MOVING house and changing jobs can be a daunting experience for anyone. But stuffing your life into a backpack and traveling halfway around the world to start again in another country is downright scary. School leavers do it for their gap year before starting university and many 18 – 24 year old Aussies and Kiwis make the voyage to the UK for a two year working holiday that seems to have become a rite-of-passage.
But what if you have just passed through your mid-twenties, graduated university many Jager bombs ago, and have just been hitched? Is it acceptable to follow the herd heading to the northern hemisphere with nothing but a smartphone, camera and backpack? What age is ‘too old’ to experience that traditional “gap year” or “working holiday”?
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you must know that Generation Y (those born 1981 – 1999) is shaped by constant social connectivity and known for living off credit. Work seems less fundamental and we are much more flexible about how we work, when we work and why we work. But Generation Y’s flexible work ethic and increased spending means that it is much harder to break into the property market or score a high paid management job in the hope of settling down. Instead, our CVs are overflowing with ‘life experience’ and our savings accounts have become overdrafts.
When faced with a life-changing opportunity Generation Y(not) have the ability (but perhaps not the money) to say “why not?”
Why not see the world at an age when you can better appreciate the history and the culture, not just the cheap hostel beds and student drinking prices? Why not live out of a backpack and experience the world with my best friend? Why not move to London, jobless and homeless, in our first year of marriage?
We travel as a couple, share our expenses and together we are creating memories to last a lifetime. Traveling in a couple means that there is always someone to help carry your pack and there is someone to take a photo of you doing stupid poses at the leaning Tower of Pisa or on the back of an elephant.
In our case, it also meant that I had someone to cry with after my bag was stolen in Paris and I had someone to help me with the forms for our replacement passports. I also had someone to sit in hospital with, waiting for X-rays, numerous doctors’ visits and surgery to fix my broken foot.
It doesn’t bother me that we missed out on the traditional “gap year”. Our one-way, round the world honeymoon has become an incredible adventure, and sharing the whole experience with my best friend made it much less scary.
This is 2013 and I am an (almost) 27 year old Honeymooning Nomad in our “honeymoon year”. It might not be a craze yet, but it will be!