Why I decided to travel after graduation

As my second bachelor's degree came to an end in 2016, the question I heard most often was what I was going to do afterwards. Master? Work directly? But my answer was, "I want to travel first." The counter question: "How long then? Until the master study starts?"

The fact that nowadays many almost-adults go abroad after graduating from high school is almost a cliche by now. After graduation then actually rather not, especially if there are job offers and the grades are enough for a master's degree. But for me it was not yet the right time to exchange so much of my time for money. I first had to do the traveling thing.

The decision

I really thought about it for months – should I add a master's degree to my bachelor's degree and actually study for another 2 years?? Or a dual master? And tie myself to a company for up to 5 years, which in the worst case is no good to me at all? A Master abroad? But how do I finance that? Or should I go straight into the profession? Should I do a trainee program and try out different company departments? And if so, in which company?

There were just too many options for me. And then I threw all of them overboard, which was not always met with understanding. But I had a different dream there…

Since a good friend of mine "took off" in 2009 and disappeared to Australia and New Zealand for several years, I had this thought in the back of my mind. For years this dream has lain dormant. In 2014 I did a semester abroad in Sweden and during this time the desire to travel became even bigger than it was before.

But where did I want to go? Who would accompany me? And how should I finance it at all? How long would I want and be able to stay away? – Questions about questions.

I had several plans and ideas in mind, juggling them back and forth. Finally, I marched into the travel agency, pitched my ideas. The nice woman did not know at first exactly how she should help me there. After all, she could not take the decision from me. But I think, at that moment I already decided – it would go to Australia first, with Work & Travel for the purpose of financing.

The perfect time

They say there's no such thing as the perfect time, but there really was for me. Since my studies were coming to an end, as described above, I wanted to use my time as a student to build up a financial buffer with student jobs (and in my opinion, these are easier to get in the short term). Besides, I had been single for quite a while by then.

So it was clear: I would go on a solo trip after the age of 30. September flying. In November my mom would celebrate her 50th birthday. I wanted to celebrate my birthday, and since it was not clear when I would come back, she asked me to stay as long as possible. Then I looked for the cheapest flight offers with the most luxury (that is, it should be Emirates for my first long flight – I did not want to save money), and the 15. November 2016 thus became the perfect time.

Fortunately, I was able to get a 450 € job for the time between the end of my studies and departure and thus bridge this time well.

The end of my studies was the perfect time for me to make a cut. I know that many travel enthusiasts don't travel right after graduation because they often don't have the money, and then wish they could travel more when they get a job. Which is also a reason why I want to show you with my story on this blog that you can also travel despite having a job, without quitting.

My reasons

  • The most important reason is probably now as then: I like to travel – before Australia (or Sweden), however, these were mainly city trips, vacation homes somewhere near the beach or package tours. And that is(are) just not enough. I wanted to see much more of the world. Just with the backpack, not knowing what to expect and when it goes back again.
  • I wanted to become more open to other people – I am often shy in new situations and do not really come out of myself. In the last years before Australia I have been traveling alone more often and have worked on myself. However, there are of course many more chances to try things out on a longer solo trip – more about that in the next bullet point "Why I would do it again".
  • I am generally impatient and I believed (and believe) that a long-term trip, a lot of uncertainties and the absence of precise plans can help me enormously to work on my composure.
  • As I said, I wasn't ready to trade a lot of my time for money and to get "caught up" in everyday life. There is so much I want to discover, do and learn in the world. Today I know I can do that even though I have a job.
  • The world is so big and has so much to offer. Different cultures, different languages, different people, different jobs, a different life. And I was (and still am) insanely curious about what it still holds in store for me.
  • At the other end of the world, nobody knew me – so nobody had expectations of me, and I had expectations of nobody. It means for me the freedom to be myself, or if I want, to be someone completely different.

Why I would do it again

In a nutshell: because I grew so much on this trip, learned so much about the world and also about myself, and because I was in such beautiful places that gave me goosebumps. And of course because the world is still sooo big and I have seen only such a small fraction of it.

The reasons I gave then were like my wishes, my to-dos for the trip, and everything happened like that.

I have definitely become more open, but even today there is still room for improvement. More travels and also this blog, as well as the constant contact with people in my job help me to do this.

Also my patience and inner calmness have increased many times over. I don't need to know everything in advance anymore, I give things (or people) the time they need. Life is much too colorful to wait impatiently and unrelaxed for one thing, while in this time I could do a thousand others with serenity.

Today it is okay for me to exchange a large part of my time (i.e. 40 hours a week) for money. Of course, this is supported by the fact that I really like my job, I have a great environment, and yet I didn't have to give up traveling per se.

And yes, on my journey I had the freedom to be myself and sometimes someone else entirely. Through which I learned soo much about the person I can and want to be. It is already in me, but has not yet had enough chances to grow. Today I also give myself the opportunity to grow in everyday life, via coaching, reflections and consciously stepping out of my comfort zone.

And my curiosity to discover the world? Of course, this and the desire to travel have not gone away, on the contrary, they have become even stronger. Life is a huge, colorful adventure and that's exactly how I want to live it.