As a kid all you hear adults say is to follow your dreams. Mentors repeatedly tell blossoming teenagers how unique they each are, to encourage their ideas about the future. Once we reach the meek age of 18 a pesky little voice encourages us to rush and figure out the next step to becoming successful. What the voice doesn’t do is encourage students to do something off the beaten path and to use this free time before the real world begins to go on an adventure.
After four years at a university, young twenty-somethings all around the nation scramble to plan out their next moves. Pressure builds as graduating students are constantly questioned as to what they will do next with their lives. Where am I going to work? Where am I going to live? Who am I going to live with? How am I going to pay for my car? These questions are constantly scrolling through the heads of college students everywhere.
Once out of school, a former student’s success is measured by salary and job placement. The guy who scores the big executive job with a six-digit salary will be considered by most of his peers as more successful than their buddy who is taking a victory lap back in school. But, what if our idea of success is wrong? What if instead of searching for executive jobs like four leaf clovers, we didn’t look specifically for anything at all, we just searched. After all, why is it that we are hurried to grow up so quickly?
Many young European students take what is called a “gap year” after they finish their education. During this year, young adults travel with friends all over the world. Whether going on a biking adventure through an entire continent or doing manual labor to make money while climbing in Nepal, these young people are making the most out of the youth that they have left.