ll probably be met with someone saying “Don’t count on it”. You’re right, we’re told its not possible before we’ve even tried.

    If you don’t really know what you want to be, travel is a great way to expose yourself to everything and discover what makes you tick. Great post.

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:31 am #

      Thanks Victoria, I agree, travel is a great way to expose yourself to everything!

  11. Jorge Quinteros December 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    I read somewhere that travel is not so much a recreation but more of a “re-creation” of oneself and there’s no better moment in your life to accomplish what you’ve always had an innate passion for then now. The world is tremendously big and often contradictory but there are a lot of things that make us similar.

    For a traveler, travel is about being independent, meeting people, sharing, experiencing local things and feeling the differences. I’m not sure if I would have had the courage to ditch school to travel the world instead but I owe my interest of wanting to travel more to photography.

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 8:10 am #

      Wow, thanks a lot for sharing that with us, I couldn’t agree more!

      For me it’s actually the opposite way, I owe my interest for photography from traveling!

  12. Ayngelina December 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    There’s plenty of time for school I’ve already changed careers twice and who knows what I’ll do when I get back.

    • Sofia December 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

      There sure is! Also, I’ve found so much inspiration and gotten so many new ideas from traveling that I probably never would have thought of otherwise.

      Not only do you learn things, but you get inspired and see new opportunities and doors opening up.
      Perhaps you’ll figure out what career you want by traveling.. 🙂

  13. enrolled agent cpe December 6, 2010 at 2:35 am #

    I went to the same ordeal but mine was when I decided to leave that cubicle where I’ve been trapped to for almost four years. Of course people were asking why I chose to gave up my job especially when I was just being offered a promotion. But there are things that money and a career cannot make up for and i’m happy when I travel. Not once did I ever regret making that decision. Its been a year and I couldn’t be any happier.

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:46 am #

      Leaving a job when offered a promotion takes guts!
      I feel the same way, I’m happy when I travel, I can’t live doing something that doesn’t make me happy.

  14. Antoine Leporc December 6, 2010 at 5:19 am #

    “believe that everyone has to create their own path in life, and as much as other people and society might disagree, you have to do what feels right to you”.

    Couldn’t agree more!

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 8:11 am #

      Thanks Antione, I’m glad you liked it!

  15. Runawayjane December 6, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    Great post Sofia! It’s something I can kinda relate to. I decided to go travelling when I finished High School at 17. I spent a year travelling Oz, then travelled parts of Europe, before returning to college, to what I thought was the way to go. After two years of college (and travelling during summer/xmas periods) I realised that this wasn’t the path for me. I was right in the beginning to go where my heart left me, so I dropped out, and started a travel blog. I’m now a full time travel blogger at 22, and I couldn’t be happier.

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:48 am #

      That’s awesome, keep up the good work! Thanks for sharing your story, it’s very inspiring.

  16. Silvia Jiménez Cruz December 5, 2010 at 11:23 pm #

    Love this post! I just finished uni, and I’m training myself to become an etnographer, and definetely my biggest training has been travelling. I’m taking a year off to “develop my skills”, but really I just want to enjoy life and to make things happen for myself. This world is too big and amazing to read about it from a book! Great post!

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:42 am #

      That reminded me of the saying by St. Augustine: The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

      I guarantee that you’ll develop your skills tremendously when traveling, even if that’s not your main purpose 😉

  17. Liezel December 6, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    I couldn’t agree more, a whole new world to discover and learn from.

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 8:13 am #

      Yeah, like Forrest Gump says: Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get! Same with the world, you never know, and that’s what makes it so much fun!

  18. Dennis December 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    Great post. I wish I had chosen my own path about 25 years ago. As a teen I chose what adults around me said was the right path. Amazing how many of those adults wound up dealing with depression. They were doing life: doing what was “right.” Glad to see you are out there “living” life.

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:52 am #

      Hey Dennis,
      it’s never too late to ‘live’ your life and change your path, I think it’s great and very brave of you to follow your boyhood dream of writing – go for it!

      • Dennis December 9, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

        Thanks for the encouragement.

  19. Open Cobra December 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    As someone with 7 years of secondary education, here’s my take on it.

    1. A formal education is overrated and WAY overpriced.

    2. Unless you NEED the degree to get the job you want (e.g. doctor), there are more practical ways to educate yourself.

    3. If you really want to learn something, read books, research online and START DOING WHATEVER YOU WANT TO LEARN. Experience is the best teacher.

    4. Be true to yourself and don’t let the expectations of others influence your decisions.

    That’s my 2 cents. Happy travels!

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:59 am #

      Awesome points there!!
      It’s amazing how much you can learn and educate yourself in by researching online, and I agree, experience is the best teacher.

      Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts!

  20. Nicki December 6, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    I just recently found your blog, but just wanted to say this is great! I think WAY too many people just go to school because it’s what they think they’re “supposed” to do. Then they end up with a bajillion dollars in school loans and a job they may or may not enjoy.

    I think at the very least a gap year should be required! I say continue with what you’re doing! School will always be there when you’re ready!

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 7:55 am #

      I agree Nicki, a gap year should be required! Thanks for your support 🙂

  21. Violet December 7, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    wow, admire your courage to literally trek on the less ventured paths. 🙂 keep writing!

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 8:15 am #

      Thanks for your support Violet, I will! 😉

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 8:15 am #

      Thanks for your support Violet, I will! 😉

  22. Niclas December 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    Go -pursuit your dream. With love from home!

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 8:03 am #

      Thanks daddy 🙂

  23. Andrew Murray December 7, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    Great post. I learnt the hard way, and unfortunately gave into the pressure to ‘do something with my life’. Luckily realisation dawned upon me in good time, and I’ve never looked back to this day!

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 8:16 am #

      Great stuff, I’m glad you took that step, that takes guts, but well worth it! 😉

  24. Sarah Wu December 9, 2010 at 5:23 am #

    An interesting post. I think traveling helps you to learn different kind of experience. a good experience!

    • Sofia December 9, 2010 at 8:05 am #

      I agree, I’ve had both good and bad experiences from traveling, but every single one has taught me something.
      Thanks for commenting!

  25. Thecreativeblock December 11, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    This is how I’m feeling. I tried college for two years, but I kept changing majors so many times. I figured it was a waste to stay if I can just follow my passion of traveling instead. Hopefully this spring, I can jet off to Berlin (currently interested in Germany due to my heritage and a desire to learn languages).

    But anyways, I know how it feels. The pressures from everyone and the liberating feel of following your own dreams without caring what people thinks.

  26. Tran December 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    I wish I had taken a gap year (or years) after high school. What an enriching experience you have created for yourself at such a young age!

  27. Anthony December 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    You know when you read something or hear a song and you “feel it’s written for you?” Well…this post is one of them!

    I’m leaving for South America in November and I have been stressing so so much because I have undertook a distance university degree which requires me to be in Spain the summer after. This factor gets in the way of me not wanting to plan where my path leads and also will hurt my budget.

    Hmmmm, you’ve offered some excellent thoughts here and I’m going to have a long night 🙂 Cheers, great read.

    “When we’re kids, we all have these big dreams of becoming pop stars and pilots, so why do we have to let ourselves be persuaded that we can’t do that?”

    • Sofia January 10, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      Hi Anthony,

      I’m so glad for the way you felt about the post, I really appreciate it.
      I hope you got your head straight and have a better idea of what you want to do.

      Thanks for sharing your post, I totally agree, never let that childhood enthusiasm go!

  28. Anna Pelova January 10, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Very well said! Traveling is a philosophy… not an activity 😉