What are you waiting for before you travel?
So you're a young Singaporean professional. Go out there. Travel. It’s the best thing you can give yourself after finishing that final report you’ve spent grueling nights typing in your office cubicle.
Give yourself a break. You need it too. Don’t spend your life convincing yourself you’re a machine. Machines breakdown too.
There’s this one running notion in every young professional’s head: I will save up so when I retire, I can travel the world.
Such ignorance. If you wait to get older before you can climb the Himalayas, dive in Sipadan, dry-surf the Saharan desert, or dive with whale sharks in Donsol, you’ve probably succumbed to arthritis, high blood and high sugar count. You won’t be able to enjoy the view, see the world in that rose-tinted perspective. You'll just be complaining in your hotel and whine about life being too cruel to old people.
Often, I wonder why Asians are not that much travelers as their Western counterparts. Is it because Asian all live in places where Westerners only dream of visiting? Not really. But most of us have heads wired to the fact that we must all save up gazillions in our bank accounts before we live the nomad life.
Yes, I am generalizing, and yes, I am not considering those who live in poverty-stricken countries. How are they to travel? The thing is, I am not talking to them. I am talking to you – you reading this through your expensive smartphone and wondering how in the world did you manage to skip another holiday weekend working.
Here are the common reasons why young professionals don’t travel:
It’s expensive. Who said you should book in a 5-star hotel? Who said you have to book the best SIA flights? Travelling on a budget does not necessarily mean living off canned goods and empty stomach nights. You just have to be wise and budget your trip accordingly. There are guides for budget traveling. I’m not saying you backpack your way in Europe for ten months. Start with the nearby places/countries first, whichever is cheaper.
I’m scared to leap out of my comfort zone. That’s why the next person promoted in your office received it hands down and you didn’t: you don’t take chances. Learn to risk. That's how you can uncover secrets of this world.
I am marrying soon and starting a family soon. Bring your partner with you. You can save by splitting expenses between two people. You won't be able to travel with a baby demanding milk every hour or so. Once you're married, your focus won't be about discovering the world anymore.
Travelling is a waste of time. Not all those who sunbathe are time-wasters. Some can be contemplating on the next best Einstein theory.
So is it really more logical to travel now? Yes. If you go out now, you see the world and with each new location discovered, you’re learning more than what you're getting from your personal computer. This will eventually lead you to mature. Then you can think of saving up for the future, because everything will suddenly make sense.
Traveling makes you know yourself. The next time you’re back from that well-deserved holiday, you will have that glow in your eyes and people will notice. It’s like your reset button has been pressed. You will be processing things faster. And those emails you left unread? They will come off easy.
Alexei Que, travel writer, photographer and videographer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you want to travel.