It was with a sigh of relief that I unpacked my bags after a year teaching English abroad in Seoul, South Korea. Yes, the kids were cute. Yes, the food was amazing. And no, I never regret the privilege of being able to experience a new culture and travel somewhere new with a moments notice.
But I was about to turn 25– and it was time to take charge of my career! Boss lady was coming home to take Toronto by storm and become the successful billion-dollar something that she was supposed to be! (** specifically what “something” is irrelevant at this point, it’s the billions of dollars that matter anyways).
Jet lagged and worldly I metaphorically flipped open my non-flip iPhone dramatically and scrolled through the list of acquaintances I absolutely needed to catch up with.
It turns out, however, that people enjoy the company of those with similar interests to their own. My interests? Travel. My friend’s interests? Travel.
London, New York, Miami, Shanghai, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Seoul, Wellington, Banff, Kampala and Tangana (one friend in particular who has just embarked on a 15 month tour across the globe)– shout outs to all my homies who have trouble staying put!
With few friends left in Toronto, it made me wonder in a city that people work to move INTO, how most of my friends seemed to have moved OUT.
It turns out us millennials are not only lazy and entitled, but we have some sort of attention deficit when it comes to our surroundings– according to the World Travel Organization at least. Around 20 per cent of travellers are youths. Not only that, there has been above average growth in world travellers since the Global Recession in 2009–with an increase this year of 4.7 per cent (that’s over 1 billion travellers in 2014…). Bigger, more exotic, and more Instagram-worthy is the goal.
Either that or a combination of social media, more cultural awareness and less jobs at home have us all tossing our old-fashioned paper resumes in the air running for the hills (what’s paper?).
The trend is so pervasive that even marketing companies have started to try to peg us down as we fly from place to place. Most of these “characteristics” still involve us having low attention spans, yet the miraculous ability to stay connected to the internet no matter how remote our locations.
The thing is, most of us aren’t all about lazing around on beaches and partying the night away (though admittedly this still happens, and I love that it does). Mostly, we’re getting to know locals, experiencing new foods, and having adventures in a country’s natural environment.
Through it all, we gain a solid grasp on our own independence as young adults.
We’re seeking experiences over mortgages and scratching that itch to do stuff before settling down. As everyone knows, money is here today gone tomorrow according to the banks of America circa 2008, but experiences last a lifetime.
While my new challenge for myself is to stay put, it’s pretty fun knowing that at least one of my friends in the world will be awake at any given moment in case I need to catch up on the life of those who wander–though sometimes I will need a reminder of where in the world they currently are.