"I literally have $0.36 in my account right now." These are actually the words that came out of my mouth when I arrived in Chicago to visit friends for a short trip this past year. Here's the thing, when you're in love with travel, sometimes you do crazy things just to get out of your city, like book a trip without any actual certainty that you'll have spending money when you arrive. So, you sleep on a friend's couch, and if your friends are awesome like mine, their family makes you dinner, and you just really don't care how much money you've got to your name because you're somewhere different. Now just to clarify, I arrived in Chicago just before payday, so in no way am I suggesting that you make this a habit. The point is, wanderlust can make you do insane things, and those who love to travel tend to have life epiphanies quite often where they must drop everything and jet off as far away as possible.
How do I know this? Well, it's easy. Since starting this community, I've tried to immerse myself in travel social media. Whenever I have a few minutes, I often catch myself reading tweets, blogs, and posts, browsing photos, and using basically any form of social media available to me in order to find better ways to inspire people to see the world in a different way. Surprisingly, one of the most popular phrases I come across is "I just want to quit school and travel." This phrase appears in varying degrees, from "I'm tired of sitting behind books, I just want to get out and explore," to "I HATE SCHOOL WHY AM I EVEN HERE IT"S STUPID I JUST WANT TO GET ON A PLANE RIGHT NOWWWW!!!" Now, I've been in school quite some time. I'm a second year master's student, and trust me, I have hit many lows in my studies over the years. I became this machine that lived off of coffee and cuddled with their textbooks at night, and I knew I hit an all-time low when most of my wardrobe consisted of the same sweatshirt nearly every day because I literally had no brain power left to choose my outfit in the morning. I get it, sometimes it's hard to commit to a challenge when there's a whole big world out there waiting for you and you just want to dive into it.
Another tweet I often see is: "I just want to get paid to travel." If I could, I'd spend all my time tweeting those people back, but unfortunately I have a full-time job outside of blogging and photography, and they don't pay me to tweet "You can! You can get paid to travel!" all day. My heart sinks every time I read that statement, because I know that (1) you can get paid to travel and (2) one of the biggest ways to do so is by going to college. WOAH. I know your mind is blown right now, but just bear with me a minute. The truth is that if you do well in high school, and you do well in college, you can win tons of scholarship money toward study abroad programs, and you can essentially get paid to travel. The first time I studied abroad, I not only had enough money for my tuition, room and board, and living expenses, I had enough money to travel to over 10 different countries during my 5 month stay.
But this amazing truth does not stop there, companies and organizations pay people to travel in their careers all the time, you just have to find out what path you need to take to earn one of those positions. One thing that inspired me to join a Cross-Cultural Studies graduate program, a sector of Anthropology, was the fact that you often have to travel to other countries to study certain characteristics of society, historical perspectives, or other portions of program curriculum. However, you can find bridges to a career that allows you to travel in many college programs and career fields. What I have learned in my short college and post-college experiences is that obtaining an education can actually be one of the greatest portals to being able to travel.
So, while I can't tweet every person on the planet and let them know of the amazing opportunities that exist for them, I can start with you. Hello, reader! You are awesome! And you can spread the message too. If you know a wanderlust that wants to give up their education, give them the encouragement to stick it out just a little longer. I have learned so much by studying abroad through universities, and without my education, I wouldn't have developed such a deep appreciation for cultures that exist around the world. I wouldn't have met so many amazing people, and I wouldn't have had as many opportunities to travel. Don't ditch your school books, use them to your advantage. They could be a gateway to your next boarding pass and adventure.