I recently saw an article from the Mail Online pointing out a lot of facts and figures stating that travel may not be a good life choice after all. Firstly coming from someone who has thought long and hard about travel after graduating I was surprised to say the least by the statistics they claimed to have gained. But there’s always two sides to every argument and although I’m sure there statistics have merit, like the young wanderer I am, I obviously disagree.
Firstly the point that “29% are sick of their friends travelling stories” I can see this from both sides, but the truth is when your inspired by something you want to share it. Yes it can be annoying and yes it may get tedious but surely it’s better to have a conversation about seeing the world than what the weather may or may not be doing today. Surely this says something about us as people and not the stories we have to tell.
It seems that the overall consensus of travellers (specifically young travellers) come back from their travels riddled with “crippling debt, tropical diseases, questionable hairstyles and STIs.” Well yes maybe a couple of them things will apply when you land on home soil but surely as a young free spirited person (as travellers usually are) you would do that no matter where you are in the world. I have dyed my hair every colour under the sun as a teenager and didn’t leave the country once! As for crippling debt, if (like me) your a student, taking a gap year or a graduate wanting to travel before your career your already going to have that hefty debt on your shoulders, yes it’s depressing but blame the government for that one! If you have saved up enough money to travel the world then why shouldn’t you go out and enjoy it? How many times do you hear someone that’s now settled in their life say ‘I wish I would have done that at your age’ I for one don’t want to be saying that to my Grand kids. As for STI’s… well if your gonna sleep around you’ll do that at home…each to their own.
As for the point that “60 per cent of people admitted it didn’t enrich them as a person” what did it do then? Make you a worse person? I find it hard to believe that these people didn’t learn one thing whilst on their travels, I am in no way well travelled and I feel compelled every day by where I have been and where I want to go. Ok so you may not have become a better person but you’ve got to have gained something from travel even if it’s a kick ass recipe from a fellow hosteller, or how to get really drunk on 10 euros in Poland. That’s something right?!
My main peeve about this article was that “14 per cent said they struggled to get a job on their return compared to non-travelling friends” so as Anastasia from Gallivant Girl pointed out, that means 86 percent said they didn’t have a problem. If that was the statistic we were told I’d be feeling pretty optimistic about my job prospects after travel. The world is a pretty small place in retrospect, if you can show employers you have a good view of the world then how can that be a bad thing? With social media taking over the business industries it’s easier for companies to have a global impact on the market rather than being based primarily in one place. Knowing what makes different parts of the world tick can only be a good thing right?
So the truth about gap years is what you want it to be, travel is what you make it, not what a bunch of statistics tell you to make it.