To Backpack in Europe

To Backpack in Europe pic

I like to keep busy. This is why I don’t always look forward to summer break the way I did as a youngster; i.e. last summer I took some junior college classes before going to uni last fall. During the regular school year, I’m plenty occupied with homework and such, and had planned to take more classes this summer before going back to school for the fall 2013 semester.

However these plans changed (as plans often do) when Team Thailand accepted me onto their team for our summer mission. Because my trip will take up 5 weeks smack dab in the middle of summer, I wasn’t able to sign up for summer classes, nor able to procure a summer job either, since most employers don’t see the logic in hiring someone who will be gone during most of July and August. Which makes sense.

Thus, I was forced to get my creative juices flowing to figure out what exactly I would do to keep myself occupied for the first two months of absolute freedom. I would continue to blog of course, work out, and read, but those things only take a few hours to complete. Sadly, most of my friends are MIA at this time, either doing summer term at uni, working elsewhere, or having some sort of other adventure. I definitely did the whole gym-sleep-Netflix-do nothing routine for awhile, but eventually got more creative in terms of switching up that routine. As I mentioned a few blogs ago, I did pick up the pen again, and am almost a third of the way finished with what I hope will become a novel, should I be diligent enough to keep at it. I started to dance on and off after being mostly “off” for nearly a year. I had been conditioned to forget how much I missed these things throughout the year. These old loves of mine.

School is the thing that has made me put some of those loves on the back burner. I don’t doubt that much of this is true for you as well. I like school. I really do, but the price of learning can come at a ridiculously high price, both literally and metaphorically. The late insomniatic nights wondering if what I did was good enough, or having to prove myself and everyone else that I’m still a top student despite having had the worst possible week. Then of course, there’s school being the main source of time-consumption, leaving very little leeway for much else.

“I can go back to the things I want over Christmas break,” we students say. They often get postponed to spring break, and summer break, or not at all. The dreams often are put back on the shelf, dusty from years of going untouched.

I have two more years until my undergraduate degree is completed, then I can go back to all those dreams I’ve saved. But what if I take on grad school? That’s at least another two years. Can I handle the cycle for another prolonged period of time? Can you?

I used to dismiss the post-grad backpacking in Europe stereotype, thinking it unwise for someone to “throw away” their future for a short-term escapade. Now looking at it, that’s not an unwise investment of time at all. If I was to die tomorrow, I would regret not having done or finished all those things on my bucket list ( If the backpacker in Europe was to die tomorrow, he’d probably have loads less regrets than I would.

I’m graduating a year earlier than I had initially planned, with the intention of having to pay less for tuition and getting a jump start on life. Thinking about it as I write this, I’m starting to believe that my reason for accelerating my education has more to do with that jump start than with reducing tear-inducing college costs.

Maybe it’s just a phase, but sometimes I wish I could just drop out of school and drop into another place for awhile. Can I get paid to just sit around and type, drink copious amounts of tea, dance, and be all touristy wherever I’m at?

I haven’t traveled across continents (yet), but in my mind, I’ve been to a lot of places. But only in my mind and in my writings.


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