Whoa, who’s asking the question? A fresh-out-of-schooler? A University student? A graduate? Depending on where you’re coming from, my advice would be very different. I only know from my own experience; not only through my own mistakes and triumphs, but through meeting and listening to folk from many different walks of life. You’d be surprised what a Buddhist monk in the middle of a meditation hall of Burma has to say about life over sweet chai tea and dragon fruit slices. Why not go find out for yourself? I can tell you right now, I never even considered such a question when I first came out of school, an all boys private school in Melbourne’s bayside area that was.
‘Go to University', that’s what the school, family and everyone else was telling me. Those people who I saw preparing to go on trips overseas or take some time off, nah man, they were crazy. Who wants to delay their future, right?! Wrong idea. Or more so, a narrow-minded misconception of how to live life. In all honesty, I had no real-life experience at that point. Don’t ask an 18-year-old private school boy about life decisions, you’ll soon find yourself running manic circles in amongst bouts of peer-pressure-induced stress. Or better yet, maybe you’ll spend the first few years of ‘adulthood’ losing yourself in amongst episodes of binge drinking and long hours of scrolling through Netflix, waiting for the latest season of ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘House of Cards’, or my favourite, ‘Orange Is the New Black’, that sh*t is funny. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe there’s anything inherently ‘bad’ about any of this. But there’s a lot more to life than what you may think, when you’re younger anyway. I think the problem was that I didn’t listen to people older than me; I was far too stubborn. And I don’t blame people for being stubborn; especially when they’re doing what they think is right for them. I must say, eight years later, I feel a little more informed. Hell, I don’t regret anything, but there is plenty you don’t realise fresh out of school.
First of all, if you think you’re going to stay in Melbourne, find a partner, work and raise a family, go travel. If you’re feeling restless though and you’re itching for something new, go travel. If you have no idea what you’d like to do in the future but feel like a university degree or a job might kick your butt into gear for a head start, for the love of god, go travel! I may not have done this myself, or perhaps was quite ready for it at the time, but after watching my friends and peers go through various art, science, business, commerce, engineering, exercise science and teaching degrees, I’d say only a fraction of them really did the right thing. What I am saying is that there are aspects to your person and experiences that you can’t even comprehend yet, or never will - until you go and travel. Until you’ve spent long hours by yourself, or in the company of kind strangers from random countries. Until you go to a place you had never imagined, or could have never imagined. Until you’re forced to make a decision, by yourself, without anyone else around to tell you what to do.
In short, if you’re reading this in Melbourne and you’re a young adult, chances are you’ve lived a ‘sheltered existence’ in a bubble. Maybe you’ve travelled with family? Maybe you’ve had a couple of vacations here and there, seeing some sights, visiting random places in Asia, Europe, America; or even in the Australian outback. But I can tell you right now, with all the glitz and glamour flashed around our city, appreciation for the life we live here is hard to develop when you have nothing to compare it to. And when I say the rest of the world, I mean the version of reality you live in is very narrow. Get real; take a walk on the wild side.
Written by Ethen K.