I apologise for being MIA (Missing In Action) for a whole week on this blog. Last week I went on a break by travelling to Penang—no email checking, no writing and nothing related to ‘work’.
It felt good to get away and live in the moment.
Sometimes, that’s what we all need as students—a break. We’re overwhelmed and overloaded with assignments, lectures, events and activities and what not, 24/7. There’s no time to breathe.
It’s great to have a can-do attitude and a vibrant lifestyle, but at times it gets to you… in a harmful way. It can cause burnout. It can paralyse you. To constantly be chasing for something to do, for success, can sometimes lead to procrastination, to that fear of failure. Because, at some point, it gets you thinking too much: you’re doing so much and yet it never seems good enough.
Now, let’s talk about travel as being the ideal means to take a break. It’s thrilling to be able to get away from the city and venture into an unfamiliar place. Like an adventure.
Most of the students on my campus I know have travelled at some point during their time at university. Sometimes alone, at other times, with their friends. And whenever I meet those people and they ask me what I’m planning to do after I graduate, they go on to tell me to travel.
Summer break? Travel!
Mid-semester break? Travel!
Don’t settle for a job yet, travel first!
My answer to them would usually be: if only I could.
But for some people, this answer doesn’t make sense.
Have you ever heard of the phrase travel peer pressure? Well, that’s what it is. It’s not wrong, because it doesn’t express any bad intentions, but it is peer pressure nonetheless.
And I’m sure you’ve faced this too. It doesn’t have to be your peers; you can easily feel that persistent need to travel in articles and on Instagram. Travel is the new trend for young adults.
But it doesn’t mean you have to do it.
Not everyone can afford to travel.
I repeat, not everyone can afford to travel.
Especially if you are a student.
If you’re one of those students who can travel, let that sink in for a moment. Some just don’t have the money, because all of their savings are going into tuition fees. Some parents just don’t value travel and would not fund their travel expenses. And it is not easy to work a part-time job while studying—only to end up spending all that hard-earned money on a weekend trip.
I know people who are not even interested in travelling. Everyone has their own priorities and it’s all about learning to respect that.
And if you’re one of the students who can’t, know that it’s fine. It’s okay to not be able to afford a trip to the country/state next door. You’re still a student and your money is your parents’ money. Whenever you see those beautiful travel pictures your friends posted, allow yourself to smile and be happy for them. They may be taking travelling for granted but you know how lucky they are.
Soon, you’ll appreciate every little good thing that comes your way.
When you finally get to save some extra cash for a budget trip, you’ll be grateful for every second of that trip. You’ll make sure to make it meaningful. You’ll be grateful for your own hard work and how far you’ve come.
And yes, as you may have guessed, that’s how I was able to spend 6 days and 5 nights in Penang. I was that student who’d always be pressured to travel, but my parents considered travelling to be an unwanted luxury.
I used to take travelling for granted too. That was until I had to fund my own trips. By now, my parents are probably wondering how I’m able to travel on my own without begging for money (I’m sure they think I have a rich boyfriend or something!). Well, it all paid off with all the internships and occasional side jobs I had when I was still studying.
Of course, I can’t afford to go to Australia. And Penang is still within the country. But it doesn’t matter. Only travel when you can afford to and travel to a place that’s dear to you. Near or far? Who cares? It’s not a competition. It’s not about who can go to the fanciest cities in the world.
It’s just about having fun—within your means.
So should you REALLY be travelling as a student?
You don’t have to if you can’t. It’s not going to be the end of the world. Are you scared of FOMO? Is that more important than saving for your college education?
Think about it the next time you feel pressured to travel.
[READ: Have I Given Up On Travelling?]
There’s this impression that your early 20s are your golden years for travelling. And that if you don’t travel NOW you’ll lose a huge part of yourself forever. Nonsense! Do what feels right for you.
You can still enjoy travelling in your late 20s and beyond. At least you won’t be worrying about money so much.
Of course, if you can afford to travel now, do it, and don’t feel bad after reading this post. Just know that you’re blessed. Don’t take this privilege for granted. Appreciate every trip you are able to make.
Any thoughts? Leave them in the comments below!
D. K. Waye.
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