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Opinion : Pack Your Bags!

I don’t have the money.  I don’t have the time.  I have the rest of my life to travel. Sound familiar? Maybe even like something you may have said to yourself?  Welcome to the plight of the 21st century university student.

I think it’s fair to say that everyone has some desire to travel, whether it’s overseas or not. This desire is something that most of us feel at a relatively young age.  The chance to go somewhere new and try something different is an enticing prospetc.  Unfortunately, for most university students, it is difficult to turn this desire into a reality.             

The biggest obstacle here is obviously funds.  Traveling costs money that most students simply don’t have to spare.  Even if they did have the money saved up, taking the time out of work and school to travel means even more dollars lost.

I’m here to tell people that they should travel during university anyways.  Now, before anyone gets the big idea that I’m part of a super wealthy family or have an anonymous benefactor who pays my tuition, let me just say this.  Other than the $1,000 a semester I get from my RESP, I pay for my school, rent, and groceries completely on my own.  That means that I work two jobs and have an obscene amount of student loans.  But this summer, I’m going to Southeast Asia for six weeks and here’s why:

One day I suddenly realized that if I waited to start living my life until all my debts were paid off, I would be waiting a really long time.  I mean, I’m a journalism major.  There’s not exactly a ton of money in my future.  So I told myself that I would just do it, that I would love it and that I would work really hard to get there.

So I started a travel fund and part of every paycheque goes into it and doesn’t come out. I applied to bursaries and scholarships, and even managed to get a few of them.  I check online for flights every week to find the cheapest ones.

The trip is still going be six weeks I could have been working over the summer.  It’s still going to cost me money.  I may even have to dip into my loans a little bit.  But do you really think I’ll regret it?  Not a chance.

Even if you still don’t think you can pull off traveling in university, just think of all of the options you have.  There are exchange trips and university travel programs and things like Alternative Spring Break. 

As corny and unrealistic as it may sound, if you really want to travel, don’t let money get in your way.  University is the perfect time to explore and to live and to start being the person you want to be. There is no way that you’ll regret going on a life-changing trip around the world.

That being said, I’m pro-travel at all periods of your life.  If you think that you’ll enjoy it more when you are older, then by all means, wait! I think that traveling at different ages makes for completely different experiences.

Regardless of whether you travel in university or not, just know that it is possible, even for those of us with small bank accounts.

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