Letters from the dorm: Get out of the university cocoon and go travelling!

Letters from the dorm: Get out of the university cocoon and go travelling!

Your parents already pay a fortune in your overseas studies, you might as well get used to coping with rain, sleet and snow and sleeping in dodgy hostels while travelling and getting to know people and their cultures

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"University helps you to grow up, but travelling forces you to grow up. You learn a lot about yourself and your friends."
Photo: Sonali Gidwani

Philosopher St Augustine once said: “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” There’s a great deal of truth in these words.

If your parents have paid a fortune to send you abroad for your education, then you might as well get used to coping with rain, sleet and snow and sleeping in dodgy hostels while travelling and getting to know people and their cultures.

I’ll admit that I loved being a beach bum. I used to virtually beg my parents for trips to resorts involving 12-hour siestas, delicious drinks and sunset swims. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve lost interest in lounging and I’m ready for travelling. Give me 10 days of running to catch buses, trains and planes, sleepless nights, and climbing mountains during blizzards. Give me the task of planning a trip for 10 people and going insane over finding accommodation. I want them all.

Travelling lets you build deeper friendships. Photo: Sonali Gidwani

University helps you to grow up, but travelling forces you to grow up. You learn a lot about yourself and your friends. Next time you’re doing an internship interview, say that your organisational and time-management skills have been strengthened by your ability to wake your friends up at 4am to catch a bus from London to Paris. Tell them that your budgeting skills are impeccable, after all, £500 for a 10-day trip is pretty amazing, with escargot and all.

University has the tendency to force you into a boring routine, whereas travelling puts you in the real world. You have to watch out for your safety and the safety of others, figure out where to get food, and how to look after yourself. It’s a great opportunity to educate yourself beyond the lecture hall about local culture, languages and ways of life. It’s a chance to reflect on what you do every day, and for you to see if you can make some changes.

It’s also a chance to learn about who your friends really are. After travelling with my friends, be it during our high school graduation trip, our whirlwind Europe tour, or an impromptu weekend in Edinburgh, I’ve learned a lot about myself and them. What happens while travelling turns you into better people and you form deep bonds that last a lifetime.

Finally, it’s a great opportunity to feel refreshed. If you travel right and fully lose yourself in the moment, you’ll come back to the “real world” with a different perspective. This term in particular has been very challenging, so I’m extremely glad that I escaped for a weekend recently. Travelling doesn’t have to be expensive or luxurious; all you need is friends to laugh with and a city to explore. So, where are you off to?

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
From beach bum to backpacker

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