Why you should travel while you’re young

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travel while you're young
Young and carefree

My heart ached a little when I read it:

And then, my last day in Bali, I thrust my backside up and my head down into downward dog to start off another Vinyasa flow. I had spent the hour before class sipping a smoothie and listing the pros and cons of different choices, a favorite exercise of my anxiously logical former self. And then I let myself open up and simply see what the universe was telling me….

…That was it. A trifecta of nudges, the universe calmly but surely telling me what was next: my intuition knowing that I need a little lightning in my life.

I’m moving to New York City.

My aching heart had nothing to do with the fact that Christine Camorose is moving to New York City (I’m actually over the moon for her), but everything to do with the fact that I know I can’t do a downward dog and receive a message from the Universe and then go with it just like that.

It’s not that I don’t believe that is the way we should receive our answers in life and then act upon them. I really do. I believe the Universe does send us notes every day and steers us on our destined path. I know it does for me.

It’s just that I miss being able to get those answers and then act confidently on them immediately.

I can’t because I have children.

Travel while you're young
Yes. Sometimes Craig is my third child!!

And with that comes a hundred questions, a thousand doubts, a million complications.

Even typing this that little voice inside my head shouts, “That’s B.S Caroline, that is totally your fear talking. You can do anything you want. If the Universe is providing the answers it’s because it knows you can do it and you’re meant to.”

I absolutely agree.

But that doesn’t mean the questioning and the doubts go away. When you have tiny hands tugging on your pants and reaching out every minute of the day for you to feed, clothe, bathe, provide for, protect, and love then you know that every decision you made comes attached with a weight of responsibility.

A responsiblity that runs so deep and wide you know one bad move could alter the direction of the life you created and love with an ache that can never be described or understood until you have your own.

I was a travel-on-a-whim girl; a girl who trekked through jungles, drove around on the back of African pick up trucks with the local villagers, was kidnapped on the back of motorbikes in Indonesia, and arrived in major cities without a cent to my name.

I know I can do all that:

Be brave. Be daring. Take risks. Break the mould. Light my life on fire and all the rest.

But now.

I just can’t make it that simple in my life anymore.

We still travel with our children.

We find a way to make it work for us and we’ll never give it up. We’ll never tell other families to not do it or to ignore the notes from the Universe and allow fear to comatose you.

But I know that I can never have the freedom of impulsive decision-making again and sometimes that hurts.

Travel while you are young.

Travel while you have no responsibilities.

Don’t ever stop travelling, but start it from the point of youth.

Experience that wild freedom. Know that you can follow your heart, your passion, and those voices telling you to pack your bags and move to that exciting city or country.

It’s not as scary as your mind would make you believe.

Really, when you are young what responsibilities do you have? You don’t have to worry about little tiny hands, adoring eyes and a sweet little voice calling you Mumma.

travel while you're young

All you have to worry about is learning and exploring and growing.

Figuring out your place in the world. Running with it. Sharing and loving on a whim.

Don’t think you’ll have time later, because things happen.

You don’t want those feelings of regret to seep in.

If only I… I wish I did it when I was young… Now I have the children to worry about… the bills to pay…

It does get harder the older you get and the more you put it off.

I don’t have any regrets. I started travelling straight from University and I haven’t stopped. I now get to share the world with my children and there is nothing greater.

But from time to time I do miss that wild freedom that comes with youth.

When all the doors open wide for you, and all you have to do is listen to which one the Universe tells you to walk through.

And you walk confidently through without a second thought.

Did you travel while you were young?

Or do you have regrets?

Are you going to travel while you’re young?

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50 thoughts on “Why you should travel while you’re young”

  1. I didn’t travel much while I was young. Always wanted to go on Interail around Europe. Instead I worked every hour available to me and put in extra pension contributions whenever I could.
    Then as a 50 something went on sabbatical and started drawing one of my pensions. I find that I can get by on what I earn from my pension, without the need to be a professional blogger.
    For all it’s worth, my opinion is that every age can be a good time to travel. When your children are grown and travelling independently, you will regain some of that wild freedom you long for, perhaps less acrobatic feats, bungee jumping and the like but you would be amazed just what you can do. Just make sure you look after your health whatever you decide to do.

  2. I didn’t travel much while I was young. Always wanted to go on Interail around Europe. Instead I worked every hour available to me and put in extra pension contributions whenever I could.
    Then as a 50 something went on sabbatical and started drawing one of my pensions. I find that I can get by on what I earn from my pension, without the need to be a professional blogger.

    For all it’s worth, my opinion is that every age can be a good time to travel. When your children are grown and travelling independently, you will regain some of that wild freedom you long for, perhaps less acrobatic feats, bungee jumping and the like but you would be amazed just what you can do. Just make sure you look after your health whatever you decide to do.

    1. Health is so important John! I don’t think we pay it enough attention, it effects so much. and you are never too young to start travelling which you have proven.

  3. I like you set off for the other-side of the world straight out of college –
    It offered the freedom to be who I wanted to be without family ‘expectations’ swaying what my inner soul told me.
    It also brought me into contact with people from walks of life I’d never have encountered in my closeted little home safe world, which in turn introduced me to careers I’d never heard of!

    I think there’s a nurturing time when one’s children are very small where instinctively you want to fluff up your feathers and covet them in a nest, but as their curiosity grows the thrill of sharing and showing them what the world has to offer will take you with them back out into new unexplored realms again…
    Its just there’s a time for everything 🙂

    1. LOVE how you talk about what your inner soul told you. Its so important we listen to this as that is what guides us to live our purpose for being here. WE can’t contribute and live a full life until we learn to do this.
      I love looking back on my travel life and seeing all that it has taught me about myself and the world and I am so so grateful. I couldn’t even imagine what my life would have been like if I never travelled. So one dimensional

  4. Hi Caz, great advice … but how do you tune in and listen to the universe when the mind is full of thoughts. Sometimes I find it hard to listen to intuition when there are so many things going on and Im like wait is that a sign? Or am I telling myself that? How do you clear your mind to receive the truth?

    1. GREAT question Megan. Our thoughts are so great at covering up the truth and that inner voice we should be listening to. Once you train your mind how to do it the notes from the Universe come pretty clearly and will help you to know what to do.
      First thing is to notice where the thoughts and feelings are coming from. If it is coming from your head, and often your heart- do not listen to them. These are the voices of fear and insecurity. If it comes from your gut and is a powerful feeling that makes you feel good, calm and comfortable then you have received the right message.
      For me the best way that has helped me tune in is meditation. It’s not easy and once you start the thoughts will attack you because they don’t like to be silenced. Don’t fight it or stress out. Pay attention to the thoughts, notice them, say “Wow isn’t that interesting another thought” and then let them pass on by.
      It’s just a matter of practice.
      Another thing is to ask yourself, “If there were no limits, what is it that I would truly want to do.” More than likely you will have your answer

      1. Hi Caz, thanks for the advice! I got into mediation once after interviewing this group of NYC-based transcendentalists who follow Sri Chinmoy, heard of him? So, I’ll have to get back into it. I find that New York is a very thought-full city because the energy is so intense all the time. I’ll give it another go then let you know what happens; I have a few major decisions to make coming up. Thanks for the great read and advice!

  5. Sheila Kartika

    That’s exactly what my married colleagues always told me, Caz.” Go and travel while you can, while you’re single and have no kids.”
    I’m lucky enough, even though I don’t do long term travel but I just experienced my first solo-travel to Vietnam last April. That was such an opening-eye moment for me. I’ll travel more but what makes me think twice now is not children but my parents. I’m the only child in my family and still live with my parents (here in my country it’s usual to live with your parents until you get married). My parents’s health make me think twice before i decide to travel. But hopefully next March I’ll do Southeast Asia trip. *finger crossed* 🙂

    1. I hope you get to do your South East Asia trip. Keep focusing on your dream and taking small steps every day. Leaving family behind can be a tricky situation which is what makes a lot of people decide not to. I think you have found a way to make it work for you though. short trips here and there. Perfect! There are always ways to adapt to make it work for you and your situation.

  6. Completely see all your points here. We are starting our travels this September and at 23 and 24 years old I know that this is the best time to be starting a low budget backpacking trip through Europe and Asia. As you said in the post the “freedom of impulsive decision-making” is what we have now and with time/age that freedom starts to disappear, whether it’s because of work, kids, other life commitments etc. Only 2 years out of college I already feel like I have less freedom than when I first stepped foot into my dorm so I completely agree with your post here about traveling while you’re young and free of responsibilities.

    1. Oh you are going to have so much fun. You’ll start to taste that freedom again once you hit the road. Travel is such an extension of the wild college days. I went straight from college to travel and so my life has always been this one rolling movement of trying to avoid responsibilities!!! Once kids came though there was no way to avoid them any longer.

  7. I traveled when I was young and then waited ten years to do it again. Of course I had little holidays here and there but not the big adventures I craved. It was the thought of impending motherhood that urged me to do one last adventure – although the last one isn’t over quite yet.

    1. Keep on living the adventures until your spirit tells you its time for a new one. Every path you walk along is the right one whether we recognize it or not.

  8. Travel while young is critical in my view. You have to see the world. You have to know more than just your little corner of the world. It doesn’t mean you can’t love your home, but you can love lots of places. Learning – I love learning. And I think that came from travel.

    I hate that I’ve been unable to travel for years now. It drives me crazy sitting in an office all day pretending that I’m happy with this life. But I am finally starting to see the light at the end of my current tunnel – finally seeing a way out of the unavoidable bogged down way that my life has been. It’s so close now! But that is the worst that travel has ‘done’ to me – and it’s never bad to know that you shouldn’t settle for something that isn’t fulfilling your dreams.

    1. Love this comment Vanessa and so agree with you. I always knew that I could not let my only experience of life be from my one small little town in the world. There had to be more out there for me to discover and learn about. That is what keeps driving me to see and do more. I think once you’ve lived this life for so long it is impossible to live in anyother way.
      I so understand that feeling of being driven crazy and stuck in a life you don’t love. So many people don’t understand why you can’t settle, but they don’t know what you’ve seen and done and how that has changed your spirit.

  9. Is it about being young or about having less responsibilities? Because to me those are two different things that do not always come as a pair. There are plenty of people who are ‘young’ and around my age (20) that already have kids, spouses, cars, student loans, sick relatives, etc. Similarly, there are plenty of 35-year-olds who haven’t settled down and have about the same level of responsibility as someone fresh out of university.

    1. Of course it’s about less responsibilities but the majority of people who are young have no responsibilities. And the older you get the more those responsibiliteis come so my point is to start when you are young because you never know what will happen as you get older. I am sure those who are 35 without responsibilities probably didn’t anticipate that would happen so why wait until that age just in case you do happen to be childless and carefree. Travel helps you to grow as a person as well and teaches you things about yourself and life. You’ll learn more than any other experience, so why wait until you are 35 to do that- when you are a lot more set in your ways. So it’s not completely about responsibilities.

  10. Definitely travel while you’re young and without responsibilities, and then keep the travelling spirit alive. When we had children, we kept on travelling because of Dave’s job as a geologist – but living somewhere and travelling are two different things, and with children you have so many more responsibilities. You also become a little more fearful and watchful, so that free-spiritedness wanes somewhat. Now we’re older we approach travelling in a less ‘gung-ho’ way, but the plus side is that you have more wisdom to understand your experiences, and in many ways your powers of observation and areas of interest are much wider too.

    1. I love how you get to see the world in a different light as well. It’s fascinating to see how children observe the world and everything become quite new to you again.
      Iv’e certainly become a lot more fearful and watchful now when we travel with our girls. It’s just that Mumma Bear instinct

  11. I am really blessed because I AM traveling while I am young. We are thinking of having kids soon (I am 30), and while I am looking forward to the blessings that children bring, I am becoming more and more aware of the price that those blessings carry.

    We are still planning on traveling once we have kids (I refuse to believe those that tell me that once we have kids, travel is over) but I am worried about missing my freedom too much. Sometimes, it makes me wonder whether kids are worthwhile; whether it would be better to keep that freedom. I don’t know if I have come up with an answer to that question yet.

    1. There is a huge price that your children carry! It’s all worth it and you love them so much but there are days when they are rolling around screaming on the supermarket floor that you question your sanity and contemplate handing them back!!
      Oh that is right you can’t. lol I NEVER would but you will miss your freedom at times.
      I say kids are so worth it, but you definitely want to be sure about it. And you can still travel with your kids, despite what everyone will tell you

  12. I’ve just shared this post on my personal facebookn account with a message to all my friends at home who think that careers/mortgages/babies are things they have to have NOW instead of travelling.

    I’ve had a few conversation with friends in the past and it’s always the same “oh yeah, I’ll travel one day” and I’m always like, “When? When you’re 10 years into a 25 year mortgage with a baby and a job?!”

    I’m so glad I travelled now and didn’t wait because I could have so easily been “settling down” now instead of travelling/working around the world like I am 🙂

    Great post Caz 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing Beverly!! Im glad I could help get the message to your friends and family. We certainly know all about that!! We are always hearing it. Just the other day I copped a side comment from someone else about my life choices. Like none of your business, especially when you don’t know me that well and you’ve never left the town you grew up in!!

      There should be no delays because things will get in the way and the longer you leave it the harder it is to leave behind “settled” life!

  13. I started at 23 and am now 28 and I still haven’t gotten rid of the bug. I have friends around me dropping like flies to where they think they should be rather than where they want to be. Life is too short. Babies and a mortgage will come in time but freedom is priceless. I’ll take my children around the world for sure but I want to tell them what I got up to when I was without responsibilities if only to make them laugh! 🙂

    1. Oh the bug will never leave you Kiri. That’s it now you’ll be carrying around the babes with you when they eventually arrive- plenty of time for that yet though. Life is too short and we need to fill our lives with as much meaningful memories and lessons as we can. You can’t make it all about the stuff and the burdens- it’s far more exciting than that!

  14. I love the sentiment behind this post: start traveling young and don’t stop! I completely believe that having children does not have to be a death knell to one’s travel dreams, however, it certainly does change the way you can approach long-term travel and the way you will carry it out. I think it’s so important when we are young to take time to be completely selfish and make choices just for ourselves (consider it an investment in the future), which is something that you just can’t do once you have kids. It’s one of the biggest reason why Tony & I are taking our 12 – 18 month trip now: we don’t know what the future will hold for us, but right now, we have no kids or commitments to stop us from taking exactly the trip we want to take, so why wait?

    1. Exactly. My thing was always My twenties are for me and my thirties are for children and that’s how it played out. I think I knew if I lived my dreams and explored and learned first then I would have myself worked out by the time children came around. I knew then I could be a better person and mother for them. You have to be selfish before you can learn how to give to others.

      Starting straight from Uni and travelling for over a decade showed me I couldn’t give it up and there is no reason why you can’t continue to do it when you have kids– despite everyone telling you your life is over. It’s certainly a very different form of travel and can be stressful at times, but it is so so worth it.

  15. Ah, so true… and even after 15 years of motherhood, I so miss hitting the road the way I did before. I love travelling alone, that’s just the truth of it. Actually recently I can go for wee trips on my own and I totally love it. Travelling with all the four kids is hard in our case for various reasons, but going off with one or two is fantastic, and a real thrill. Had a great trip to Kakadu with my middle son last year.

    As a family, we do think of living abroad again in one place, and I have a real yen for that. My husband is working overseas this year, on a rotation, and maybe we need to wait until the Bigs leave school? Or not? I think it’d be so good for them and us all to get to know another country really well. Anyway, pont was… hope and pray that life after kids leave hom will be as it was when young, so much easier to be footloose and so much cheaper than travelling with the kids!!

    1. It sure is! I love travelling with the kids but I do miss those days of just throwing the backpack on and going whereever the wind blows.
      It’s hard enough with two kids, four must be a tad stressful!!
      I do enjoy those moments when I get to go away on my own. The silence is bliss not to mention a full night’s sleep!

  16. Great advice Caz! I traveled some when I was a teenager and a study abroad program in college, but then nothing major for 8 years. I was 28 when I finally left the country again, which led me to wish I had done a bigger trip much earlier, and 28 isn’t even old. And I love that you said to start young and keep traveling. So many people tell me to do it while I’m young because I won’t when I’m older with a husband and responsibilities, but really, that’s not going to stop me. Travel is too amazing to stop because we have a few more bills to pay.

    1. No you don’t have to stop!! I grew so tired of hearing that death knell! It’s lucky you and Andy both like to travel as you will continue to keep the dream alive through your married life and if/when kids come along.

      1. I’d like to also thank you for saying IF kids come along. We’re not kid people, but that’s another thing so many people just assume, that because we’re married and I guess human, that we will procreate. Then they look at us like we’re crazy or say “you’ll change your mind” when we say no.

        Sorry, a little off topic 🙂

        1. Not at all off topic. I love being a mother but it’s wrong of me to assume its the right path for every other woman. People expect everyone to follow their own path far too often. You have to do what is best for you always.

  17. Enjoyed this post, Caz! As with you, I enjoyed traveling solo when I was young, then with my now husband pre-kid, and now love our travels as a family. In fact we just got back from Bali and Hong Kong with our 4-year old–fantastic trip, and so fun to be able to share some of what I enjoyed from my trip there 11 years ago with my husband and son, plus discover new places as well.

    1. Sounds like a great trip Hilary. Travelling with your kids is challenging but it brings so many rewards. I love revisting old places too with the girls and sharing my stories. Kalyra loves hearing them!

  18. Johanna Coreas

    This post broke my heart! ='( I AM young…but I’m also a mother… a single mother. I got pregnant in high school, and I have yet to finish college. My dream has ALWAYS been to travel. And I never have. Well I guess I can’t say never, I’ve traveled to El Salvador many times (it’s my parents country of origin) but the last time I went there I was thirteen years old. So I don’t count it too much. But it breaks my heart that I will never be able to fulfill my dream anymore D’=

  19. I’m a Chinese high school student, I really want to travel around the word now but my dad and my mom doesn’t agree me to have such a long trip without finishing my collage. How can I do? If you were me, what you will do?Thanks.

  20. Okay so I really liked this article because me being someone who is about to graduate high school, I having many decisions I have to make, such as what college, what field of study and such. But these aren’t the questions that bother me the most, it whether I should travel before college or after. You see I have no idea what I want to do with my life, and I think that travel could really teach me that, but then my parents say I should go to college and get my degree, but how am supposed to get a degree when I have no idea what I want to do…I would just like your friendly advice, that is all. Thank you.

    1. Really great question Caleb and one you have to think carefully about. The worst thing you want to do is spend time and money getting a degree that you really don’t want. I think you have to go with what is really calling you and pay attention to your gut. I think if you tell your parents you are going to take a gap year to help you figure it out. A year is not that long, but it is probably your best choice so you don’t waste time at college. Have a good plan in place so you can cover your costs Be really clear on why you want to travel and what you want to experience and then just go for it. You will change and grow so much and you will have a much better chance of working out what you want to do. The best thing about travel is that it leads to so many new opportunities. STay tuned Caleb, in about a month’s time we are releasing a book which will help people plan for travel and save money on it.

  21. This is so inspiring! I finished high school last year and I’ve spent my first year of uni saving up for my Paris trip this December. It’s my first time leaving the country without teachers or parents, and will be my boyfriend’s first time leaving the country at all! I was unsure about working so much while studying, giving partying every weekend to save money and most of all if I could even go all the way to Europe with nothing but my own savings and a lonely planet guide borrowed from the library… But I was absolutely sure that I need to travel, there is no excuse not to travel when you’re 18, fit, healthy and responsibility-free!

  22. Hi there! I really loved and appreciated this post! I was wondering what your opinion and thoughts are on travelling solo when you’re only 18? Or do you have any tips or advice based off your experiences?

  23. I am 16 and I absolutely love reading your blog. I want to travel so so bad and see all that the world has to offer. It gives me hope that even though all those people tell me I can’t do it I can prove them wrong 🙂 I just have two questions. Where did you live when you were traveling for short and extended periods of time and when do you recommend starting to travel?

  24. Hi Caz
    I’m leaving University in June and seriously thinking about travelling before i get into a career however my mum thinks i should focus on my career I do worry that when I return home I wont be able to get a job! did you have the same worries or is it just me?

  25. Since I was a kid, I’ve had the urge to travel all over the world. I’ve been to Mexico quite a lot. I’ve wanted to explore Australia since I was 12 or 13 and now that I’m 20 I’m finally going to do it!! I’m going to study abroad in Australia for a year & I’m so excited. I’m saving money now and have decided that I will save money each year so I can keep traveling to new destinations 🙂 I want to explore, meet people and make memories. I don’t understand people who are only comfortable with what they know and don’t want to travel. There are so many places to explore, so many experiences to have, food that you haven’t tried, and people who have stories you need to hear. The world is big and I want to see it.

    1. Totally agree Daisy! You have the most amazing time here in our beautiful country. We’ve got so many great tips to share so don’t forget to search the site. WE’re so excited for you!

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