Almost Fearless

8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 22

When I was 22, I wouldn’t have listened to my old curmudgeonly self. I would have said, “You don’t get it”, then put my headphones back on and headed over the Haymarket. I might have written about it on my blog over at (remember that site?) under my pen name ‘nehalennia’. 1999 was a great year, and I was going to make a million trillion dollars working teh internets. Instead I got laid off from my dot com job and ran into the warm embrace of reliable employment. So despite the fact that I wouldn’t have taken my own advice, here are 8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 22:


1. Pick a career you love; you don’t have to give into the pressure to be practical. Everyone changes careers over their lifetime; why not experiment with one that you are crazy about? Worst case scenario, you go get that crappy corporate job when you’re 28 and let the cool waters of 9-5ing wash away any memories of your failed Falafel-R-Us Gift Basket business.

2. Pay off your credit card debt and don’t buy so much stuff. Does every college do this? Offer credit cards at the student union, and in exchange for filling out an application, they gift you a candy bar? I was hungry! I was broke! Sign me up! Thankfully I was so thoroughly burned the first time, I learned my lesson.

3. Your student loans can be deferred practically indefinitely. After graduation, just call them and ask for a deferment. They will bend over backwards to make deferring easy to do. In six months when your deferment is over, call them up and do another. Repeat as needed.

4. It doesn’t cost as much as you’d think to travel. You don’t need to save $50,000 to spend a year overseas. If you’re young, willing to sleep anywhere (hello, couchsurfing!) and go to countries off the beaten tourist track, then you can survive on much less (I’ve heard as low as $1000/mo).

5. The job you have right now is not that important. If I were an employer I would only hire ambitious twenty something’s. They will knock themselves out working incredibly hard on stuff that barely matters. Try to get a 35 year old to take photocopying that seriously and you’re more likely to get your dog to iron your suit in the morning.

6. You don’t need a safety net. You can figure this out. The idea of being out there, with nothing to catch you if everything goes wrong may make your stomach do little flips, but really, you’ll be just fine.

7. This is the best time in your life to travel carefree. If you wait it’s going to be more complicated financially and emotionally. Now instead of putting on a backpack and heading out the door, I’ve got to cancel leases, forward mail, set up online payment arrangements, sell a ton of stuff, convince my family that I don’t need an MRI “just in case this idea is a sympton of a brain tumor”, and wrangle with complex stuff like dodging the “when are you going to have kids” question.

8. Did you read #7? Go Travel Now!

If you were giving advice to your 22 year old self, what would it be?


Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”



  • This post totally resonates with me. Wish I’d really known #2: I’ve spent the past 10 years paying off that $1.99 tube of toothpaste I bought when I was a sophomore and had no clue what an interest rate was.

    Julies last blog post..Tango Caribeno/Caribbean Tango

  • Thankfully I work at a credit union and I found out about #1 when I was 20 and I’ve only got a computer loan to pay with no interest! Buy something on a credit card: pay it off next paycheck!

    Anthony Connors last blog post..Departure and The Route

    • Wow, these are good ones, including Teacher Girl’s!

      I was lucky enough to travel a lot in college, but I definitely wish I’d known that I didn’t have to turn into an “adult” once I graduated. I was so worried about money and becoming successful that I denied myself a lot of opportunities all throughout my 20s.

      Now I’m making them up in my 30s and not looking back! In fact, I quit my job on Monday and leave for Madrid next Friday (although unlike you, Christine, I’m only going for a week!) Who knows what I’ll do when I get back. I’m just trying not to worry about it!

  • Oh, and when I DO turn 22, I’ll tell myself: repeat what you did when you were 21. Soon. Man, can’t wait to turn 22!

    Anthony Connors last blog post..Departure and The Route

    • @Julie: I know! It’s amazing what kind of damage you can do with a $500 credit card and complete denial that this will come back to haunt you!

      @Anthony: That’s great that you’re travelling now at 21… you’re smart for making the leap!

      @Marilyn: Thanks for the link, that’s a great resource for folks thinking of taking the plunge. Also, have to say I love Intelligent Travel! Thanks for stopping by…

      @Matt: I was actually thinking of you when I wrote the ‘how much it costs item’, because I know you’ve been able to travel extensively on a limited budget. You should write an article on the “drop dead cheapest budget for world travel”. PS Thanks for the stumble!

  • Excellent advice! I started traveling at 19, not for months on end but in between jobs and school, and it’s certainly true that as you get older it’s harder to squeeze travel into your increasingly complicated life. Plus, your tolerance for lumpy mattresses in noisy hostels tends to decrease. My husband and I have encouraged our kids to travel, and one daughter took a year off after high school and worked until she had enough money to explore Italy by train and hostel for two months. Best decision she ever made. Our younger son is looking into Volunteers for Peace, which is a huge clearinghouse for voluntourism and gives you a place to stay and usually food in countries all around the world in exchange for some labor:
    They specialize in 2-3 week placements, but offer some long-term projects as well. And you don’t have to be a teenager to sign up.

    Marilyn Terrells last blog post..Indy Adventure Contest Winner: #3

  • Hit the nail on the head! If I was 22, I’d tell myself to go travel more and play less poker!

    When I was 22, I was thinking of 401ks and careers but really, I should have been thinking about full moon raves and seeing Rome. Now, I’m living a 22 yr olds life. I feel 23 so why not act it!! Age is only a number right?

    Everyone gets on me about traveling but, you live life once! Everyone worries about money but I’ve found if you are versitile and willing to work, you’ll get by just fine b/c like you said, you don’t need much stuff!!

    ps- I’ll e-mail you re: dinner
    pps- I stumbled you !

    • Hi Christine!

      First, I felt a bit bad about bullying you with my pushy little “Go to Spain” speech earlier in the week. Travel and living abroad has changed my life… I wanted to share that with you.

      I love the list! 22 was actually the worst year of my life… there were so many things I should have known but didn’t… although, like you, I’m not sure I would have been open to the advice and good counsel of older, wiser creatures.

      Here’s what I wish I had known at 22:
      9) Instead of spending time looking/searching for someone amazing, BE amazing! The challenge is to be interesting and passionate and kind and engaged in your life. Love will come. (And it did… a little later).
      10) I wish I had known (by this I mean that I wish I had really, truly understood) that someday I would die. I would have spent less time feeling sad or bored or complaining or looking at the clock during class. Now that I’m in the middle of my life (rather than the quarter mark), I live more fully.
      11) Mistakes can be great teachers. At 22, I was terrified to screw up and this fear prevented me from taking some important risks. Now I try to learn from my mistakes and I feel less afraid to change my path, change my life. (Just like you are doing!) I’ve also learned that a lot of things can actually be fixed. If I have a conversation that goes badly, I can go back to that person the next day and say, “I’m really sorry that I hurt you. Let’s try again.” That’s so cool!

      Great post! Thanks!

      Teacher Girls last blog post..Postcards I Wish I Had Sent, Barcelona

  • Love your blog (Thanks to Nomadic Matt’s blog:) ). I’ve been reading a lot of travel blogs and researching a lot about extented travel because I too want to see the world. I’ve traveled a lot throughout the U.S. while broke when I was in college (and you are right, you really don’t need a lot of money to travel), and now that I’ve been in the corporate world for a few years, I do understand why you want to quit the corporate world and travel.

    When I was 22 I was, like Nomadic Matt, thinking about 401ks and careers, and although travel was on my mind, I didn’t think it was a practical choice at the time. Now I am at the early stage of planning my extented time off (a mini retirement from the corporate world you could say) that hopefully will take off in the next year or two.

  • you can travel for much less than 1000/month, depending on were you go. i meet a guy who was in Mongolia and he had spent ~$30 after a month. my budget in australia was ~$700/month.

    carpool guys last blog post..Montreal, Quebec to Fernie, British-colombia, Sat, 26 Jul 2008 00:00:00 GMT

  • Someday you’re going to have to do things you really don’t enjoy. Start practicing now so you don’t feel like a miserable failure when they come later.

  • I love #1!!! It kind of ties into: don’t work yourself to death! Don’t have a full time job to supplement your dream job, just do your dream job with all your heart! Enough really can be enough, and you can burn out.

  • Very good article. It’s so true what you say. I had a chance to travel, but I wish I could have travel more, if you are in your 20’s and reading this…Travel!

  • Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

  • I have been fortunate to have lived 6 years in 3 different countries between the ages of 23 and 32. The experience has changed me on a profound level. Go! Go and see this world, meet people and discover who you are! Ultimately this is your life and in the end, not a single person will care about these achievements: 401k, the size of your house, that promotion and the countless hours it took to get it, how much you drank last night and that you can do it again tonight. What will matter is, that you have willfully exposed yourself to living, learning and loving.

    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

  • I’m definitely having a quarter life crisis right now and here I am at 3:20am stumbling and I find all of you people and all I can think about is what to do next.

    I’ve been wanting to travel again and all of you are close to making me not re-sign my lease, put my furniture in storage and just go somewhere.

    I’m at my wit’s end not knowing what to do with myself –tomorrow, next week, this month, this year. I can’t really figure out what to do in the next 15 minutes. I’m jobless, brokenhearted and in debt already.

    Somebody email me with some great ideas. Maybe one of you will actually convince me to drop everything and go.

  • Well, I’d say manage that debt first because it won’t go away and if you need a sudden infusion of cash via credit card, you can do that. (you don’t have to pay it all off before traveling, you could defer or talk to your creditors into receiving a smaller monthly sum). The heartache and work situation are temporary and will change. Sorry that you are going through this though… If you are going to travel for any length of time you are going to find a job. One of my more interesting jobs was bartending at an Irish pub in Sweden that was owned by an Iranian!! No joke! …and yes I did find love there btw…

  • @Hill: I know the feeling… I would agree with raypainter’s advice, dealing with your debt should be a priority first, although it doesn’t necessarily prevent you from traveling now. I’m not 100% debt free, I still have some payments I will continue to pay while traveling. If you can find work overseas (a question you’ll have to research… depends largely on your specific ability to get work overseas (au pair? teaching english? working for a US company remotely?) and if you can manage to support yourself abroad (often cheaper than supporting yourself in the US, depending on what country you live in) and make your monthly payments, then I would say go for it!

    Traveling won’t solve your problems, but if want to do it, there is no reason you can’t make it work…

  • i’m much in the same mind set as Hill. i’m a little heart broken and frustrated with how life is going for me right now. i’m just finishing up my first year of college and i have no idea whether I should come back next year. i love the idea of traveling but i’m afraid of losing what i have here or missing something. i’m really looking for a reason to travel but i don’t know if i can justify it.

    • raypainter-
      yeah I know you are right thats why i came back after I dropped out, I hated college it is everything that is NOT me to make it short haha travel is what I want most, the only reason I want a meaningful career is because I figure I have to work at SOME point to get money so I dont die and if I have to work then I want to work in a job that I love and that I believe in. I know I cant be a travel writer if I dont travel so I know in all actuality that I wont “have” that career right now, so I am trying to think of other unconventional jobs that would make me happy and I just dont know if staying in iowa will do it, and if I stay and save then I go travel then all my money is gone and I come back to iowa again? that is what scares me. I dont know how long money will last abroad and I dont want to be right back at square one thats the only reason I was thinking of moving first, because if I lived in a warmer climate with more to do I wouldnt be as miserable in the waiting period while I saved, although I wouldnt be able to save as quickly I might find a rewarding job there that could lead to travel opprotunities or at least keep me happy while I save. I may even meet friends to travel WITH and we could split some costs. I guess I just dont want to stay put here because im afraid the longer I stay in iowa the more unhappy ill become and if the world ended id rather have spent my time in a beautiful warm place with activities to do and friends to be with than sitting here wishing a fairy godmother would save me

    • Christine, my outgoing e-mail is down… working on the smtp server…

      Jenny, I don’t want to sound preachy but you are in the best situation for saving major $$ right now. Living with your parents is the best way to save. Rent is paid, food is paid, you might even have the use of a car as well! In that setup working even at a poorly paid job will allow you to save. In less than a year you could have enough to travel for two depending on where you went.

      Moving out to Cali is the quickest way to working hard and not saving a penny. Ask yourself what your priorities are. Finish college? Meaningful Job/Career? Travel? All three? In what order? And focus on the goal…

  • Hill: I agree with Christine 🙂 , traveling won’t solve your problems (whatever they may be) and some will even follow you! What you gain by traveling is an experience and life skills that you will be able to draw upon for the rest of your life. Additionally, you never know who you will meet and how these friendships will change your life. I have many friends in Holland as a result of making a good friend from Amsterdam while traveling in Costa Rica. We all have been friends over the last 12 years and visit each other often.

    Cujo: If you are interested in integrating college and travel, why not look into a semester abroad or the semester at sea program. Most colleges have international connections with other universities and frequently exchange students. Semester at Sea is usually an around the world trip on a cruising ocean liner where between ports students take classes preparing them for the next country. The semester abroad has more cultural immersion.

    The extreme college/travel experience is the World College Program in New York. I attended this school for 4 years, living in Kenya for a year and Costa Rica for two years AND received college credit for it

    • Teacher Girl,
      I had thought about working while abroad too but when I did research and tried looking for positions alot of people i talked to told me its very hard to find work in a country where you need sponsorship without a degree (which I dont have or want) because its expensive and they would rather hire locals than bring an foreigner over. I know I could work here and save money but I hate Iowa so much and the jobs here are pointless stupid ones that I cant make myself care about, thats why I was trying to find a job that I could do in the US to save for travel that would be worthwhile and fun or connected to travel somehow. I like the idea of working with kids or animals and working outdoors, otherwise I love jobs where you go from palce to place all day and its always different. I thought it would be fun to be a professional organizer since I love to clean and organize things, or a travel agent/travel writer, but I dont know how to just go and be something like that, you dont see ads in the newspaper for jobs like those and some of that may just be because I live in iowa where everything sucks, I dont know.

  • I really enjoyed this article. I have always wanted to travel the world more than anything. I am 22 myself and so far I havent been anywhere, mainly because I have lived a sheltered life (I live in Iowa where there are little to no opprotunities) and I have no idea how to go about travel. My main concerns are A)deferring my loans since I dropped out of school what exactly do you say to the loan people when you want to defer your loans? what is the excuse you give them? and B) the fact that I had desk jobs and any job that doesnt change for that matter so I never have much money and by much i mean only a few hundred at a time. any ideas of ways to make money to travel or good jobs for a person with basically no money who wants to travel for work?

    • Christine,
      I wish people around me knew what you know because I refuse to take one of those type jobs, I hate to “work” and by work I mean a job sitting at a desk doing somethign meaningless that I dont care about and my parents keep going on and on about how i need a job but I just want to travel. I wouldnt mind “working” if it were something i believed in something to help endangered animals or something involving travel. but I hated college and dropped out so the peace corps wouldnt take me and in iowa there arent many jobs availible period, let alone in areas of my interest. That is why I want to move back to California where I briefly lived for a few months last summer, there are lots more jobs there and its a warm beautiful place, I just feel like a helpless kid since my parents dont agree with me they wont help me and I have no idea how to go about moving finding a place, and a job that will pay the rent and the student loans i have racked up because without a degree I dont get opprotunities that I feel I deserve (but thats a whole other venting paragraph haha) My dad thinks I should conform, take a desk job, make money and accept that as my life and I just refuse. Id rather anything than that. I looked into becomign a travel agent but couldnt find any clear information on how to go about that, there are some random online programs that seem fishy to me and schools in far off places that are expensive and of course I have no money and dont even know how reputable they are or if being a travel agent would even give me the travel I want. some listings I saw while in california woudlnt hire a person who hasnt even traveled outside the country yet. So I feel lost and confused and helpless and I probably sound whiny, I just wish there was a step by step list of exactly what to do so I could get the hell out of iowa and find myself in a job that i would like to save money for travel or else a job that IS travel.

  • Jenny, if you are a little athletic, you could work for a bicycle touring company. You could start within the U.S. and possibly work with a company that provides international tours as well. You won’t make much money, but you’ll make some and travel a little before investing in a costly plane ticket. I’m just writing off the top of my head here since I don’t know what interests you have. You can find work as a bartender just about anywhere, but that usually happens once you are abroad….

    Any one else with some ideas?

  • Some more possibilities for work that can supplement your travel costs:
    1) Working as an au pair (nanny)
    2) Waiting tables and bar tending
    3) Working at the front desk of a hostel
    4) Teaching English at a language institute, a local school or, if you are an educator at an American or international school
    5) Travel writing
    6) Working on a cruise ship

    Many of my friends who have taken long trips worked for a certain period of time (a year or two) with the goal of saving money for their travels. Some lived with their parents… but they all lived frugally so that they could save as much money as possible for their trip.

    Dream big (but stay out of debt)!

    Teacher Girls last blog post..Postcards I Wish I Had Sent, Sevilla

  • Hey, I love reading travel blogs and this post was excellent, as were the comments. After high school and a year of not doing much i joined the military and spent six years in a job i disliked. I left the forces and traveled the world for around 14-15 months… 36 countries and about 14,000 dollars… If you are outside of n. america or western europe you can easily spend under 1000/mo… i spent reasonably liberally but always sought the cheapest hole for accomodations…. had an amazing adventure.

    Kens last blog post..The Dog Came Back

    • @Rod: I’ve known some pretty amazing 22 year olds, and I have to say their fatal flaw may be more related to the fact they still think things will work out for them if they work hard.

      I know some amazing 50+ people too. I think it depends more on the person than anything else.

      In this article I was talking to myself at 22, and I was super motivated. I literally had a temp job after college that was photocopying all day, and I did the best, fastest job I could do. It was a 1 week job, and I got it done in a day. My reward? They sent me home for the rest of the week. So basically, I just knocked myself out on any job I had, regardless of any benefit. I just wouldn’t do that now, and I don’t think most people my age would take such things as seriously.

      It did work out for me, because I did turn one of those temp jobs into a systems developer position, by the brute force of my will. Might have saved myself some of the stress of it though in retrospect.

  • where is a good place to look for jobs abroad? are there agencies set up for that? or should i look when i start traveling?

    • I like the list. very true except for #5. I find that 35 or older people are more likely to be willing to wash the toilet so to speak than the 22 year olds. the 22’s seem to want life handed to them and have not figured out that pretty much not much matters besides how you live your life. Not what you get. The older people seem to understand this much better.

  • @Cujo: RE: Resources for working abroad…

    I am putting together a list for you and all those interested today and you should see something posted shortly.

    If you guys have any suggestions for Cujo and other travellers, leave them in the comments and I will include them on my list.


    5/28/08 Update: I have posted a list of online resources here: Making Money While Traveling: The Quick Guide

  • Hill: I totally know the feeling…quarter life crisis thing, been there myself:)
    As for droping off everything and go, I would find a way to take care of the debt first (don’t have to pay all off at once before you travel), then figure out how you can save some money for travel. Once you make travel your priority, you will learn to figure out ways to save for it (live frugally (do you want a new shirt/cable (fill in the blank here) or do you want to travel), take up a second job for awhile, stay out of debt, work abroad, etc.)

    Cujo: I agree with the others: definitely think about studying abroad.
    I wouldn’t quit school just to travel because you learn and experience a lot in college (in and out of class) and your degree will take you farther than you think no matter which area you choose. I traveled a lot when I was in college on the weekend, during the holiday break, and summers and that definitely broaden my mind a lot.

    Jenny: I live in Iowa too and yes, had a very sheltered life:) until I got to college and really started to travel, and that broaden my life, my mind, and my perspectives on life and the world.

  • Thank you.
    I am twenty, and your advice means a lot to me. I take my job far too seriously, want to travel but have no vacation time, am on the brink of debt and use my parents as my safety net. Your post made me think – my current job is not my career. I sure can call out sick, vacation time or not, because now is the best time to go to Brasil, Japan, Europe… wherever.
    Thank you again.

  • @Jenny: Thanks for your candid comments and sharing your story. One thing stood out for me is that you don’t know what to do, so you haven’t done anything yet.

    The worse trap you can fall into, is be afraid of picking the wrong thing, you pick nothing. You end up taking the path of least resistance. A very boring life living at home, not traveling, not going to school, not working at a job you like.

    The Fix:

    Pick something now. Pick, and don’t worry about it too much. What you would do tomorrow if you could?

    Flesh it out. Is it travel? What country? Where do you want to live? What kinds of things would you be doing. Then set your goals on that.

    I agree with Raypainter… you’re in the best position to do something amazing starting right now. You just have to decide what it is. There is no step by step, these are the hard decisions you have to make!!

    Then, when you have decided, come back here. Tell us your dream plan. Then we can point you in a direction. You can literally do whatever you want. Go, decide.

  • Christine, Well I guess if I could do anything in the world right now I would go to Africa and go on a safari becuase that has been my dream place to visit my whole life. I want to see the elephants especially and lions and everything and also visit Egypt and see the pyramids. Thats why I looked into the peace corps since Africa is an option of a place to work but they said without a degree it was a waste of my time to apply. So then I researched other options of volunteering in Africa or of trips but everything was a few thousand dollars plus the plane ticket which is the most expensive ticket of any destination I’ve researched yet so I became discouraged.

  • @Jenny: Ok perfect. So here is what we have. 1. Africa. 2. Volunteering 3. Need to raise funds.

    Rough Budget:

    $2500 for a 6 month volunteer program in Africa
    $1500 for flight from NY ($1300 flight plus $200 bus ticket Iowa to NY)
    $2500 pocket money for 6 months ($100 a week)

    =$6500 for 6 months living and volunteering in africa. Your pocket money should roughly be enough to take a safari as a side trip or spend a couple weeks living in africa after your volunteering effort.

    So here is your goal. Raise $6500 in 6 months.

    – Spend nothing. Continue to live at home. Save every single penny you can.
    – Tell friends and family about your plan. Blow off any misgivings. Be strong. Tell them instead of gifts for your birthday you want cash for your trip.
    – Defer your student loans for 6 months. Tell them you are going to volunteer overseas.
    – Write down your reasons for wanting to go. Think through all the benefits this trip will have on your life.
    – Keep people in your life up to date on how much you’ve saved and how much you have to go.
    – Get a job. Or a second job. Offer out your services. Mow lawns. Walk dogs. Tell people about what you’re doing.
    – As you get closer to your date raise funds. Lots of people have hit me up for their volunteer trips, and usually a nicely crafted letter will do the trick.
    – Start a blog to keep track of your fundraising and spread the word.
    – Set up a table outside the grocery store on saturdays if you have to and make posters about where you’re going, what you’re doing and why you need their donation.
    – Write the local paper in your town in Iowa. Tell them what you’re doing and why you’re collection donations.

    Then you go to Africa. You write about it. You send your articles all over the place both online and print publications. You decide if this is what you want to do. If it is, you’ve just opened a bunch of doors for yourself– degree or no. You could work at a non-profit, you could get writing assignments, you could go back to school for journalism if you love it. You could hit the road again.

    A woman I know raised $10,000 to run the Dublin marathon for cystic fibrosis in 6 months. It can be done.

    Ok, don’t let me be the only one to throw out ideas. What other advice can we give Jenny?

  • I can TOTALLY relate to how scary it is for you to quit your job and take off – we’re doing the same thing.

    In ten days we will fly out of Boise with our ten-year-old twin sons, three bicycles, two trailers, and a whole lotta food and gear. And then we will spend the next 2 1/2 years riding said bikes from Alaska to Argentina.

    Are we scared? You bet! Do we wonder if we made the right decision? At times. Will it be a wonderful experience? Absolutely.

    You can read about our journey at

  • I totally agree with this post. ESPECIALLY #1. I made this mistake and wasted
    about 10 years of building a career that I hated. I abandoned it all in my early 30’s, threw caution to the wind, and pursued a career in film and video production.
    Which is what I still do today in Las Vegas.
    I have sworn to teach my son principle #1 from the time he could speak to the time he is ready to go out on his own: Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!

    Andrew Hamilton
    Convention Videographers Las Vegas
    Hamilton International Productions

  • i really wish my parents would let me travel more…
    I’m only 16, but still. after school I’ll definitely go somewhere!

  • Realize you do not need to be the leader/manager/boss. That it is good to be a follower sometimes.

    Understand that most of the people at work will not matter in 5 years. Do what is right for you and your friends.

    You will figure it out.

    Be kind.

    • Personally, I think the world would benefit a lot more if they didn’t take your advice at all.

      *No one needs travel.* I can’t emphasize this enough. Travel benefits no one in a modern developed country, as we have access to essentially everything and better.

      If you’ve read this, you have computer access. You no longer need to see Venice/Japan/Wherever because you can scrounge up thousands of photos of every place you would go via Flickr. You can find the spices in the food you’d eat in online stores. You can find classes offering the exact same things you’d do somewhere in your nearest city.

      Pay off your debts. I cannot stress this enough. You did not “deserve” that education – pay for it and stop leeching off of other people. You go without what you cannot afford, and that includes goofing off and drinking your years of college away.

      Stop thinking you’re a unique butterfly who gets to flutter off to new places and experience new things because you’re young. Stop thinking you are immortal and that you have an infinite amount of time to make bad decisions.

      To me, this advice is useless and contrary to being a responsible member of society.

      Stop wasting your time. You don’t get much.

      As a reference, I am college-educated, responsible, debtless 21-year-old with a concrete job who realizes how stupid young people like the ones being encouraged really are.

    • […] 8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 22 […]

    • Spaz-

      This article was written with people who want to travel in mind — not targeting the entire population. Some people have no desire to do so and will sit back and enjoy their life in a non-traveling way. But yet others want to do more — see more.

      And if material things are what make you happy, then congratulations on the success you claim. I’m 22 and while I would like to have modest possessions the things you have listed are just that: things. In the end, they will provide nothing more than a waning memory.

      Traveling, or something of the sort, will provide an insurmountable experience that will go with you the rest of your life. You’ll eventually have to replace everything you have now with something bigger and better (either because they degrade or because they’re old). It’s a constant process. But sitting back and taking in the exotic locales or different cultures — or even simply the fact that you’re not at home — isn’t something that can be so easily replaced.

  • Wait a second… *I’m* 21! Thanks for the advice, but I learned the credit card lesson on my own, unfortunately. I’ll take the rest to heart!

  • Great post, Christine!

    What do I wish I’d known when I was 22?

    1) After you graduate, no one will ever look at your transcript again. Your grades will not define you. Turn off the computer and go to bed.

    2) After you graduate, no one will ever care how many extra-curricular activities you coordinated or how many committees you were elected to. Put down the clipboard and go have some fun.


    • I have to disagree with you on points #1, 5, 6, and 7.

      1. Pick a career you love; you don’t have to give into the pressure to be practical. This is bad advice, because the reality is that the “cool careers” are, for most people, impractical if not impossible choices. I live in New York, so I’ll point out the obvious, which is that the 22-year-olds who work in publishing, the arts, and the like do NOT pay their own rent. They’re parentally supported, which leads to the paradoxical result of unpaid publishing interns living in much nicer apartments than young Wall Streeters– pretty much the only New Yorkers under 30 who can afford to live there on their own steam.

      Market forces ensure that, at a given level of education, work that is enjoyable pays less than other work for no reason other than because it is enjoyable. This is good and bad, mostly bad– good because it provides a way for the grunt work to get done seamlessly and efficiently, but bad because the enjoyability of work is actually pretty highly correlated to its usefulness to society, while this dynamic encourages pointless, dead-end activity while punishing a lot of useful work– a garden-variety local artist is 20 times more useful to society than the average white-collar office worker, but the former starves, must quit and do something else, while the latter flourishes. The result is to encourage not merely the completion, but also the creation, of unnecessary unpleasant work, and to steer our society toward a dearth of originality. This is actually a catastrophic social problem that threatens our society’s future existence, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

      The differences in wages and prospects among career tracks are due to market forces– competition, and the point here is that entering a “cool career” inevitably involves competition with the children of the rich, who can work for a pittance (or unpaid) because of their trust funds, and who can work 80 hours per week because their parents hire maids. I’m sorry, but your advice is impractical: telling the average college graduate to enter this rigged game is just dangerous.

      #5. The job you have right now is not that important.

      I disagree here, too. It’s true that most 22-year-olds are working very hard at irrelevant grunt work, but if they toss caution to the wind and “follow their dreams” for five years, they’re likely going to end up as 27-year-olds doing the same grunt work that could have been gotten out of the way half a decade ago– with bosses who are younger than they are! I don’t think there’s any way around the inevitable professional hazing other than to suck it up and go straight through, and I think that most people would rather get it out of the way at 22, when they can have nervous breakdowns or develop self-destructive habits with limited consequences, than in their late 20s or 30s.

      You’re absolutely right that the actual work done by the average 22-year-old is of nearly no importance, and will inevitably be forgotten within a couple of years, but positioning and brand-name are of critical importance. For most ambitious young people, the 20s are a desperate scramble to become the “protege” of someone important and be “made”, since every young professional who is awake has already learned that hard work and talent have almost nothing to do with it, while connections and permissions rule. Doing unimportant work at a place like Goldman Sachs provides the remote possibility of becoming someone’s “protege”, whereas doing unimportant work for a two-year college’s IT department does not, and that’s the essential difference. In practice, the “protege” phenomenon is so rare that most people need a couple decades in order to have a chance, and entering the game at 30 is like losing half a box of lottery tickets.

      6. You don’t need a safety net.

      This is the worst advice ever. Subprime aside, most people who run into financial failure do so not because of buying boats or second houses, but because of unexpected disasters like medical bills. People fail every day not because they’re stupid or lazy, but because of very real pitfalls in this society. You’re absolutely correct, by the way, with point #2– running a credit-card balance is utterly stupid. What I’ll point out, however, is that for most lower-middle-class Americans, credit cards *are* the safety net.

      7. This is the best time in your life to travel carefree.

      You’re half-right. Travel is extremely problematic for Americans. For most of us, it’s prohibitively difficult at any stage of life. We live in a Third World, failed society where there is no universal healthcare, and where there is no federal vacation floor. Most companies have shitty vacation policies, and the result is that most people will not be able to do any significant overseas travel until retirement.

      What you miss is the fact that someone recently out of college is a nobody, and cannot afford a long resume gap, since he’ll be competing against hundreds of people without such gaps. You might consider the “nonconventional” job applicant who eschewed work and traveled for a year to be a more interesting, original, and complete person than the horde of young resume-padders, and you’re almost certainly right. But your positive view of such a person is not mainstream, and 95+% of future employers are going to look at someone who took a year off to travel around Europe (regardless of the facts) as a lackadaisical, spoiled rich kid who couldn’t figure out what to do with his life, and who is probably looking for a job now only because his parents’ portfolio is doing poorly. It’s an inaccurate and extremely unfair judgment, but you’re deluded if you don’t think a well-traveled, under-padded 20-something is not going to run into it.

  • Love this post… absolutely love it.
    I just graduated from college, 2.5 weeks ago. I am jobless (though i am looking), virtually broke, and living at home which has been KILLING me.
    I went abroad 2 years ago to Vienna, Austria and fell in love with backpacking/traveling. I plan on working a landscaping job, to earn some capital… buying as many shares of VISA as possible.. and then running away for a month and see where I end up… I would like to go overseas again, but no matter what anyone says.. its going to be at least 1.5g minimum for flights off the bat (short notice etc…)

    Is there anywhere fantastic in the states i should check out (im from new england, CT)… and how should i do it (i’ve got a leased car with a limited amount of miles per year, so driving hinders me somewhat as does the expensive fuel prices.)

  • Peace Corps 001: I learned the credit card lesson the hard hard way too. If you can’t afford to pay it off, don’t use it:) It took me 2 plus years to pay off my credit card balance from college…and it’s not even a lot!

    Congrats on your graduation JamesDady!

    Eva: So true what you wrote! Couldn’t agree more!

    • My only advice would be to stay single. You don’t need a girlfriend. Staying single will allow you to meet a lot of girls, but no one will be able to hold you back from doing what you want to do. I’m 35 now, and have my first girlfriend who I am marrying this summer. I have had hundreds of short-term relationships in the past and have gained lots of experience. I have learned so much about life and have had the best childhood anyone could dream of and feel I am now ready for a long-term relationship. It’s only going to get better from here out

      My father told me when I was young to “not get too involved with a girl while you’re young–save that until you’re old like me.” I followed his advice and I’m glad I did.

  • This blog makes me feel sad.

    I am 22. My husband and I have been married for four years. We have a three year old son. We just bought our first house last week. I love to travel. I am currently a junior in college, and I was able to go to Germany this past spring break with a class, that was the first time I’ve been outside of the US.

    I keep telling myself that my time will come once I am older, but I am sad to have missed out on these backpack/adeventure/peacecorp days. I was so excited to get married and settle down.

    I just keep telling myself that my time will come.

    Rachels last blog post..we are homeowners!

  • Rachel: Don’t feel sad.

    I want to amend this post to add: “There is no Right Way”.

    Look at this way, you will be 37 when your oldest goes to college. You can travel the world while I’m in my early 40’s and chasing a screaming 3 year old around and wishing what I really knew at 22 was I should shut up and have kids already while I still have energy.

    You’re in an awesome phase in your life. If nothing else this blog is about enjoying your life now, whatever that means. For me it’s travel. For you it’s family and a sweet house. There is no Right Way.

  • I agree with you Christine. And who say you can’t travel with kids??!! I see that all the time! Did you read the comment from the family that travel on bikes? I thought that was awesome! When I have kids, I want to travel with them everywhere and teach them about the world.

  • Never, ever have a girlfriend.

    That girlfriend you are with at 22 wont be there when you are 30, and she will have kept you from:

    – travelling,
    – fucking a load of nice women,
    – being experienced with women
    – some of your hard earned cash.

    • Eh – most of this advice is one particular path through life that may work for some people. However, those that work their ass of in their 20’s are often the ones that also end up retiring in their 40’s with enough time and money to truly do whatever they want in life.

      My suggestion – work real hard in your 20’s – I have no regrets that I didn’t do the backpacking thing. I still had a blast in my 20’s but I also worked long hours. Take a vacation or two every year and you’ll still see plenty. Then when you’re 45, you’ll be relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean smiling and thinking about those 23 year old backpackers you knew who are now fighting to make ends meet and raise kids in their 40’s.

  • Christine–

    Great stuff. The Haymarket! Small world, I’m from Amherst. Good luck on your travels. I envy you.

    • Couldnt agree more with Mike Church.

      In the end people are going to do what they want to do. Just don’t come looking for free handouts in 20 years because you didnt save when you were young because you were too busy traveling.

  • Hey, I just got here through Digg. I loved this post! Of course, at 22 I already had 2 kids and one on the way, so my options for travel were more limited. But I will only be 42 when our youngest leaves home so I am looking forward to travel then. In the meantime, I have a tradition of taking each child on a trip when they turn 14. My first son chose to go to London, my second son to Paris. My daughter’s trip is next summer and we can’t wait!

    • Anyone that is 22 years old that is reading this and finds this advice enlightning should march on down to their local Navy recruitment office. They’ll get the same list, with a another arms length of bullet points of how they can accomplish these things with the help of the Navy.

  • Great post Christine! I actually found out about this article on the forum and the title just caught my attention since I’m 23.

    I’ve always been greatly interested in traveling. Some things like student loans and credit card debt has held me back but over time i always tend to calmly think about what i want to be doing in the next six months and i do a little something to get where i want to be. For instance, I grew up almost my entire life in the states and last year in September I left my web designer job of 2 years, was doing good actually, and moved to Peru, which is where I was born. But now im struggling with trying to travel more because i succumbed to a job in the family business. Frankly not doing much here since my uncle who happens to be the boss doesn’t get along with me very well..and besides a distribution company doesn’t have much use for a graphic designer after a few months work.


  • You’re stupid to tell people they don’t need a saftey net…

    it’s people who has that thought which causes us to go into debt as a nation, as well as individuals filing bankruptcy and using those credit cards you oh-so-declare not to use. It’s one in the same…

    Don’t be naive, have a backup plan in case something major comes along (car accident, accidental death, birth, etc).

    The rest I can almost agree with; except i don’t think everyone needs to travel… i think most people actually need to focus on the local area they’re in and try to improve it.

    but what do i know, i’m only 25 and most likely have more money than everyone who’s commented, and i have everything a guy could want:
    – Badass Jaguar, Viper, Corvette (68), and lastly my prized shelby cobra
    – A 7000sqft house, filled to the gills with cool shit like plasma TV’s, etc etc.
    – King Air (it’s a plane guys, a plane)
    – An awesome Wife

    I did NOT inherit any money, and i’ve worked my ass off since i was 14. I lost my parents when I was young, and have had to struggle through most of my young life, but I have learned more than most people will ever know.

    Only words of wisdom I could give is “Do what you love, and love what you do”

  • If you were giving advice to your 22 year old self, what would it be?

    two things you should get alot of while youre young are sex and real estate.

  • Yeah. Don’t be me. I finally decided to move away from the home town at the ripe age of 26. I hadn’t even decided where to go, only that I was going to move. Two days later I found out I was going to be a father. So much for moving. I used to think things were difficult-travel and saving money and all-but I’ve realized that I HAD BEEN wrong.

  • I’ve traveled throughout sub-saharan Africa and Central America. Airfare is another matter, but traveling on $10/day is quite reasonable. In the ‘third’ world, typical bus fare to the next town is normally less than $2. Villages are normally $0.50 rides apart. If you have any kind of investment portfolio, it is not that silly to post a net profit in a year of traveling.

  • Figuring out what you want to do career-wise and going back to school when you are mid/late 30s SUCKS beyond belief. The number 1 goal for early 20s is to KNOW THYSELF — figure out what you want to do with your little scribble of life on the planet.

  • Mike Church: I appreciate your well thought out comments, and taking the time to challenge my positions.

    I agree with you on most points, but I think I’m coming at this question from a different angle. You mention for #1, that the “cool jobs” are difficult to get. No doubt. I was thinking more along the lines of not getting a traditional 9-5 job at all– like trying my hand at writing a novel or starting a business or any number of things. I don’t even think I would have been successful, but I would have liked to try. That’s my personal perspective. You’re experience may be completely different.

    I also didn’t address the pay vs. job enjoyment factor, but you picked up on something I think is important to underline. From my perspective, making the most possible money is only a limited source of enjoyment for me. Making money has always been a means to an end, and when my salary doubled, then tripled over my career, I didn’t find my quality of life increasing. I suspect, and I am testing this theory in front of the world, on this site, that I will be happier making a living wage, with increased control over my lifestyle, than I ever was making the “big bucks” and very little control.

    On #5, I was being flip, and a lot of people called me on this. Naturally if you want to move up in certain competitive careers, doing grunt work well and hard is critical. From my personal perspective, I wouldn’t have stressed myself out that much. My first job wasn’t even in the field I ended up in, and I allowed myself to get stressed over petty things that ultimately didn’t have any impact on my future career.

    On #6, I respectfully disagree. When I was 22, the idea of moving overseas was very scary to me. I could get mugged! I could get sick! I imagined all kinds of horrible things. But the truth is that traveling is about as safe as living in a major US city. The likelihood of something terrible happening does not increase dramatically because you cross the Atlantic. While I agree that having financial backup and proper health insurance is important, I don’t think it’s any more dangerous if you’re in a flat in Paris than a studio in New York.

    On #7 I half disagree. I think as with anything there is a risk of misrepresenting yourself. You could tell your employer you spent the last year getting drunk in Bali. But as someone who has interviewed future employees, with gaps for travel and for other things (like divorce, child birth etc) I don’t think they will make assumptions that the person is rich or spoiled. At least I didn’t, and I don’t know that my fellow managers acted any differently.

    Mike, I do appreciate your comments, so I apologize if it seems like I’m singling you out. But I did want to take a moment to address some of the comments on this thread and your response was so thorough.

    Thanks to everyone who has visited the site and to those who have commented. Even if you don’t agree with my article, I appreciate hearing the feedback. I do hope that I can make this site useful for people who are interested in taking a similar path.



  • It seems to me that a few of the responses have all but said that traveling is useless, does not further your career and leaves you in debt. Keep in mind I am paraphrasing several contributions into one sentence. Travel, when done right is none of these things. The lessons that a person learns can be applied for a lifetime and I don’t mean in some esoteric soft skill. I will use myself as an example although I don’t engage in talking about myself very often. Every time I have returned to the states I see opportunity for business here from things that I have seen work very well abroad. As a result I have started 3 business and sold 1 sans business degree. I do some part time interpreting as a result of the Spanish that I have learned while studying marine biology at a university in Costa Rica. Other languages: Swedish, German and some Swahili. If I were to employ anyone with travel experience I would consider it a major plus because they have had to adapt and think very creatively AND rationally in order to solve and issue. IE figuring out the bus/train schedule although they don’t know the language, making a local/semi local telephone call from a telephone booth… it isn’t easy and not intuitive! Making friends with sign language and laughter!!!

    Over come your fear

  • My argument on point #1 wasn’t that the jobs in the “cool careers” are hard to get. I don’t think that they’re terribly hard to attain, with a degree from a strong college. My point about competition was in the sense of price wars rather than exclusion. Because of the trust fund toddlers who would do these jobs for free, firms in the “cool careers” can pay poorly, and college grads without parental resources are not likely to be able to live on what is offered.

    As for #5, I’d agree with you that a lot of things that seem critically important at 22 are, in fact, not. I don’t think doing well on the average entry-level grunt assignment matters, in the long term, any more than a grade in a college course. However, an assignment that might lead to better assignments, or a star mentor, is of much more importance. Most young professionals don’t have the perspective to tell the important assignments from the chaff. They tend to err on the side of presuming all assignments to be important, because firms are good enough at hiring and firing to filter out, or get rid of, those who would err the other way.

    On #6, it seems we’re talking about entirely different things with the term “safety net”, because I misinterpreted what you meant. Your point is that travel abroad isn’t really that dangerous, and I agree. My point had to do with the concept of a domestic “safety net” that has nothing to do with travel. I misinterpreted your point about the “safety net” to be a general one, rather than a specific one regarding travel.

    As for #7, I was probably overreaching with the claim that someone who took a year to travel would be seen as rich and spoiled, but I still maintain that most employers wouldn’t excuse a long resume gap because of the person was traveling.

    An established freelance writer or tech consultant can get away with traveling for a few months or a year, because he has a reputation that won’t fade significantly if he takes some time off. But a 2x-year-old nobody can’t really afford to have a long gap on his resume, and travel doesn’t sound better to most people than “I read, and took walks in the park, and went to parties”. Like it or not, the boneheaded macho culture that rewards presence and sacrifice over performance and potential, and that punishes perceived self-indulgences such as voluntary employment gaps, is still very much in force in most of corporate America.

  • […] couple of friends, sharing stories about travel, before my big trip abroad. I wrote a post called, 8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 22. Then someone called their friends (social networking sites) and they told their friends, and […]

  • I love your post, traveling is the most rewarding thing in the world, im 18 now .. college next year but in the summer of 2011 im going back packing through europe! been planned for a few years now and it’ll work out even if i go on my own!! 🙂

  • While it’s true that it’s best to know these things when you’re young, it isn’t impossible to decide travel at any point in your life. You just have to be willing to re-prioritize and let go of some of the things by which society measures success (career path, house, etc.) . . . or learn to incorporate adult responsibilities into a life of travel. If you really want to, you can do it at any age. (Some) People in their early 20’s aren’t necessarily equipped to appreciate everything that a trip abroad has to offer, and they may be seeking something different than someone in his or her 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s.

    Kerrys last blog post..Bajadera, an Eastern European Treat

  • ok to whoever made this… i truly believe in traveling when you’re young, im barely 18 yet i’ve had the opportunity to spend one semester in Quebec, for anyone wondering i lived in mexico (i’m a mexican), i’ve also spent time in the states and i have to admit, the best experiences i’ve had have been when I’ve decided to take a walk into the unknown and find something to do, lately, meaning Quebec it was with my camera, and apparently i’m not that bad at it, the problem with traveling right now is im kinda already old for the grade I’m in… not because i’m stupid or failed but because of a stupid teaching system i went through in a school that, well very stupidly added a year of schooling that did practically nothing. i’ve still got 1 year of high school left and I’m in the midst of deciding a career… from 2 very opposite poles…. one is the very respectable bio-engineering career, and the other one… pretty risky photojournalism (which is my dream and considering i’ve not found a single person who lives that lifestyle to actually have a talk with)… my dream is NatGeo… cus i believe that a photo has great impact and can create conciousness…. im rather bold in the things i do and say yet if someone could help plz i really want to travel and i dont mind not having much material things, I’m happy with my camera, does anybody know a link into that kinda job so i can travel while shooting photos? plz i have very little time to actually take the career decition and i have to prove a good front to my parents otherwise they will not sponsor my photo dreams as career…. any help deeply appreciated

  • @photoamat

    if photojournalism is your dream, then go for it man. Don’t do what your parents want you to do, its your life, not theirs. In the end, you will be the most sucessful at what makes you happy, and if you’ve found that in photojournalism, then dont let anything stop you.

  • Amen! Ok, so I’m only 24…but I HEARTILY agree with every point you have here. Esspecially #1. I just switched jobs from a legal assistant where I was getting screwed over and completely used for my ambition, to an unsteady job at a local entrepreneur centre where I’m LOVING every minute of my job like I never have before. #1 is what I was struggling with for so long. “Do I take a job I know will last and will be what I SHOULD be doing? Or do I take a job that I know I will love and will be satisfied at if only for a little while?” Grab onto the second one every time!

    The traveling advice is great too. Even if you run out of money while traveling, make sure you have a work visa and you’ll never be short (:

    Loved this post!

    katelynjanes last blog post..

  • Great post!

    I think there’s a lot of truth here – even though I disagree with a few points.

    I’d add: Children change everything.

    I am in my mid30s. I’m a lawyer married to a lawyer. The legal profession doesn’t lend itself well to travel, depending on what you do (of course, as I say this, hubby is in Germany).

    When I was younger, I traveled everywhere I could. I grew up in the rural south, I had no money but I knew that I wanted to see what else was *out there*. I was lucky enough to see some pretty amazing places.

    Now that I have small children, I hope to pass along a love of travel to them but it’s far more complicated than it used to be. I used to be able to pack up on a moment’s notice and fly away – now there are school and dance schedules to work around. My children still travel – my (now) 2 yr old flew over to the UK with us in March – but it’s not the same. It’s much, much harder.

    So, I agree that you should travel as much as you can when you’re 22(ish). The whole world is out there waiting.

    And no, pictures are not the same as having a beer in a Czech beer hall or eating from a street vendor in Singapore. You don’t feel the same way staring at a computer screen as you do looking out over the valleys in Wales from atop a mountain. Not even close.

    As for those folks who talk about finances and material things, you know, whatever floats your boat. But personally, I’ll say that when I graduated from law school, my husband and I both made really good money but worked long hours. So we paid someone to clean our house, do our laundry and mow our lawn. We ate out every night. When we made arrangements to have someone walk the dog, we realized that we were paying someone else to live our lives for us. I missed my old life (ok, not the laundry part). I wanted to get up each day and be excited about my day. So I changed things – I now love what I do (still a lawyer but I own my own firm, also a blogger).

    Money is important but – as cliche as it is – it doesn’t buy happiness.

    Kellys last blog post..Fat? TV Addict? Should You Be Taxed on Your Lifestyle?

  • Seriously man some of you guys (most of guys) need to grow the hell up. All my life people have told me you need to travel, find yourself, figure out who you are, be free, have fun, and no end of other STUPID advise. The things that really matter in life are these:


    If you have a sucky family then I am seriously sorry for you, but my family are no picnic. My mum was a pot head manic depressive who hung herself, my gran was the founding secretary of the National Front for f**ks sake, my dad is a failed entrepreneur and for many years an alcoholic, my brother is a bloody communist, the other just plays computer games all day, the third is in care and we only get to see him once a month, I spent a few years in care myself, my grandfather was a Nazi holocaust denier, my aunt hung herself two days ago… okay you get the picture my family is screwed up, but they are still the most important thing that you will ever have in your life. And they are all the more precious because they’re not always going to be there. If I could go back in time and talk to my 12 year old self I would tell her to grow the hell up and stop being so selfish spoilt and self centred. And that’s what I’m telling you people now. Some of you have kids and I’m sure that they are the joys of your life and I’m proud of you and them. There is nothing that you can do in this world that is more wonderful than bringing children into it. Lots of children. They are the future.

    Yes I want to see the world, but I don’t want to backpack and be all hot and sweaty and worried about how I’m going to eat whether I’m going to sleep in a bed or a haystack. I want to travel with my husband and kids when I have had a fulfilling life and deserve some relaxation.

    My advise to all you people out there that are my age (19 or there abouts) is:

    1. Get a job – join the army: good pay, great benefits and takes care of point 4
    2. Get married
    3. Have some kids
    4. Give something back to your country
    5. Make a pile of dough
    6. Then treat yourself – go travelling, have a swimming pool installed, employ a maid to do the house work, whatever you like…

    My most important piece of advice is: Don’t while away the best years of your life on yourself. While you are young and able; make money, do some good in your community, inspire the local kids to make good of their lives, anything! There is time enough when you are older and less able to do stuff that matters to treat yourself.

  • Traveling is good if you enjoy traveling, you might also want to consider finding a career that you enjoy doing. Then there will not be a need for such escapism. I enjoy traveling, but also enjoy my work. Benjamin Koshkin –

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  • Stumbled upon your blog and read a few entries. I enjoy the way you write, and I am impressed with the way you view the world and your experiences despite the overwhelming tide of opinion that what you are doing is wrong. I am 22 now, wishing I had the money and support to do what you are doing. I have traveled extensively (for my age) and I have felt the type of freedom you are seeking (or have already found…and are reaching for seconds) and I just wanted to wish you the best of luck in your travels. Btw, sweet domain name.


    PS – spend a little time in India, it will really flip your world upside-down. And the people are really nice.

  • My 22nd year is just about over, and I am taking all of your advice to heart. I realized pretty young (over the past year or so, after graduating from college) that there is a lot more to life than getting a degree, a cushy job and good status in your community. What you are doing takes some real guts and I admire that. I wish you the very best on your travels!

  • As a 37 year old, I can say that the following items are also good advice for the more advanced in age:

    4. It doesn’t cost as much as you’d think to travel.
    5. The job you have right now is not that important.
    7. This is the best time in your life to travel carefree.

    I travel a bunch, and people are always amazed that I can. It is all a matter of priorities. Whether you are 22 or 37 or 67, an amazing life is still out there. Grab it.

    Greg Wessons last blog post..The Long and Winding Road to an Elementary Address

  • No. 7 works for me… ohhh, thanks for the push! I hope its not yet too late for me to travel!!!

  • Hey, I remember quite well. I even remember the username ‘nehalennia’, which I guess is only natural considering I helped you pick it out. ^_^

    Christine, thank you so much for what you did for me back in 2001. You literally saved my life. Not so long afterward I was back on my feet enough to fly away on my own multinational voyage, and it makes me very happy to know you and Drew are off to see the world for yourselves now.

    Bon voyage from an old roomie! And all the best to you, now and ever.

  • Michael: Small world…. how every did you find me! 🙂 It’s great to hear you’re doing well… I’ll shoot you an email.

  • I doubt you can live with $1000/mo in vacation, at least sleeping in hotels
    if you go to hostels maybe
    if you decide to sleep wherever you are ( kind of fall asleep drunk at a party of someone you don’t even know, sleep at train stations etc…)

    however with a bit of organization you can save a lot and travel not spending a lot, you just have to plan a bit before leaving and make smart decisions when you’re travelling

  • I hope your right about the safety net. i am 22 and this is whats killing me. I know i shouldnt worry so much about this but how can you not?

  • for US1000/month…go to he Philippines. $1000=P45000. on a monthly basis

    you can get the following for that amount:

    1. house/condo – P20,000
    2. food – P 6,000
    3. transporation – P 6,000
    4. recreation – what’s remaining!!!

  • Great post. I have enjoyed all the comments and the lively discussion. I agree that it is easier to travel when young, before taking on the additional responsibilities of supporting a family, paying the mortgage or the car loan or pursuing a career path. However, it is all about choices, priorities and balance.

    Traveling while in college, or immediately after college, is an excellent way to spend longer periods of time travelling while still persuing long term career goals. I always regretted that I was unable to spend a semester or year abroad during college and I have encouraged my college age son’s to build that into their college experience. Living abroad is much more difficult to work into your life later in life.

    I have had a very successful career and have been employed continuosly for over 30 years. However, we have taken a 3 week family vacation every year, travelling extensively throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Asia and Europe. These trips have provided rich experiences for our family and wonderful memories. My kids are both in college now and they still look forward to and make time for our family vacation.

    When the boys were 8 and 10 years old we took them to Europe for 3 months. This was a magical trip for our family and it was amazing to watch my youngest son go from worrying about how he was going to order food without speeking the language(something that was very important to him) to becoming a confident international traveller. The kids learned that they could spend an entire day playing with kids who spoke no English, communicating without words. They learned about the world and about themselves, and were amazed at how much their travels enhanced their study of history, geography and world events. Most importantly, the bonding that took place during our travels resulted in a closeness that never wavered through their adolecence and into adulthood.

    There is no question that travel is worthwhile and valuable. For our family, travel was more important than buying bigger and better things. When necessary we lived more frugally in other areas to be able to afford to travel. We also chose to travel on a budget to make it more afordable. Again, it is all about priorites and personal choices. But then that is what life is all about.

    So my advice is travel and experience life to it’s fullest but don’t do it at the expense of getting a college degree, developing marketable skills and building a solid financial foundation. It may not be easy to have it all but with effort it is possible to have those things that are most important to you.

  • The good thing about this information technology era is the Internet. It has transform the way we do business and the way we see employment. Now travel and employment can be one and the same if we get it right.

    A number of individuals have been able to create information guides to places they love and earn and income from it.

    If you are twenty two and you get it your growth, your education and your employment could be one and the same.

    So if you are 22 make it count, enjoy your travels and your experiences.

    Hammers last blog post..Sep 20, Barbados Blog

  • What a great post. Makes me look back on my twenties and regret not doing more travelling when I was that carefree. The problem is you always feel like you are in a race against time. All the people who don’t travel and go straight into work after education make you feel like you are falling behind.
    My addition to the list therefore – don’t think about that – your experiences will be far more memorable than those of the people sitting behind a desk!

    Tamaras last blog post..A pressing matter: cider-making in Herefordshire

  • Thank for the great article. I am over 22 now, but I still can’t pick a career I love.:(

    iWalks last blog post..What’s Your Halloween program?

  • I’m 20 and I’m going to take all this advice seriously. Last summer I paid for myself to go to Bulgaria, Canada and Martha’s Vineyard. I believe traveling is more socially educational then school (assuming you’re the kind of person who enjoys new people and new perspectives). Next summer I might try Philippines, Czech Republic and Brazil or Columbia. Anyone have any better suggestions?

  • After 4 months of being in Ireland (my first real long term stay overseas), I wish I could go back and yell at my 22 year old self and and say, “Don’t give up that dream, you WILL get out!” I have to say that #4 is the most real one for me right now. I’m just a college student living off minimum wage and somehow I’m here- thank God for amazing friends!

  • Christine,

    I’m so happy to have found this post. On more levels than one. I’m preparing for a cross country drive from Boston to San Diego. I’m trying to get my 23 year old brother to take the journey with me. He graduated from college this past May, and has fallen victim to the current economy [i.e. he’s jobless] – unfortunately, landscaping in New England doesn’t last much longer than November :). In any case, he’s currently living with & off my parents, so they believe they have the final say in what he does.. I’m pretty sure he could swing this trip – and we’d do it cheaply, tough times for everyone! He hasn’t been to many places outside of New England, and I think that this type of eye-opening experience could really help him grow as a person. I plan on showing them this post. Very, very closely.

    Additionally, this post has helped me to open my own eyes as well. I quit my corporate job at the end of August – at a company I’d been with for 3+ years (second job out of college). It was hard to leave my friends, but easy to leave the monotony of office space. When I turned 27 in October, I started to think that I was too old to move across country. I now think very differently. Thanks for the added encouragement!

    “3 Troopin’ Travelers”

  • Hey, came across your site from matador travel, very cool! I’m 23, and currently planning the next phase of my life as a traveler (and student with no money) and actually, I appreciate your advice!

  • Very interesting post…

    As someone who up-and-moved to Morocco from the US at age 23, on the one hand it’s reassuring to read a post like this and feel that I’m doing something great and noble and enriching. But that feeling doesn’t last long, and reality takes hold – I’m very far from home, with no idea what I’m doing with my life, and my funds are dwindling…

    I would encourage any other members of my generation who are thinking of setting off for distant lands to do it – at the end of the day, Christine is right on target in that respect – but don’t do it without a larger plan in mind, or at least some notion of where your life is headed. You don’t want to find yourself up a creek without a paddle, or a plan.

    Safe travels to all,

    Andrew´s last blog post..Paris: A Week of Living Right in the City of Lights

  • I’m a 24-year old who on pure luck has traveled to Holland and Belgium through a youth exchange program (well, me and some friends did sneak out to Paris for a day..hehe). And yes, traveling really does broaden your perspective about the world. Several important travel tips I learned:
    1. To never forget to pack a smile and be generous in giving it to everyone you meet.
    2. To never leave your values and what you hold dear despite whatever you see in other places.
    3. To sample a local dish (and not grumble about it if it’s that bad).
    4. To make as much memories as you can.
    5. Discrimination based on color, religion or nationality is always present but it’s up to you how to handle it. (went to Hong Kong, China and Macau last year with some friends and to say that the Chinese authorities are something is an understatement..hehe)

    And Christine, go travel to Spain!
    will be subscribing to your blog from now’s nice to know a kindred spirit ^_^

    mauie hernando´s last blog post..Smile. It’s 2009.

  • […] a sign. Okay, a year late, but still. No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this post) Share and […]

  • oh gosh, i am 22! And I can totally hear my older self telling me this exact advice, In fact i’ve been hearing my older self say this for a while now. I know older self is totally right, this is the perfect time. I’m single, I don’t even have a job, I’m about to finish college.

    but I am scared that I am not strong enough to do it. I don’t know how I could possibly afford to do it.

  • I’d tell myself to stop smoking weed.
    Remember the dreams i had when i was a kid, cos they’re not impossible just becaause i’m older.
    Just GET ON WITH IT…..
    Don’t be put down be every obstacle i come across.
    Save a bit of money. even if its a 10er a month!
    just enjoy life!

  • I totally agree that every new kid out of college takes photocopying way to serious I know I did until I gave it all up for traveling and relaxing at home.

    As you said #7 is great go out and travel.

    Lord Hox´s last blog post..What to Do in Australia

  • Realise that you are never going to earn a million, not going to live forever, not going to be all you can be and that, basically, life is going to do its best to f**k you up.

    Then get over that and appreciate what you have now because no-one is ever going to make you understand that NOW is the best time to be alive and that you will never be able to do what you can now again.

    My grandfather told me all the above back in the late 70s, wish I’d listened harder than I did and maybe I’d be have been living abroad, running my own business, zero debts, a loving wife and two wonderful boys a bit sooner than when I was 35.

    My eldest has already taken the advice to heart and, so far, has had 8 different grad level jobs on 3 continents, He’s coming home for an extended stay this Autumn, with his girlfriend, to celebrate his 25th birthday with us.

  • So very true! I loved reading the tips and advice, currently having my own quarter-life crisis, but I have only a temporary job, a new start in a new town and a huge desire to do something for which I have a great passion. I will certainly be taking everything I have read to heart and, although things are complicated now, I know that it will work out and I will eventually fullfil my dream of living in America and travelling the world!! Can’t wait!! 🙂

    Happy travels everyone!


  • This is a great post. As a 23 year old recent graduate from a good school who had three job offers in the reccession and was excited – I come to you now, disillusioned with the modern practices of “work”. I’ve always had an entreprenurial drive and the cubicle life is killing me. It is killing my energy, creativity and passion outside of work. No, I am not a trophy kid and did not expect anything to be handed to me or dream that I was a unique person.

    What do I do? Do I suck it up and plow along with fake smiles and office politics? Do I stare at the screen for 9 hours a day? Why does my body feel 29 years old somedays?

    An opportunity has come up where I can go to Asia for 6-8 months learning new skills that I may apply to a different job/profession This would be on my own of course, and I’d have to quit my job. Already I find myself apprehensive at the dissapointment of my boss and colleagues if I were to tell them I’m leaving after a year. I can see how older people who’ve been with a company longer can be very hesitant.

    There is a fine line between backpacking/being a waste of life and travelling/acquiring new skills that will help you on your return (if you do…).

    Love the posts, and the comments from both sides. Balance is key in life.

  • Wow, this post blew me away – I’m 24, but as I did the school thing a bit later, I’m basically living as a 22-year-old.

    That said, after I check out the comments as well, I’m printing out your list to stick above my desk! (Minus #3, I’m all paid up)

  • Oh I am LOVING your blog… you are SPOT ON…
    I took off at 23 to work on cruise ships instead of going to law school… Have never looked back… I am doing the whole domestic goddess stint now… but oh how I dream of taking off & hitting the road again…. (as soon as the kids are big enough)

  • Your blog is great ! I quit my job last year and left for a one year round the world trip. I never regretted it ! And it was not that difficult to find a job when I came back. Employers love someone who dared doing this.

  • 1) Open a Roth IRA and start putting money into it. Even if it’s only $25 a week it’ll ad up by the time you’re 65 (the beauty of compund interest) and with a Roth IRA you can withdraw funds for things like a down payment on a house.

    2) Pay off your college loans as quickly as you can. The interest will eat you up.

    3) Learn a foreign language.

    4) Learn the four most important phrases in another few languages. Those phrase are Please, Thank You, How Much Does That Cost and Where Is The Toilet…

    5) Don’t smoke

    6) Don’t drink alcohol

    7) Learn to cook.

  • Thanks for this article – I’m 22, and it seems my life plans are already following your advice to your 22-year-old self. Makes me all the more excited for my upcoming travels and further academic career.

  • Yeah I agree. I am 22 and already I’ve had some great traveling experiences. My last breathtaking journey led me to the Big Island of Hawaii and experiences like the ones I had were worth every moment of hardship.

  • I started traveling when I was 19. Originally from Western New York, I got to see Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, Florida Peninsula, South Viet Nam, Australia, Taiwan, Germany, Spain, England, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Greece, & West Berlin. My travel Agent was the USAF. Eight years of travel & wonder. Meeting new and exciting people. Granted, some of them wanted to kill me, but for the most part, folks are folks. It’s governments that can give you grief. I now speak four languages, and have a much broader and tolerant view of the world and the people who share it with us. That’s right, “SHARE”. There’s room for almost every point of view (unless it involves permanent damage to someone else or a major ecosystem).
    I’m working on killing off my credit cards (4 dead ones and 3 yet to go). I paid off my student loan with my re-enlistment bonus, paid off my motorcycle, and gave $1000 to my parents towards their mortgage. It was so little compared to what they gave me.
    I’ve been in a job that I love for the past 45 years or so.
    Get off your duff & travel, meet people, see the world. You will get old & stiff soon enough. Make memories with your loved ones so you can slide into your grave without regrets shouting “Wow!! What a ride!!”

  • this is all so true…I am 26 now..but I left after high school to work and travel…..and I would do it again…Life and other cultures are the best teachers ever…… have better chances to find what you really want to do in your life and you will see how the world really is!!!!!!!!! All young people should travel……get to respect other nationalities and become more open minded……..
    and…this is true…getting older means getting more emotional……it is much harder to leave my family when I am traveling!!!!!!!!
    .-= Vero´s last blog ..Oily hair =-.

  • I am 23 years old. And I wanted to tell you that I recently just up and moved to France. I will be an au pair and then I am going to look for grad schools. I studied art and art history in school and am going to pursue my career accordingly. I only have 1000 dollars of debt left and I cut up my card before I left. I have no safety net whatsoever.

    Thanks for the advice and for making me believe that I really am doing the right thing.

    .-= Julie´s last blog ..Marbré =-.

  • Having just turned 22 I just want to thank you for the article, I didn’t realise some points there and it’s nice to know about the safety net and the travelling. Now going off into the world for a couple of years seems like a lot better idea.
    .-= Kaitlin M´s last blog ..How Not To Travel The World =-.

  • I was using when I came across this post but I wish for the past month while I’ve been searching for what to do after graduating college this would have come up. I turn 22 in a couple of months and graduate college at the end of this year. I’m scared to death of what comes next. As I mentioned I’ve been searching for months for an alternative to jumping head first into that 9-5 office job. I thought about the peace corps, I’ve looked into backpacking Europe, I’ve even thought about moving halfway across the country to California where I know no one and work as a bartender for no other reason than to experience a big change. No one seems to understand these urges. Everyone I know graduates with their bachelors and either goes on to grad school or gets a job in their field right away. I feel like running across this post was just more encouragement I needed to help me be true to myself and live with no regrets. Thank you for that.

  • I’m 23 and I’ve always wanted to travel, but I feel like I have more financial obligations and am unsure how to deal with them. I have debt (my car), and a mother who has always been financially terrible. I’ve been working as a legal assistant (which I despise) for the past five years and I take care of the bills/rent, etc., and while I can save enough for myself to go out and do stuff, I would be unable to support the family. I have a building resentment towards my mom for never having learned to take care of herself, but I feel guilty about wanting to bail on her. I also have a twin sister who has a dog and she expects us to buy a house, which I increasingly feel I don’t want to do.

    The idea of being a travel writer is great (having a blog and all that), but in the event of failure, I fail everyone. How would I go about this so that I can quit my job and have the freedom to travel?

  • Liz,

    Underneath it all you’re asking me one question: can I give myself permission to do what I want?

    You’re young, 23 and right now these feel like things you have to do: take care of your mom, pay the bills, get a house with your sister. But that is a list of what everyone else wants from you. You want to travel. Be a travel writer. You’re afraid of disappointing people. You’re afraid of failure.

    But what you’ll discover in 10 years is that: you should have been most afraid of wasting your 20s doing what everyone else wants.

    You probably won’t ever travel. Just speaking statistically, most people, 99% of people don’t get the courage to do what you must do now. Make a plan, disappoint people, move somewhere cheap, save money, take the leap. It’s really hard. It’s scary. Once you do it, you’ll laugh and wonder what you were ever worried about. But as they say, the first step is a killer.

    Good luck! Your life is whatever you allow yourself to make it.
    .-= Christine Gilbert´s last blog ..It Must Be the Water in Guatemala =-.

  • It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you are sick of wishing your life was more fun and adventurous, get your lazy ass off your couch and stop watching 2nd rate television shows and sort yourself out. It really is as simple as that!
    .-= William Wallace´s last blog ..Nottign Hill7 =-.

  • I’m so glad to come across your blog and this post via twitter. I really wish I hadn’t taken myself so seriously when I was 22 and that I wasn’t so afraid to make mistakes! Great post!
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..True Contentment =-.

  • I would tell myself a partner in life wont make you happy. Go out there and experience adventure on your own and meet friends along the way.

  • I am not sure how I ‘stumbled’ across this page, but I am glad that I have. I am 50 years old and have been travelling most of my life.

    I have 2 girls and one is 25 and one is 13. My 13 year old says that she is ’embarrassed’ by how much travelling we have done and doesn’t tell her friends where she is going next!

    Anyway – a couple of things. My 25 year old who had been to many places by the time she was 21 (including going to school in Bolivia and Mexico) doesn’t really want to travel any more just now. She is married with one son, and the great thing is this …….. she will only be in her forties when her son leaves home, so she is young enough to start travelling again! I agree with the post that says some older people are more likely to scrub toilets than younger people.

    I know that I am more resilient with travel than my 25 year old …. and definitely more resilient than my 13 year old. My 13 year old has cerebral palsy and people, including my ex husband, said that I would have to cut down the travelling. Well, it has been travel, in my opinion, that has helped make my 13 year old daughter the lovely, communicative, sensitive and tolerant girl that she is (same attributes as my 25 year old daughter) – not afraid of very much at all and speaking two languages as well as English.

    I have created jobs in other countries and my travel has always been self funded.

    I have never couch surfed and when I have stayed with families with little income, I have always contributed and more.

    If I can do it, anyone can do it! And now I travel with child, wheelchair and lots of other paraphernalia!!!

    Security is a trap! However, I can see the benefits of my daughter having her children while she is young. At 50 she can start to see the world again.

    Great post! We are off to the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji next week!

  • By the way, I don’t have anything, but I am not in debt either – get rid of your debt first is my advice!

  • Hey Christine,

    I just stumbled upon this post and I want to say thank you. I am a 19 year old Junior in college, and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with you. Growing up, my mom and I never had much, yet somehow I was lucky enough to learn most of the things on your list at a young age, and have support when I expressed an interest in them.

    When I was 16 I received the amazing opportunity to go to Bali for a month on a full scholarship to study art. While I was there I learned the importance of travel, and how easy it really is to do.

    Since my first endeavor into the outside world I have had enough adventure to last me a lifetime, and I have every intention of having more.

    Coming from a childhood on welfare and being the shy quiet kid that just kind of disappeared into the background, I have since:
    -Been to 8 different countries
    -Learned bits and pieces of more than 15 different languages, 3 almost fluently
    -Hitchhiked 2,500 miles in the span of 6 days from Swansea, Wales to Morocco (where I met the Greek ambassador’s daughter on a camel in the Sahara and we are still good friends to this day.)
    -Met/hungout/partied with Ian Macallan in London
    -Worked, trained, and performed with the Welsh National Circus
    -Designed lights and performed with an opera in Italy
    And the list just goes on . . .

    I only list these things to support what you have said in yours, and to illustrate that if you just go for ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ happens to be, life will work out. Life is not about stressing about the little things in day to day life, or fearing what may lie ahead. The point of life is to live. It is to have/see/feel as many human emotions and experiences as is possible to have in a lifetime. Why are we here if not to explore this world?

    The few things that I can think of to add to your list are:

    1) Life works out, when you least expect it and when you need it the most, it works out. You don’t need a safety net, because it will work out. It is important to trust this. If you second guess it, you second guess life.

    2) Along the same lines of life working out, money works out too. When you need it – when you absolutely need it, the money will come. I don’t know how many times I thought I wasn’t going to be able to eat when all of a sudden prosperity just fell into my lap.

    3) Everything happens for a reason. Or it may not, but if you think it does, it helps to support #1

    4) That scary but still kind of excited feeling that you get when you are about to jump into a free fall is a good one, you should always try to find that place, it means you’re about to grow.

    5) There are people out there who want to help young people have what they had (or maybe never did). Look for these people. They’re looking for you.

    I think I’ve ranted a bit here, and likely left out a lot of stuff that should have been in said rant. But it is late and my brain is tired so I will end my comment here.

    Astronauts have always said that if people could see what they see, the big picture, the world in all its glory, that war and violence would cease to exist, as it could never exist on something so beautiful. Short of getting up into space ourselves, travel is the only other option. Thank you Christine for helping to spread this golden concept of life.

    • I’m 19 and I’m well aware of all this stuff. Cheers for the advice nevertheless, but I’m glad I’m not gonna have regrets ;D.
      Yes, I feel smug.

  • Just FTR, you can travel for a lot less than $1000 per month – and still have amazing adventures! You just have to want to do it (and not be too much of a prima donna 🙂 You can also still do it at 40 (though earlier is *definitely* a divine idea!). Maybe take a year on the road for every birthday that ends in “0”? Happy Trails!

  • i started traveling when i was 25 and i felt like i started a bit too late. after the trip i’ve made, office work doesn’t seem to make sense anymore. now i’m working on my two year plan. save up and travel the world. great article!
    .-= monette´s last blog ..Ride the ZORB! =-.

  • Warren Buffet bought his first stock at 11 and thought it was too late. So basically 22 has nothing to do with it, though I did achieve most of the above around 22, had I done it ten years later, I’d have no regrets. The funny thing about life is that it only come one day at a time and that’s the way I prefer to live life “just for today”.

    I liked what Christine said “Your life is whatever you allow yourself to make it.” And don’t forget it’s all a matter of priorities, different people have different priorities.

    Take care and cheers.
    .-= Robin Bal´s last blog ..This Stock Market Correction Is Dead =-.

  • hey good advice.. i think..

    i moved to bangkok in july, (turned 20 in august) and am currently living extremely well off around $800 AUD a month.

    i travel around thailand with ease, and go to Laos for a few days when i need to do a visa run.

    i hope all these people who say they appreciate your ideas are actually going out there and sharing them with the 20-somethings that they know.. because seriously.. this is so much better than 9-5 in australia, where there are no jobs right now anyway.

    and lets be honest, you see a 60 somehing year old hanging out at a full moon party having a blast.. and everytime, he will tell you he should have done this forty years ago

    just get out there

  • Sounds like a travel agent marketing technique to me….. Clever. You do not need to put yourself at risk by going to other contries to enjoy life or figure yourself out.

    • that’s a dumb thing to say, how would the writer benefit if he/she was a travel agent, by telling readers about cheap travel and couch surfing (which is free??) Also, there are a million travel agents, how would the writer be sure to get my cash. LIFE involves risk, so stop pushing pencils, and being all skeptical behind your desk and live a little!

  • […] 1) Pick a career you love; you don’t have to give into the pressure to be practical…(read more) 2) Pay off your credit card debt and don’t buy so much stuff…(read […]

  • Some of these things are just not true. You CAN’T just defer your loans indefinetly. Trust me I tried.

  • Where are all of these 20 year olds that will bust their butts for a job – I’ve yet to meet one, let alone actually work with one. And don’t expect all of the over 30s to pay your student loans either.

    If you lost points 3 and 5 (which are completely unnecessary to make your point), this would be a decent post.

    • because the 20 somethings dont get offered good jobs, thats why you cant and dont see them working hard.

    • Ouch! I think 20 somethings are some of the hardest working people on the planet. I go to school full time (in my eyes, this is a full time job) work a part time office job, work for free at an internship, serve on a student board and spend my weekends doing community service.I’m lucky to get 4 hours of sleep at night. I do it all with a smile on my face. Maybe you haven’t met the right 20 something.

  • I know it’s not smart to get married at 19 and 21, but my husband and I have been doing a better job of this list than a lot of people, I think. The problem is, since neither of us has a college degree it’s tricky to get well-paying jobs OR jobs that let you go overseas, so my husband has spent a few years working to gain the experience needed to get into those jobs. He’s 27 now and he’s worked at the South Pole, we’ve traveled in Australia and NZ, and he’s about to ship out to a job in Afghanistan.

    I suppose the secret is to not be afraid to make leaps of faith and big sacrifices. We have to spend a whole year apart from one another, which is hard, but in the end the payoff will (hopefully) be a life of travel and adventure. And good jobs in the future due to the experience. : )

  • After 2 years of chasing promotions and $$$ and getting nowhere fast (despite having a strong work-ethic and two B.A.s). I’ve finally started to seriously consider dumping the job and moving to Ios, Greece this summer to work/play for the summer season. I am debt/girlfriend/pet/mortgage free, only 26, and have good friends who will be there who have done it for years and can guarantee work. Why shouldn’t I right? Why am I still so nervous?

    • If you weren’t a little scared then you wouldn’t be taking it as serious as it needs to be taken. It’s totally natural to feel scared. If you have friends there and you already have some work waiting for you, you already have a higher advantage then most!! Oh wait, i just realized this was in 2009! Did you go?!

  • Michael-

    Not to be glib, but you’re probably nervous because you’re American. If you grew up in Europe, spending the summer in Greece wouldn’t be that big of a deal. It feels like you’re getting away with something… and in a way you are. You won’t be following the script, you’re breaking the rules. Go to school, get a job, work your way up, buy a house– these are the things we’re told we’re supposed to do and then we’ll be happy. But you’re saying screw that I’m going to Greece. There’s no script for that. It feels like a big leap, because it’s not the well worn path, but once you get there, all of that melts away. You’ll wonder– what took me so long?

  • Hi All! Great advice. But of course, everyone is different. I have been 22 twice, and my advice is this: travel is over rated. Sorry. I’ve traveled on 4 continents, and looking back I have to agree with Thoreau who said something like: “I have traveled widely in Walden” If you want to see the world, look around you. It is in your neighborhood. It is the sharpness of observation, not the width of travel, that matters. It is the depth of relationships, not the number of acquaintances, that matters. I have seen some of the most stunning scenery on earth, but it was no better than the simple beauty I always see right around town, in my local woods, in my backyard, or in the infinite sky every night. Go ahead, travel the world. But don’t miss the world due to traveling.

  • You can travel around southeast Asia for less than $1000 a month easily (not including airfare of course). Thailand is a particularly easy place to backpack around at very little cost. Just watch out for tourist scams.

  • No one size fits all. There’s adventure and there’s practicality. I booked for both, adventure first. Got out of the Navy in ’46 and went to school on the GI Bill, got a BFA, bought an Army surplus back pack, filled it with too much gear, headed for Yucatan out of fascination with the Mayan culture. Nobody then ever heard of Yucatan. Spent three months hiking and thumbing my way through the ruins, having an absolute ball. Dangers? You bet. Life is full of them: get over yourself. Excuse me for an old saw, but you’re enjoying life to the fullest when you’re risking it a little.. Got called back into service during Korea, got out and caught the first freighter I could find to Europe. Met and traveled with a crazy Belgian ballerina that summer, then fell in love with an American dancer in Paris, ran out of money, got a job with the Air Force in Germany, stayed through the Cold War. Worked with a pilot, flew all over Europe and North Africa. I’ve been everywhere, seen and done things most people only dream of. An old girlfriend from home asked me what the hell I was doing with my life. I thought about it, decided it was time to go home and grow up. Got a job, got married, bought a house in Connecticut, had two kids and lived the commuter life. I’ve done a lot of things since then, made a million bucks, lost it, made more. I’m still working, but I measure the time in Mexico and Europe as the best time in my life. I’m 82 now and I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. Go for it if you’ve got the itch or you’ll wonder if you’ve really lived As Edith Piaf so nicely put it, “Je ne regrette rien”.

  • i love this! i turned 22 a week ago, and happen to stumble upon this. thanks 🙂
    .-= kristin´s last blog ..a fairy with broken wings =-.

  • I traveled with my children and you can travel cheaply even then …and the children will learn a great deal about the world through experience and learn the skills to become travelers themselves.

    Some people like to collect things…others like to collect experiences.

    There is something sad to me seeing a very elderly person going on a tour and having trouble climbing the stairs…I guess I think they should have already traveled …but each to their own…Better late than never : )

  • When I was 22 I would have told an older version of me to get lost, and probably not very friendly either. Now, 20 years later I wish I could be 22 again with all the knowledge I’ve got now.

    I teach English, and many of my students are around that age, and I try to tell them to go and see the world, but like most 22 year olds they don’t listen. Oh well.

  • Hi, there! I just came across your blog and am SO happy I did. This was a great post, and a great message to be sure the world hears. I wanted to respond to this comment below:

    “Hi All! Great advice. But of course, everyone is different. I have been 22 twice, and my advice is this: travel is over rated. Sorry. I’ve traveled on 4 continents, and looking back I have to agree with Thoreau who said something like: “I have traveled widely in Walden” If you want to see the world, look around you. It is in your neighborhood. It is the sharpness of observation, not the width of travel, that matters. It is the depth of relationships, not the number of acquaintances, that matters. I have seen some of the most stunning scenery on earth, but it was no better than the simple beauty I always see right around town, in my local woods, in my backyard, or in the infinite sky every night. Go ahead, travel the world. But don’t miss the world due to traveling.”

    I think the author makes a valid point in that we should also learn to appreciate our own surroundings and take in the beauty that we routinely take for granted, both in terms of landscape and human beings. However, I think that this point is most often lost on people…and travel forces them to finally stop and take that necessary look around, in which sense travel serves as a conduit that will allow people to start making those connections.
    .-= Ash´s last blog ..Become a Corporate Drone in 30 Days or Less: Step-By-Step Instructions on How to Stop Thinking for Yourself, Kiss Ass Like a Pro & Wear Black Like a Champ =-.

    • I used to love to explore my surroundings and my town; until the fbi ruined it for me with their shitty nonsense, damn agent is a lying piece of shit. I Should of hopped the fence and beat him with a baseball bat.
      But instead, more then a year and a half later, with my psychosis nearly over (or so I hope), I live life with a ruined reputation. Because the fbi are to big of bitches to come over and admit their mistake. and i am Afraid to do stuff because people might call me bad names. Afraid to get intimate with women, because I’ve turned into a pussy, and the thought of sharing the last year and a half with anyone seems like a terrible idea.

      I don’t give two shits about anything anymore… maybe someday I might.

  • I’m 22 and I have responsibilities. I wish I could just take off and see the world. That would also entail canceling my lease, forward my mail, sell everything, eating nothing but rice for a year, and probably leaving a very heartbroken boyfriend behind. Even that wouldn’t be enough. Making $1000/month in my own country is hard enough. Making that kind of money in a strange country?
    I hate older adults who think it’s soooo easy being my age.

    • I’m also 22, and while I enjoyed this post, I agree with Nadine. For most people I know around my age, it’s everything we can do to keep/find a job and have enough money to eat. Between high food, gas, college costs, etc. most of us have responsibilities and stresses that we can’t just walk away from. Maybe this article should be re-addressed to high school students 🙂

      • I agree with both Nadine and Winston. I’m not sure how many people can get away with picking up and leaving everything behind(including your source of income) and spending $1,000/month (once again without income) backpacking in places where you don’t know anyone or speak their native language. I’m 25 and have been laid off 3 jobs in the last 4 years due to the economy and am struggling to meet ends meet on an $8/hour job. Where is this $12,000 for a year going to come from? What guarantee do I have that I can even find a job when I get back? (Even being one of those 20-somethings that busts my behind, it’s hard to find a job. It is also going to look silly on a resume “worked til December 2010. Reason for leaving: Backpacked through Europe. Yeah… That makes you seem reliable.) I take it you are assuming you either have money from your family or are going to bum off other people’s hard work both in foreign countries and when you get home.

        #1 and #2 (especially #2) are the only points on here that I agree with and encourage.

        #4 and #7 may both be true but aren’t advisable considering all those worries will hit you when you come home and have no income and no place to stay (unless, as mentioned before, you bum off of other people who have decided to be responsible.)

        #3 #5 and #6 are loads of crap.

        #3 I only know one college friend who hasn’t been made to pay a dime yet on his loan. Everyone else has had their deferments rejected eventually and are paying their loans.

        #5 If you have a good paying job that you love (see #1), don’t bail on it to go travel the world because you might not have that kind of job again when you get back. If you don’t have a good job, then you probably don’t have the kind of money to be blowing $1000/month in another country.

        #6 Of course you have a safety net (whether it be parents or friends.) Otherwise failure absolutely means you’ll be sleeping in your car or streets (when you lose your car due to lack of insurance in many states.)

        Yes, live your life to the fullest and squeeze the most out of it every day and don’t settle for a boring life… but don’t do what this person suggests and just risk your career/future on a couple months of travel (of which you can most likely do if you retire from your good job.) If you are going to travel at least try to join the Peace Corps and make the traveling productive and attractive to potential employers or do what Gloria and her husband do and go get jobs in other countries.

  • thanks for this post – it’s exactly what i needed to hear. im turning 22 in a few weeks and am honestly terrified because i feel like i haven’t accomplished enough in 22 years of life.. i know the feeling too – when there are so many options and all you know for certain is that you dont like the path youre on now – but then become paralyzed into inaction. i agree w/ a lot of what was said on this comment thread – prioritize. and just do it.
    thanks for the reminder =)
    .-= Phyllis´s last blog default =-.

  • Thank you immensely to everyone who commented on this. I am also 22 years old, and I will be studying abroad in Shanghai next semester. I intend on following a great deal of the recommendations given here.

  • As a curious and restless 19 year old I have been traveling for a few years and have had some life changing adventures. Traveling is the best way to live. You find yourself in places you never would have imagined and it makes you realize how the whole world is open to you and most of it is full of stuff you have never even thought of. It scares me to think of my future student loan debt and future responsibilities that might prevent me from traveling when I feel like my life will not be complete without it. Thanks to this post however, I have even more confidence that traveling now will be easier and in the end more affordable than going later. So I intend to do just that. And I’ve learned, even in my humble years, that you hardly ever regret the things you do, only the things you don’t.

  • This is all great advice but it’s not what I would be telling my 22-year-old self because this was all stuff I instinctively knew! I did plenty of travel in my twenties – and I did plenty of career building too! I would probably be giving myself advice on personal relationships, savings ethics, and the benefits of regular exercise. Start doing yoga and pilates now!
    .-= Caitlin´s last blog ..Photo Friday: Hatched turtle eggs in the Great Barrier Reef =-.

  • Just found your blog. This is great stuff! I’m not 22, I’m 32. At 22, I was focused on playing house with my long-term boyfriend who I was hoping was going to be The One (he wasn’t), and finally not being utterly broke. At this point, doing what you’re doing would require selling property (can’t rent it…the rental price wouldn’t cover the mortgage and the cost of hiring someone to “be the landlord” while I was traveling puts that possibility in the “no” zone), cleaning up my life (canceling subscriptions, auto-payments, etc. etc. etc….all of which I should probably do anyway), being careful not to completely sabotage a fruitful (but not wholly satisfying) career, and lots of other complex things.

    But I might do it anyway. I’ll be sure to check back often!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..On A Magic Carpet Ride =-.

  • So im currently 22, on a pre-med/business route with the hopes of becoming an OB-GYN by the time I’m 30 and hopefully owning my own practice by the time Im 40. Needless to say Im an overachiever and I’m always stressed out. I have 2 finals tomorrow and somehow I’ve found myself stumbling for the past hour even though Im on my 2nd cup of coffee and 2nd Adderall in the past 5 hours. To be honest i read this post just blindly because i don’t want to finish studying the 320 some pages i have left of O chem and about 100 pages i have left of Bio but to say that this post has changed my day is an understatement. Im actually fluent in Spanish, English, and Italian and even though i traveled some with family when i was young, I’ve yet to do any traveling in the past 10 years. I was offered a position teaching english to students in Spain and working at a local hospital (everything is paid for except the plane ticket and one meal a day) and i turned it down because i would be getting back in late July and my MCAT is scheduled for early August. After reading this, i honestly said “F*** it” called them and accepted the position. Now i’m so excited I prob won’t be able to finish studying and will maybe fail out and never achieve my dreams (ok, so im being a little dramatic) but i felt i owed it to myself after reading this article from a complete stranger that maybe i should give life a chance and stop living like a 30 year old as my mom so often points out. She says thanks by the way.

    Just some quick points on your 8 things:
    1. So true. people thought i was crazy for switching majors (from engineering at a very competitive school to pre med at a not so competitive one) half way through my junior year but Im so glad i did because even though that meant I would be a 5th year (which rocks btw…can you say an extra season of football!) i have honestly never wanted anything as bad i want to be a Dr.

    5. Find a job that BECOMES important. yea working downtown at a bar will easily make you $400 on a game night but you’re future worker doesn’t really care if you can make a mean martini. However, interning at a hospital where you get paid minimum wage and have to change bed pans and fetch coffee for doctors will at least put you in the environment you want to be in one day and will be a great conversation piece at an interview.

    6. OK so maybe we don’t need a huge safety net but its always good to have somewhat of safety string to fall back on. I was kicked off my parents insurance the day i turned 22…as a broke student with at least 8 years left of school i was kind of S.O.L. My parents being amazing as they are, made me purchase a small student insurance plan. They offered to pay half which i gladly accepted but i still didn’t find it necessary considering I really never get sick and i work at a dr’s office if i ever needed anything. Spring break came along and i went down to Florida, I was bitten by a wasp, nothing serious right? Well, it turns out i was HIGHLY allergic, my body was swollen about 3 times its normal size and i passed out from not being able to breath and had to be rushed to the hospital. All because of a stupid wasp. Minus the deductible, the insurance paid almost everything. back up plans, although seemingly unnecessary, can sometimes save lives…literally in my case.

    well thats it for me. Thanks again! Im gonna go study now…

  • i get what you mean about not stressing over a safety net and just getting out there but if i don’t plan i basically break out into hives. so how’s this for a 19 year old’s compromise? if no one is hiring in the criminal justice field when i graduate i’m going to spend a year or two getting paid 36k to teach english to highschoolers in Japan as a teaching assistant.


  • I’m 19. this is great advice, thank you. i’m headed to spain next year to study but after that im traveling anywhere i can get to.

  • I am 22!
    And travelling is definitely the best way to spend time, I’m off to Cuba right away.
    But I’ll check back and let you know what I wish I’d done in a couple years 🙂

  • i am 45, going on 22 and headed for the hills. travel is my oxygen and i have not taken a deep breath in a spell. no more shallow breaths for me, i am on my way to cuba, argentina, and haiti. i wil keep you posted. “i am going EVERYWHERE, fast.”

  • It’s target audiences like those of this post that make me sad. I’m 25. I’ve never worked in an office. I never will. I’ve had plenty of opportunities. I’ve traveled for work, and I’ve traveled for fun. I worked in Antarctica (still do) and I’m paid to travel to New Zealand to get there. I work for the park service: I get paid to hike and spend time in places people wait in lines for hours to see. If you want to enjoy life, do something you love regardless of what anyone (including your family) says. Do it regardless of how much money you’ll make. Do it because it will make you happy. And stay away from offices or any white collar job for that matter…
    .-= Todd´s last blog ..First Winter Storm, First Winter Problems =-.

  • I am 22 and this past year has been the best year of my life. I worked for half the year at Walt Disney World and then spent the other half sailing around the world on Semester at Sea. I started in Halifax, Nova Scotia and ended in San Diego. I had the opportunity to travel to Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Hawaii. Semester at Sea is an amazing opportunity to see the world and join the less than 1% of the population that can say that they have circumnavigated the globe. It is pretty pricey, but well worth it. And for students they can get credit (I took business classes, but there is a wide range) and lots of financial aid. For adults they have a two for one special going on. I encourage everyone to get out there and explore!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Harajuku and Karaoke =-.

  • Thanks for this post! I am currently 22, just out of Boston University, and interviewing for Advertising agency jobs. This is quite the conflicted period of life – should I invent something incredible immediately, or just be “safe” with the 9 to 5 thing? What a question. It’s rough.

    While I do feel that more job experience is necessary, for me particularly (I have some more skills I would really like to improve on in a business environment), your post gives me hope that if I don’t land a job right now (very possible, given the economy) it’s not the end of the world. It’s probably just a sign I should be enjoying my life a little bit more and not be trying to grow up too fast. 🙂

    I will keep your nice, concise list in mind for a little burst of reassurance that when I’m 40, I’ll probably regret being “responsible” in my 20s.

    Thanks again.
    .-= Cait D.´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

  • Thank you.

    I am 22 right now and I’ve been battling with a lot of the stuff you put on here…like working way to hard on photocopying;-)

    You’re a total rock star and I might just learn how to pack my bags and go for it.

    Have the best day ever!!!


  • My eyes light up upon the mention of the Haymarket, as I myself have spent some quality time there. I am a UMass Amherst student (a junior) currently living in Northampton, MA, and I am about to go study abroad (in 20 days i believe, right around there at least). I am 20 years old, have done some traveling, and don’t intend on stopping until I am broke. At which time I will take a breather, earn some money, and then travel some more. I stumbled upon this page (literally, lol) and am glad I did! thanks for the advice 😀

  • I am 28 now. I think I did a lot of those things you mentioned in your ‘list of things to do’. However, there are consequences for every choice you make! But you have to throw caution to the wind and take the plunge! Everybody dies and you better make it worthwhile before you do.

    Cheers Everybody!

  • im 17 and i stumbled here well i im glade that i stumbled here cus that advice is amazing i have one year of high-school left and i want to do something fun in my life and just 2 days ago i got a speeding ticket it was a 96 in a 55 and now we have personal accounting in school now its required but im wanting to travle now i have always wanted to ither it was just the country or other country’s i think ill take your advice thank you again

  • I don’t know how many people can get above things when they are 22 but i m very unlucky because i have travel out of my country, i never use Credit and debit card. in fact i have not use any things still. now i m 28 years

  • Love the post. I left England in 1969 at the age of 20 to go live in Mallorca, an Island off the coast of Spain. I was offered a job in a disco, they paid my ticket over there and a place to stay till I got oriented so had no reason not to go. At that age I had no big career going on, I had some savings so off I went! I told myself if or when I get down to the price of a ticket home in my savings account then that’s when I pack my bags and go back to (probably) my parents seeing as I would be pretty broke, anyhow I ended up living there for 81/2 yrs! It was the best time ever. From there I went to Canada for a funeral and stayed for a year and a half, loved the country hated the cold so off I went to Hawaii where I lived for 51/2 yrs, got married had a baby and got divorced there, unfortunately because I now was not on my own had to leave there ( too expensive as a single parent ) so went to Virginia to visit extended family, stayed there for 1 and a half yrs, didn’t like the cold there either so headed south to Florida, have been here ever since. So there you go!! You just never know where life may take you. I’m just so glad I took that leap of faith 40 yrs ago.

  • […] glaubst nicht, dass das einfach so geht? Dann lass dir von dieser netten Website mal gehörig in den Arsch treten … meiner tut jetzt noch […]

  • Best advice out there. I’m almost 21 and have been traveling the world since I was 17. I have already been to 5 of the 7 continents. I’m currently in Tokyo, Japan for a study abroad program. I’m barely in my twenties and have seen so much of the world and feel that it makes me a more well-rounded person. I also believe that if you are given an opportunity, just roll with it, never take it for granted. When I was 18 I had to move to Singapore for my dad’s job, and I spent the first 6 months hating it and wishing I was back home until I realized how lucky i actually was and to enjoy myself. There is so much more out there besides where you grew up, go out and experience it!

  • good for those who can afford to spent money for traveling how about for those who cannot is there a best way you can advice for them to do aside from traveling? like in my case i am turning 22 this coming June and like most of you i also love to explore different place know their culture and a lot more. primarily what deters me to do it is that i do not have the money. we know for a fact that when we travel it would really require expenses which were not known if how much. can you think of some brilliant ways for person like me, i mean worthwhile ways which i can enjoy?

    • jhong- I’m in the same boat you are- I want to see the world and have less than a grand to my name. I don’t know what kind of work you’re into- but if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty check out WOOFing- World Organization of Organic Farmers. You can get a seasonal internship that houses you, feeds you, and gives you a small stipend- AND they are all over the world.

  • […] 4. 8 Things I Whish I Knew When I Was 22 – from Christine Gilbert.  Being that I turn 22 in less than a week I found this appropriate… […]

  • Hi,
    I found this list thru “” and think it is great. At 22 i wish someone had told me (in addition to the great advice already posted):
    1. If you really don’t want to get married- DON’T! Even if it is only a few weeks till the wedding and it is all booked etc.
    2. Make sure you do what YOU want to do, not what you THINK you should do.
    3. True friends will stick by you- do what makes you happy!
    4. Your parents will know if you are not happy, trust them to support you.

    I finally realised all this @28- left my husband and deeply unhappy marriage (unhappy for us both), went to live in Europe for a few years and am now happily settled. I travel yearly, i am making steps to move to a career i LOVE (from the one i am good at and pays well) etc.

  • Awesome list! I’m 26 and have been traveling since I was 23, luckily what i thought was reckless and fun turned out to be just a great way to live– on the road and traveling. You mentioned doing it for as low as $1,000. We travel for about half that a month and don’t stay at total crapshoots (though no Hyatts, either).
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..The George Bush Presidential Library =-.

    • Wow. I’ve been keeping track of what I spent this month and it’s over 1000 dollars – and I’m not even traveling! (It is December and I’ve done some modest Christmas shopping)

  • Thank you! This is such a fabulous post and it’s not the “typical” advice you’d get from your average Joe. I’m 22 and thinking about traveling for a year or so and you’ve thoroughly convinced me. It’s refreshing to hear a point of view that doesn’t involve a safety net, toughing it out or things you “should” do. You rock!
    .-= Marian Schembari´s last blog ..Book Review: “Social Media 101″ by Chris Brogan =-.

  • I’m 22 right now. Thank you for validating everything that i believe in 🙂
    .-= Hannah´s last blog ..talkaboutspoonable:brittishcomedylove:brettjohn:HOW NOT TO… =-.

  • Hi,

    Thanks so much for this post and all the comments.
    I’m turning 22 in June. I have a plan in place and not sure if i’m on the ‘right’ path.
    I’m tryin to finish my degree in management (which i have absolutely no interest in) then apply to teach English in Japan for a year when im done the degree. Only thing is by the time im finished the degree i will be about 25-26 ish (I work full time with a catamaran company which i’m doing pretty well in). I don’t want to wait that long to see the world….

    Not sure what to do….any thoughts?

  • 1 & 2 are great!!

    The rest – not so sure. You don’t get unlimited deferments on student loans so don’t expect them.

    Your current job is more important than you think. It is where you build networking opportunities and real world experience – things that are tough to come by in school.

    I would add the advice – SAVE SAVE SAVE!!! (Contradicts #6) – it’s a no brainer to believe that the more savings and the larger the safety net you have – the better. Especially in today’s economy.

    If I had to pick one of these I like the most – #1. Give your dream a shot but get out when you can if things go sour.

  • If I had 22 to live over again I would try and find out who I was before I became what others thought I should be. I didn’t know that I had an authentic self, I didn’t know what it meant to be intentional in my life. Now that I am grown up ; ) I am happy to grasp these things for myself, happy to see my college students that I parent living out their lives knowing these things… but sad that I wasted so much of my life/youth not knowing that I have an authentic self.

      • I completely agree! Traveling is something I love to do, so I sacrifice other things (generally financially) to do it, or I do anything I can to get there!

        And I’m finishing up school with loans, but you can travel cheaply (particularly in certain countries), and get informal jobs if necessary.

    • I completely agree! Traveling is something I love to do, so I sacrifice other things (generally financially) to do it, or I do anything I can to get there!

  • I started out at the young age of 16 – discovering unknown worlds (countries) and new languages became a passion. the point #4 is very true – it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to do all this travelling, there are aloways ways to get around for free or nearly free.

  • gotta love #1. It can take years and years for some people to realise what they like doing. At school/uni i just studied what i was good at but $30k later i realised i didn’t want to do programming.

    Now i’m a graphic designer working for myself and loving life…yay!

  • Excellent blog, so many things one has to research before taking a decision on where to go, what to do, with witch organization, how to fly there, vaccinations, price.

    The 3 main things I can say is to make sure you read many volunteer feedbacks, go here, also ask for previews volunteer emails (ask for the experience), and go with ***Non Profit Organizations***, your costs will be tax deductible (tickets, insurance, program, and anything else you may get for the volunteer experience .

  • Amazing!… 19 years old and i have friends who are currently in spain for 7 months and are traveling Europe. i was debating weather or not to go because i just started a new job and was scared to leave incase i wouldnt find anything else. but reading this ive made up my mind. i will be saving up all the money i can for the next couple months and then im gone!
    thanks for the pushh!

  • I too, fell into the credit card debt trap during college and am still paying for it even though I’ve been a college grad for 2 years. Tough lessons, but at least I learned them now!
    .-= Kelsey´s last blog ..New Client Website is Almost Finished! =-.

  • Actually, I think #6 is one of the most important things to trust in. If you trust in life, it will work out. If you take that leap, the net will appear. It just works.

    • The world is divided into people who say they’d like to travel, but… & people who travel.

  • Motivational writeup.
    hmm, i would give myself an advice, to try different adventures around the globe.
    Bunjee jump is the first thing i would do

  • Good advice. I am 36, in transition after living in Japan/Romania for the past 6 years, and trying to prepare for an MBA program this Autumn. I work as a banquet server in the meantime to earn some money and am surrounded by twenty-something year old workers that “seep” eagerness out of every pore. At 36 I just can’t get that excited about mopping a floor or moving tables and saying “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” to people who don’t know me from Adam. My coworkers seem to love this work and this list helps to make me feel a bit normal in my way of viewing my current situation.

  • Great article! Life is meant to be enjoyed. When you’re 22-years-old, do what you want to do and allow no one to hold you back. If you want to embark on a year of travel then go ahead and do it.

    It would behoove people to stop listening to the advice of others. Take a step back and look at the lives of family and friends. Are they happy? Did they accomplish what they wanted to do? Are they financially set? Are they living life to the fullest? Are they grateful for what they have? If not, they’re not the role models for you!

  • What a fantastic list. I feel I should share with you an amazing course I did in Cairo that I found life changing – Sarah Merron of Fire Dragon Coaching teaches strategies that really helped me focus on getting the best out of myself and others around me, for both my work and personal life. She runs courses all over the world, so it’s a fantastic way to travel at the same time. Here’s the link, I found it had a very powerful effect on my life: If you ever head to that part of the world, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  • I went and lived a year abroad when I was 22 and it was the best experience I ever had! Went into a little debt, but it was worth it and it’s now paid off. Loved it so much that I am now 26 and moving back again next year. Enjoy these things while you can!

  • I’m glad I stumbledupon this page. I’m really looking into traveling at the moment, I’ve been to Fiji, Hong Kong, Vietman and Thailand. I’ve just sold my car.
    Although it is now summer here in Australia and most of the places i want to go are beginning winter soon which isn’t too appealing.
    Where is nice and warm this time of year?

  • Definitely!
    I didn’t really know so much about that until I really start hardcore traveling in 2006, but that also felt nice to have some safety net and some budget on the road to do what i wish to do!

    But a lot of the good advices can be practical for the 22’s now 🙂

  • Guess I’m lucky to find and read this while I’m not even 22! Thanks for sharing, it’s gives me a little more hope everyday to read things like that. I WILL be able to do my rtw trip!

  • I am so sending this to the bf who’ll be turning 22 in a few hours. He really has to travel and see me already. Why does USA have to be so far off from Asia anyway? Hehe

    Thanks for this, Christine! 😉

  • Hi,

    stumbled upon this wistful post. My two cents. Not asking for sympathies, nor projecting myself as someone who was very brave or heroic or strong or stable. I’m just as ordinary as the next person who may come across this.
    I was 20 when I lost my father to a sudden heart attack. He was a vegetarian, a non-alcoholic, non-smoker, exercised daily, had no history of high cholestrol, blood sugar or any other symptom or habit that might have suggested an impending heart attack. We were lost. exactly 5 months and 25 days later, I lost my mother to breast cancer. I was still finishing my studies, my elder sister was barely settled in her first job.
    The point I’m writing all this is that though the points you mention above are fantastic and may be applicable to some, the ground realities are sometimes strikingly different. In this part of the world ( at least), by the time you are 22, you are finishing your education and your family is looking upto you to starting earning and becoming financially stable.
    I personally believe that work should be taken seriously, not the organization you work for / in. It’s your job that will teach you to be dedicated, tenacious, persevering. These qualities will contribute to your work ethic later, in whatever you do in / with your life.
    And yes, even if blokes in this part of the world start working at 24-25, we do manage to enjoy life in our own special, weird, quirky, unique, little, quiet ways 🙂
    Hope I’ve not stepped on anyone here. As I said at the beginning, my two cents.

    • Anand,

      Thank you for sharing this. I lost my mother to cancer at the age of 22, and I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you to be going through what you are. You may not have been eliciting sympathy, but you have mine as well as my love, even though I don’t know you (doesn’t matter).

      I believe that the secret to a happy life is to find a way to do something that you love in order to make your way through life. Live your dreams, but you have to be willing to make great sacrifices, take huge risks, and deal with failure to get to the end of the yellow brick road.

      I am a reality-based dreamier who has grown concerned about this “it’s all good” mentality. I consider my ability to have travelled since my mid-twenties during the 1990’s to have been a matter of really great timing more than anything else, and the fact that I hooked up with an experienced traveler who was in his mid fourties at the time (we are still together!). We were able to live this dream life then, but over the past decade, the dream has fallen by the wayside, as did our means of making a living. Now, we are scraping by in Patagonian Argentina, waiting for our writing careers to take off. Yes, we have lived a life of winging it, but we are both smart, flexible, and willing to live with the uncertainty that we might just run out of money for food, this month – been there, done that – not very fun, after a few decades have worn the youthful romance off of the whole idea.

      The reality is that it is not possible to travel for free or nearly for free, as one commentor has said. The reality is that those who are legitimizing the sentiment of this post by expressing their own ability to begin traveling at a young age are not telling us how they have managed to do so – and I suspect that parental assistance or some such monetary stability has been the reason. The reality is that one does not just start blogging, and all of a sudden, they are making money. The reality is that writers have become a dime a dozen, in this economic downturn, and getting a book published or a freelance writing gig is very very competitive and requires lot’s of time and patience. The reality is that people who have MBA’s, business experience, mentors, and connections are the ones who are successful, often by dispensing hope for free and advice for a fee.

  • Good article but I do have to say one thing–I’m glad I waited until I was 28 to start traveling. I don’t think at 22 I was mentally ready nor mature enough to handle being away from home.

    Not to offend anyone, but as an ESL teacher and traveler I find that many people under 25 don’t take the work or travel seriously…a lot of them are here or there to party and live it up with other foreigners. They get drunk and brag about how they’ve seen the world. So not my thing anymore.

    It’s great to travel while one is young but I don’t think anything is wrong with waiting until your 30’s, 40’s, or beyond to give up life in the cubicle and set out on your own world adventure.

  • a) Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. You are your own private corporation, so be diligent in investing and building your corporations(yourself)image. Otherwise all you will ever do is make other people money.
    b) Product knowledge is simply semantics, you can teach a monkey the details of a product and how to repeat it, but developing and learning the skills necessary to discover and/or create a need, then convey that vision to others (who will have very different and varied personality types) is a true hard earned skill.
    c) Sell by day that you may sleep well by night. Over a long career, I guarantee you that things go full circle. That little guy you stiffed ten years ago might be the CEO you need to meet with tomorrow. Which leads to…
    d) Treat every women like the Queen of England and every man like the Prince of Whales because you never know who you may actually be speaking with. An ancient Greek historian Herodotus said “I will write of all things great and all things small, for what is now great may one day be small and what is now small may one day be great”.
    e) You need to be self assured and self motivated but never be cocky, you will win sometimes that way but it always comes back to roost.
    f) get up everyday and say, what will I do today to promote business tomorrow, then do at minimum at least one thing.
    g) Finally, never think about the money. As Kenny Rogers would sing in the Gambler, ‘never count your money while your sitting at the table’. Do the job you said you would, take care of the client first, over deliver and the money will take care of itself.

  • Can I just say thank you?

    I know you wrote this two years ago, but I just found this post.

    Today I made the decision to leave my job in six months (I’m 22 and graduated college a year ago) to go to Prague to get TEFL certified and travel and teach…for who knows how long.

    This post soothed some of my worries–and I’m sure I’ll re-read it many times in the next few months. I look forward to reading more of your blog! 🙂

  • The only thing I have to complain is about the crap about get a 35 year old to do the job. I have worked with older and younger men/women. Sorry I have about 20 people that work directly with me that are somewhere in between 20 to 29 pretty much every single one is worthless. Never check on work they just sit up stairs till one of the older guys tell them to get down stairs and do some work.

  • Harmful piece. Don’t need a safety net? How irresponsible do you want people to be? If everyone lived the way you describe in these points, society would be a train-wreck.

  • i’m 22 as well, in my last years of uni. still not sure about what i’m going to do after i finish studies- just one thing is sure- not to continue studies instantly.
    travelling is great, but now i have dilema- whtether to spend a year going faraway places i haven’t been to or trying to work for my old dream to dance which sounds so unrealistic when u’r already 22. in this case i think choosing dancing would be more adequate though desire to go to nyc, cuba etc is burning as well

  • Hi. I usually do not leave comments on websites, but today I feel like it. Travel is important, crucial. I’m only 19 and I have been lucky enough to travel to a bunch of countries. It really helps us comprehend how the world really is.
    USA, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Monaco, France, Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium (and one more but I’m not allowed to say).

  • Most of my friends went to university and then went on to job ‘A’. By the time they were creeping up on 30 they started to figure out what they really wanted to do…the cop became a lawyer; the hippy history grad is now a Doctor; etc, etc.
    That decade between 20 and 30 was designed to cut loose and expand your horizons…all of them!
    22 is too early to figure out what the hell you’ll do with the next 60.

  • Responsibilities are overrated (except your own children- never just shove them aside- bring them with you). Hop on your bicycle and get to know your own little neck of the woods- it’s surprising how far you can travel by bike and what little details you miss when going by car.

  • Ah the Haymarket. The workers there are a bunch of rolly-eyed beatches and you can’t hang out downstairs anymore for 10 billion hours picking at a grilled cheese you bought five hours ago, but I can’t help but love the place. Swamp Thing!

  • I’m 22, and infinitely thankful I’ve realized these 8 things now as opposed to 40-something with my life traded in for a 9to5 paycheck. My next step is #8: to go travel now!

  • I am 67. When I was 20 I decided that I wanted to “see the world” but was penniless. I joined the Air Force for 10 years and was stationed in London for 3 years, Vietnam for a year, and Tokyo for 3 years out of the 10. I traveled all over in those places and took military standby flights as often as I could. I also flew as an embassy courier. Others hated that “detail” so I often volunteered to take their trips for them.

    I have visited around 100 countries, some of which (South Vietnam and the Congo Republic) no longer exist and have never regretted a minute of it.

    I try to travel as often as I can, and am often a “contrarian” traveler. My wife and I spend 3 weeks in Europe 3 weeks after 9/11. We went to Bangkok after the SARS scare, as just two examples. In both cases there were heavy subsidies for tourists that made it incredibly cheap.

    Right now, I would be looking at Egypt as a destination. As stability returns to the country, the Egyptian government will attempt to jumpstart tourism by offering huge subsidies for airfare, ground transportation, and lodging. There will probably be about a 3-month window in which not only will travel to Egypt will be very, very cheap, but you will be treated extremely well in the hopes that you will tell others.

  • 1. Sharply limit the amount of time during which you defer your life dreams and desires for someone else’s. And make sure that you do so in the first place because making an investment in their life will pay dividends in yours–not just because you think it’s what a “good girl/boyfriend should do”. Nobody’s waiting with a gold star for your martyrdom on the other side of that pretend-to-be-a-grownup relationship.

    2. Not everything society says is bad or dangerous, actually is. Some of it will free you from chains nobody ever acknowledges. Conversely, however, there are things you feel in your gut to be bad and wrong, that society will pressure you to take part in. Listen to your gut. Unlike every other voice you hear, it has nothing at stake but your well-being.

    3. You’ll pass through the first half of your twenties trying to be as adult and responsible as you can, have an identity crisis between 24-26, and spend the remainder of your time until 30 attempting to figure out what you actually really wanted to do, and doing it, before you lose your chance to be a Wunderkind.

    4. Don’t date people who don’t hang anything on their walls. They don’t care about life.

  • I was on my second Uni course not really know what I wanted to do in life. But I decided to drop everything and backpack across New Zealand and live in Australia for a few months. I was 23 and I’d never travelled on my own nor had I even travelled outside North America.

    It changed my life.

    I came back and realized what I wanted to do with my life. So I changed my uni course for a third time. I didn’t graduate until I was 26 but now, now I’ve been living in Brighton UK for over 3 years now doing what I love. And I would need a pen and paper to count all the places I’ve seen!

    Everyone should travel. I honestly believe travel broadens the mind. I believe it makes you a more educated and a more open person.

    Plus, it’s bloody good fun!

    • *knowing (after ‘not really’)
      *omit the last ‘now’ after ‘3 years’

      I really should have re-read before posting!

  • #3 is ultimately and indefinitely incorrect i work for a major loan company many private loans get 24 months of forbearance and 3 month increments of QUALIFYING deferments like military leave, internship and so forth. As for Federal loans they get 60 months of forbearance and have many many deferments but dont be naive you will have to pay them back and if you dont someone will…tax payers

  • I had a kid and was married at 22. Not the end of the world because now at 65 the mortgage is paid, we have no debt, the kids have been long gone, the pets and plants are dead and we are ready to retire and do those things that we didn’t do when we were 22. If this has happened to you, take plenty of vitamins and eat healthy food and you too can do all of that stuff later without any health problems.

  • its people like this guy that have our country in the economic downturn we are now in. deferring your loans indefinitely. wtf….im 19 and i know that this is stupid. i believe in the travelling bit but to a point. try to get a scholarship in college to do a study abroad best thing in the world to do

  • I am 23 and decided I wanted to travel. I became an Au Pair for a year, and I am now living in Amsterdam. I only get paid 400 euros per month, but I have free room and board. The 400 euros is definitely enough to travel around on. Best thing I have ever done!

  • Now that I’m unemployed and living on only child support, I can say definitely that you will NOT be given indefinite deferrals for your school loans. Great Lakes is suing me and adding late fee after late fee.

    • UM–> I said, “deferred practically indefinitely” The key word is PRACTICALLY. Like for a few years. Maybe 5 or 10 if you wanted. And if you have a loan with “Great Lakes” you don’t have a federal student loan, you have a private loan, which is not the same thing.
      They don’t sue you for calling them and deferring. They don’t add late payments either. They do continue charging interest, but if your goal is to travel for a few years after college –> WHICH IS THE POINT OF THIS ARTICLE –> then you could do that. You could defer your loans for a year, travel around, then take another year of deferments while you go get a job. I didn’t know that when I was 22, and I wrote this article 10 years later after I quit my job to travel around the world, and realized, HEY! I could have done this a long time ago.

  • Christine, it’s amazing how this 3 year old (but not obsolete) post is still getting comments! My favorite on your list is #1. To me working for one of the Big Four banks was so important when I started, but in the grand scheme of things, sure it’s practical, steady income, but it isn’t what I love. I’m 27 and in the last couple of months my wanderlust has snowballed into the conviction that I have to break away from the cubicle. Thank you for sharing your experiences! -Nani

  • Great post- I’m 24 years old and having just graduated from college almost three years ago and spent the last two years abroad in Paris, I am at a crossroads in my life and this list hit home. My current job is nothing I imagined myself doing, has a meager salary, and brings me little happiness. I am trying to get that “almost fearless” attitude to bring me to the next step in life by doing the thing I love- travel.

  • I’m 22 right now and #1 hit home for me. I went to law school straight out of undergrad because I thought that being a lawyer was the most practical use of my International Relations (might as well be Theoretical Theory). I hate it. I wish I had seen this earlier and didn’t invest almost 70k (in debt) to pursue a dream I never really had. Next year I’m going into a field that I love, Geography & Urban Planning. I knew all those years playing Sim City and buying maps was for something!

    Btw, nice post! I’m going to Amsterdam next fall. Hoping to keep it at a reasonable price.

  • I am 22, and honestly it’s not that easy. I would love to switch my career to something I love but I have credit card debt (was burned too because of the recession and I kept loosing jobs), I also have a mortgage to pay and I’m married.

    Picking up and going isn’t that easy, even for my age. I would love to though. Maybe in a few years once I’ve paid off my debts and gone to school I can finally do this because honestly I don’t want much in my life to change for the next 10 years.

  • Question, how safe is it to travel somewhere in Southern parts of Asia, or places in South America?

  • thanks, made me feel even better about my decision to join the Peace Corps. see you in 2.5 years!

  • I first traveled alone when I was 19. Hitched all over the place. I think traveling is one of the most character building things anyone can do, and it will always make you feel like you’re really alive.

    My only regret is not traveling more than I did when I was younger, but I can and will still do it (in my mid fifties now) even with a backpack and no money.

    I came to America from England 14 years ago today (just realised it!) with just $350 and a guitar and a suitcase, having walked out of my life in the UK.

    Best thing I’ve ever done, and my greatest adventure to date. I thoroughly recommend traveling with little money. Work for a living wherever you go, and you truly experience being abroad.

    There is NO EXCUSE for not traveling nowadays. Work on a ship to get somewhere if you have to, but just do it.

  • There is nothing wrong with being driven in your 20s and pushing to get into your field early. I graduate from Uni in June, and I’ve already been accepted and enrolled in a professional masters programme for August. The summer between my 1st and 2nd year of Uni I worked 2 jobs 7 days a week to make enough money to afford Uni, the next summer I had an unpaid internship and a part-time job working 6 days a week, last summer I had a paid internship working 5 days a week. This coming summer I will be working full-time in a cafe kitchen while taking 2 online courses. I don’t regret it at all.
    My dedication to my internships and my undergrad is the only reason I’m getting into a professional degree without any industry experience.
    The fact that I am not the only 20-something commenting on this article and the ‘rose-tinted glasses’ hindsight it represents reassures me that I’m not the only one who knows that especially in this economy, stability is the priority.

  • There are a lot of great programs for recent grads to work abroad. If you are American, BUNAC has programs in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. The JET program has opportunities to work in Japan. Once you have a work permit, you can fund your own travels and live in another country without having a lot of money in the bank. Taking a year to live abroad and travel was one of the best things I ever did.

  • However, if you do skip the travel, work hard in a practical job and save your money, you may have less adventures but you will have soooooo much money by the time you’re 30 you can get a great house in a good area, relax, never worry about money again, even if you have unexpected injuries or other expenses.

    You can go out partying at your favorite local club and but $200 bottles of champagne without giving it a second thought.

    And when you do take that annual holiday, you’re rocking that shit 5-star style. No couch-surfing like a deadshit loser!

    • In responding to Adros:

      I don’t think the article was meant to encourage an escape mentality. It was not meant to tell people to let go of their lives and live like “deadshit losers” like you call them.

      This aritcle is encouraging people to choose their lifestyle to be in charge of their life. To find something that can allow them that flexibility to do what they have always wanted to do (travel being one of them).

      No disrespect but sounds like you are choosing the safe way out of live. This post is for those of us who DARE TO BE ADVENTUROUS. Those of us who want to see the world outside the useless $200 bottles in boring clubs. Those of us who don’t want to sit in a padded room and walk safely till we die.

      Mark Twain once said that we often don’t regret the things that we did but rather the things that we did not do.

      I would rather be out there surfing the world, meeting new people, creating memories, without the financial security walking through life while dead inside.

  • Considering taking a job in DRC, even though it’s risky. Happen to stumble to this and read the first comment… Is this a sign? I’m almost 26 and I firmly believe that you should take chances and push yourself to the limit… Otherwise, you might have regrets when you’re older. That is what I would tell myself at 22, which is why I chose to do Peace Corps at that age as well. Best choice I’ve ever made… my life is entirely different because of it. So. Travel and take chances! Maybe I’ll take an incredible chance on the DRC.

  • 23, just returned from backpacking Asia…about to return my corporate job…dredding it and loving the bright lights around this forum..(or at least the beginning half of the comments lol) Grazie to the experienced travelers who understand the drawing desire within to do more than sit at a desk for 9 hours a day while I’m still young enough to opt out…here’s to following dreams 🙂

  • Haha it just so happens that I turn 22 a week from today. I graduate college in December and plan on taking a year to make some cash and then go to Europe for a year or so. Glad to see someone else who is encouraging it, makes me a little more sure of my choice!

  • Come on, Deferment of student loans forever? Come on now, that is ridicules and irresponsible.

  • I am 51. I agree with the spirit of the article. For those with the desire for adventure, it is meant to say “just do it”. For those who choose college, job, marriage, etc., that’s ok as well. It is your choice, and everyone’s choices have outcomes and consequences.

    I traveled a lot in college, and had amazing opportunities. I have had people who married and had children at that age tell me they didn’t have those “opportunities” to do it. Actually yes…you did. You just made different choices.

    Even now, I rent my home, have no car payments or credit card debt. I travel 2-3 times a year. It is MY choice to not have a mortgage, a new car or use my credit card. I live BELOW my means and so have the ability to do things that other people are not able to do due to their obligations.

    Choices…it is all about choices…and a sense of adventure.

  • Thanks for the list it was really inspiring. I just turned 20, and I have to agree with some people that it is very annoying when older people act like traveling would be so much easier if they were younger. The truth is that the economy is very different from what it was in the 90’s when the older people were probably in their early twenties, and it can be very difficult to get and entry-level job… anywhere. That being said, #5 is SOOO true, especially with people my age who act entitled. I will print out this list and stick it to my wall 🙂

  • at 22, i’m trying to keep this stuff in mind as much as possible–mostly, the career-related bits. personally ive found it very easy to travel as an undergrad, but i wonder how well i’ll do when i’m out of the semester system and facing down loans!

  • i did simple graduation,,,, i studied tourism.. i did the job in travel agencies …
    now running own travel agency successfully….
    but alot responsibilities are there…

  • “This is the time to be travel carefree” – too right, my love for high class accommodation means I could never backpack now. The time has gone 🙁

    • […] que leía varios artículos, dejaba algunos comments y me divertía de lo lindo cuando llegué a esta página. Fácilmente la he leído siete u ocho veces desde que me topé con ella ¿por […]

  • Love reading this because I am 22 and am about to travel to Sweden for a year! It’s nice getting reassurance that this is the best time to travel and that everything will work out!

  • love this post!
    I turn 22 in 4 years and in 10 weeks i’m backpacking solo around Italy, Spain, Morocco, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
    Everybody asks if I’m scared, being so young and a girl and all, but in twenty years I’d more likely to regret what I didn’t do than what I did do!

  • 1.join a frequent flyer program ASAP and stick to using airlines in the system. For example Staralliance.

    2.dont worry much about what others think about you.

    3. train with moderation if you want to have hips and knees by your 40s.

    4. listen to the ‘wear sunscreen’ song once a week and follow it.

  • I agree with everything BUT the part about deferring your loans. I did that, not to travel, but to continue my education – my employer paid for me to get an advanced degree and my loans automatically deferred as soon as I enrolled. HUGE mistake to take that deferment! I racked up so much more in interest that I owe thousands more than I would have otherwise.

    I am now 34 and leaving to travel for a year and I am not deferring my loans – I took into account my monthly payments as I saved for the trip and I will continue to make payments while I am gone.

  • Mine would sadly be ‘don’t smoke so much weed.’ Sure enjoy the moment but don’t over do it like I did. It took me a long time to sort out thereafter. Oh and definitely travel. No matter what you think you’ll be missing, each time you come back everything will pretty much be the same as it was before except some couples will have swapped partners and you’re parents will seem a little bit more nuts.

  • I’m a student at the University of Pennsylvania/the Wharton School taking a semester of absence to travel. And I love, love, love this post. Thank you for writing it. I’m not quite 22 but I do feel like a huge mistake I could make right now is not traveling – spending my hard-earned summer money on something enriching and educational in the *truest* sense.

    Best wishes and happy travels! I’ll be following your blog. =)

    – Alice

  • This is great advice. I’m 23 hating life and work is shitty in LA. I spend every chance I get out doing something and taking photos of it. Last night I had a crazy photo journey through Hollywood ending at 5 am… I just started a photo blog, post everyday and am gearing up to just pick up and start traveling. Anyone have some pointers before I take off?

  • […] 8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 22 | […]

  • Great post!!! I am in my twenties and completely agreed! I learned these things when I was about 24 and life’s been great ever since 🙂 I have posted the link to this blog on my site as well and I hope that is ok with you! Everyone should know and try to apply this to their lives no matter what age!

    Thank you very much for sharing!

    The Passport Report

  • […] We like this girl. “It doesn’t cost as much as you’d think to travel. You don’t need to save $50,000 to spend a year overseas. If you’re young, willing to sleep anywhere (hello, couchsurfing!) and go to countries off the beaten tourist track, then you can survive on much less (I’ve heard as low as $1000/mo).” 8 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 22 […]

  • This post helps me justify my decision to start my own travel blog. Three weeks out of college (I was 22) I started working full-time and thought that the job was more important than it was….three years later here I am writing about what I love – travel!

  • […] a Giant Sandcastle I don’t care if you’re 31 or 85, when you show up at those pearly gates you have to be able to say that you built a giant […]

  • A little about my sistuation before my questions: I graduated from college in May. I’ve been living on my own for over 4 years, bills, responsibilities, leases etc. I’ve always wanted to travel, but have been to scared to have absolutely no money to fall back on, so to speak. I’m a saver. I have a job that pays well, entry-level, nothing special. I’ve been feeling extremely unfulfilled lately and want to go!

    I just don’t understand the logistics of traveling and working… how do you find a job? How long can you stay in each country? Do I have to get a working visa to work while I’m traveling? I’ve read so many blogs and looked into so many different options, but they don’t seem accessible to someone who wants to move around and make money as well.

  • Definitely go travel 🙁 I am 22 now and I dream of traveling but I have no one to travel with.

    My siblings don’t want to go with me because they have other options (girlfriends/boyfriends), my one (and only) best human friend can’t travel because of her religion (she can only go with family), my dogs are not humans so they are not even allowed anywhere… and I have no one else to ask.

    Yes I am one lonely 22 year old, crying as I type this because I know that in a few years I will be hitting my head against the wall asking myself where did the years go :'(

    • You aren’t alone going though that. I’m 22 and I have about two semi close friends and many distant ones that I might as well call acquaintances. But fortunately I did a study abroad program in college and traveled all over Europe. It was then that I learned that a lot people travel alone. If you are courages enough go out and do it on your own. (obviously do your homework) You can look up the best hostels to stay at and i promise you will make lots of friends there. Everyone staying at hostels is around the same age and many people are on their own. Carpe Diem !
      – And never forget that you will never be as young as you are right now

  • l am 22 right now and my days are busy @ work .but m going to travel a bit more coz m still young and very much excited and motivated and to enjoy life to da fullest

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