Millennials are quite familiar with how we are perceived by older generations. From baby boomers labeling us as lazy, spoiled, screen-obsessed narcissists, to Gen-Xers who believe we're destined to live in our parents' basements for all of eternity, trust us, you’ve made your opinions known. And while we, as a generation, might not prescribe to the stereotypes given to us by our predecessors, I think we can agree on some commonalities, starting with our shared lust for adventure.
Perhaps learning from past generations who claim their biggest regrets in life are working too much and not experiencing enough, Millennials are determined to make the most of the time they have - even if that means not waiting until retirement to start taking a serious look at their bucket lists. So if you’re a twenty-something who's wondering how to responsibly run away and travel the country, take a look at this guide for wanderlusting Millennials. And then get out there and start making those older generations jealous!
Be Spontaneous, But Be Smart Too
When you start itching for an adventure, you might feel tempted to just quit your job, load up your backpack, and head off on a perpetual, impromptu road trip. While this spontaneity might be enticing, you’ll probably be able to sustain your adventures a lot longer if you add some foresight to the planning process. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a meticulously-detailed itinerary, but you might want to have a direction in mind. Here are some things to consider as you prepare for your adventure:
Ask yourself how you plan to fund your travels. A drained bank account will be the arch nemesis of your adventuring escapades, so find a way to manage an income even as you’re on the move. Making money from the road isn’t impossible, and with technology becoming increasingly more prominent, remote job opportunities are becoming increasingly more common. Consider starting a blog, taking on "workamping" gigs, participating in volunteer trips, or utilizing your unique talents to garner cash in other ways. You don’t need a steady paycheck to travel, but you will at least need a small source of income.
Gone are the days where you can travel across the country just by sticking out your thumb. While hitchhiking might be extremely cost-effective, we wouldn’t recommend it as a reliable means of transport anymore. So how exactly do you plan on getting from point A to point B? If you want to travel internationally, consider getting a rail pass and utilizing public transport systems. And for help finding overnight accommodations, AirBnB and Couchsurfing can be great resources. But if you want to test the waters and take your adventures one continent at a time, one of the cheapest means of travel is going to be an RV. RVs not only eliminate the need to pay for hotels and short-term lodging, but they also save you money on the cost of food because, with your own portable kitchen, you won’t be forced to eat out for each meal. Additionally, you’ll also have the luxury of bringing along a lot more than you would in just a backpack or luggage bag.
It’s Not All About Your Instagram Account
In the era of FOMO (fear of missing out), it can be all too easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. And for some, missing out might be one of the biggest driving factors contributing to their sense of wanderlust. We understand the feeling of stewing with envy as you scroll through your Facebook feed seeing nothing but a series of your old high-school chums posing, arms outstretched, in front of some beautiful, exotic landscapes. But remember, travel is about more than just having another enviable photo to put up on your Instagram, and it’s certainly about more than just amassing ‘Likes.’ So don’t start your adventures just to make yourself look interesting on social media, and don’t diminish the quality of your adventures by experiencing them through the screen of your smart phone. Talk to new people, try new foods, and take on new challenges. And if you happen to snap a couple selfies along the way, who can blame you?
Keep Your Family Close, Keep Strangers Even Closer
Leaving your loved ones behind can be one of the hardest parts about “running away.” You might miss out on some special moments and you might even grow a little homesick from time to time. So make it a priority to stay in touch and keep close contact as much as you can from the road. With that being said, you should also make it a priority to meet plenty of new people while you travel too. Networking on the road is vital to opening up new possibilities. You might meet fellow travelers who can give you great insights that enhance your experiences and help your budget. Build connections with people from places you’d like to visit, and continue to cultivate those friendships even after you go your separate ways.
You can try to label Millennials as a generation of work-deprived, self-obsessed Wi-Fi junkies whose thirst for adventure is rooted in their need for instant gratification. But wanting to have amazing experiences early in life isn’t a desire completely unique to today’s twenty-somethings. Wanderlust exists in every age group. Perhaps Millennials are just the first generation that’s not willing to ignore it.