Travel Or Work?
I’m 23 and have never in my adult life traveled internationally. This summer seemed like the perfect opportunity to fix this – before I launched into a demanding career in advertising and 23 more years flew by.
After one year at VCU Brandcenter, I have discovered something about myself:
I have become addicted to the stress and rigorous workload of the program in hopes of growing as a copywriter.
That said, while I am excited about my future career, I am also convinced that this was my last chance to explore while uninhibited by my future in advertising. After listening to the advice of some professors and consulting other students, I came to the conclusion I needed to do something entirely unrelated to advertising. My brain felt like an internship was necessary, but I knew in my heart that I needed just the opposite.
I needed to expand my narrow view of the world.
So – as I made my obligatory trip to Starbucks on one April day – I made the decision to visit Europe for a few months.
I stopped making excuses.
I stopped applying for internships.
I started to plan.
I now sit writing at a small desk from the bedroom of a hostel in the Faroe Islands. Out my window roll hills of bright green grass, rocky trails, and wild, roaming sheep. At the bottom of these hills is Torshavn – a village known as “the smallest capital on Earth”. Essentially, a miniscule dot in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Iceland, Denmark, and Norway. I wanted to start my trip in Iceland, but after finding this intriguing place on the map, I decided to investigate further.
My Google image searches confirmed what I suspected already – I had to see these islands in person.
Now my visit has confirmed what Googling led me to believe:
It was beyond a good decision to visit such a random location; it is shockingly beautiful.
And while looking at images of volcanic rock islands jutting out of the water – peppered with caves, jagged cliffs, and grassy hills – can certainly inspire travel, to hike the valleys that lead to the islands beyond is an entirely different experience.
One largely lost in photographs.
Photographs don’t allow you to feel the cold, vicious wind cutting through the sunshine. To whip your body around as you scale its painfully steep cliffs. You don’t hear the waves violently crashing – hundreds of feet below – into an uninviting chaos of boulders.
Over the sound of the water and land fighting below, you also hear the strangest mixture of wildlife.
Hordes of seagulls scream at each other as lambs on the hillside call out to their mothers, who respond with drawn out “baa-aas”. Mykines – the western-most island here – introduced me to not only the seagulls and sheep. This small island also happens to have serious puffins literally hanging out around here. I’m convinced there is really only one way to see puffins:
Clinging to the side of a cliff in the Faroe Islands.
Just take precaution not to fall to a freezing, wet, and rocky death as you slowly inch closer to the edge to get the perfect photo.
I could really go on about everything I’ve seen thus far in my journey, but I want to be sure that I share my thoughts on a topic that I have spent some time considering:
How is this experience going to help me in the future or in advertising?
I don’t exactly know yet.
I don’t know that it will help – nor do I know how this entire journey will affect me. But that’s OK. In fact, not knowing everything is one of the very reasons I decided to take this trip in the first place.
Right now I’m just painfully happy that I made the decision to do this.
A decision influenced by little other reason than the excitement of experiencing something new and unique. For years I’ve had my list of reasons why I “couldn’t” travel, but now that I’m here, I can really see that they were much more like excuses.
Setting out on a lengthy foreign journey is kind of like finally starting that diet and exercise plan. You keep putting it off, saying that you don’t have time for the gym – although there is always time for Facebook sprinkled throughout your day! But once you finally get your ass to the gym and learn how to cook, the results are never far behind.
The real difference between the two lies in accountability.
Dieting allows you to easily slack off with few repercussions beyond ill-fitting pants. Travel, however, comes with a pricey return fare should you decide to back out of your plans.
There’s one more difference:
Traveling is a hell of a lot more enjoyable than working out.
- by AWSC
- posted at 10:25 am
- July 2, 2012