Honestly, it’s never occurred to me to do otherwise. I simply cannot comprehend the idea of running off to college just to get some degree that I will most likely never use, while sinking myself into tons of debt that I’ll have to pay off until my old age.
Unless I had intended on becoming an engineer or doctor, I didn’t see why I needed college.
I never pictured myself jumping into a college or university, sitting for hours a day learning information I’d never use, investing my time to something that would most likely be of little use to me while debt piled sky high just so I could get something called a ‘degree’…just so I could feel ‘accepted’.
It simply never appealed to me.
Often, people ask me where I went to school or which school am I currently attending or what am I studying right now.
My automatic response is to say something like, “Actually, I’m more of a traveler.” And I have to explain my lifestyle and how I bounce around back and forth between the States and Europe, and enjoy getting seasonal work here and there to earn enough money to go on my next trip or invest in things that are personal and important to me.
For you see, I am more than just a ‘traveler‘. I’m an artist, a writer, a poet, a musician and singer as well as an aspiring photographer. But because I’ve not yet fully developed myself to my full potential in these other areas, I lean on the ‘traveler’ description and add that I enjoy many other things, such as what I’ve already mentioned above.
There was, nonetheless, a period of time in which I struggled to know exactly where it was I was going in life – sometimes I wonder still. I think it’s the waiting part. But I’d rather keep living and loving my life, than to become swallowed up in an office job someplace working long hours and hating my life.
I didn’t do what society expected of me. Why should I? Am I so shallow that I should sweep my dreams and goals under the rug, writing them off as ‘silly’ and ‘unrealistic’ and join the endless rat-race, slaving away everyday just to make ends meet, just to be approved of by the general public?
Such a life would lead to misery for me.
When I was 18, a few months before I took off to Europe for the first time (I had gone to Switzerland) I read this book called The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau. Amazing book. This book both helped shape and change my way of thinking. It is an absolutely fantastic read and I’ve read it over and over. The author encourages all individuals to live life by their own terms; not society’s. It inspires one to find true happiness in life by actually living, and asks a lot of important questions to get the reader thinking about his or her own life and what direction they are going in.
Special note: This book is for those who want to break away from the ‘conventional’ lifestyle and start living unconventionally. The author also encourages not so much that you shouldn’t go to college per se, but to live your dreams. If your dreams are to go to college and study, by all means – GO FOR IT! But if you’re going to college simply because it’s what the rest of the crowd is doing and you’re following after them, then he strongly discourages it. He wants it to be YOUR dream and yours alone. And you must believe in your dreams, no matter how crazy they may be.
So I had this mindset before I joined the workforce. When I was 19 I got my first job working at a Bed&Breakfast The Addison on Amelia and worked there for about 2 years. I loved this job. It was a family owned business that was run by great people who became like family. I loved my work. But I and everyone else knew I wasn’t meant to stay. I even took time off to travel for 3 months and came back getting rehired! When I left the job for good, it was for 2 reasons: my family was moving out of state, and I was making a 3rd trip overseas.
When I came back from Europe a third time, I decided that I needed to once again get a job. I had to. But I didn’t settle for some fast-food joint or movie theater. I wanted something more. So I got busy researching online for seasonal work in another state and I found The YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado and knew it was meant to be. I just did. And I went for it.
I’ve met a lot of like-minded individuals, too, both young and old. And I can’t tell you how many times my fellow peers have commented, once they hear about how I did things after my high school years, of how they wish they had done the same as me – to have waited on college, or to have traveled first, etc. I also can’t count how many teens or young adults I’ve met who are either not going to college at all, or are dropping out. It’s crazy! So many like-minded people just like myself.
This has encouraged me so much and I feel I’ve encouraged many others.
It simply comes down to: committing to what’s most important in your life – what matters most to you…and then choosing to pursue it. To believe in it. Choosing to make changes. To start getting serious. To get busy.
Life, as we know, is short. Very short. It is not something to be taken advantage of. I’m of the mentality: make everyday count.
I’m not sure how long I’ll keep traveling, but it makes me happy. I don’t really have any attachments or things holding me back. I enjoy traveling within the country and outside of it. I’ve met amazing people, made incredible memories, learned so many new things, and have touched and been touched by peoples’ lives. It’s such a beautiful thing. I really can’t say how beautiful it really is.
I still have a store of many dreams – making my own music album, writing books, selling my art and having a successful blog and YouTube channel. It will take time, but I will do all of the above someday 🙂
There’s so much life to be had that’s waiting to be lived! It saddens me when I see people throwing their lives away and doing something not because they want to, but because they feel they have to. And I don’t mean have to in the way of, for example, how a writer has the urge to write or the pianist to compose, etc.
What I mean is living unhappily ever-after. To live that regular 9-5 job, and having a balanced life.
This is not how life is meant to be lived. Life is too precious to be wasted. And, as I’ve already mentioned, very short. We don’t live forever and there’s only so much time we have to make the most and best with our lives with no regrets.
We must live a fulfilled life.