What’s the best way to learn about life and also yourself? Long-term travel. I’m the best example of this and here’s my story.

I’m an Economics honors graduate from Delhi University. I was stuck in the most boring profession but I found my calling only after traveling for a year.

What long-term taught me in just a year, no amount of schooling or college degree was able to teach me.

It showed me the world while it helped me see myself more clearly. It taught me exactly what I wanted to do in life and what I did not.

So, in your everyday life, you’ll encounter people in different careers. Some are rich and enjoy what they do, while others live paycheck to paycheck and are still happy.

Is Sri Lanka safe for solo female travelers - Sri Lanka travel tips
Is Sri Lanka safe for solo female travelers – Sri Lanka travel tips

Even with extensive knowledge of well-paying professions, why do you think choosing a profession is difficult? Regardless of each one’s standard of living, you might never know your right career unless you understand your strengths.

In some instances, a few students consult career coaches in person or online when choosing a profession. If you consider all these factors, you’ll acknowledge how several factors might influence one’s decision to enter an occupation.

However, what options are available for students who want to be healers but doubt their academic strengths? Or for an Economics graduate (like me) who doesn’t want to sit with numbers and International policy, but be creative instead.

Have you ever read an autobiographical book, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story by Ben Carson and Cecil Murphey? If you have, you’ll appreciate the fact that you can be anything you want in this world.

Imagine the success of this neurosurgeon at a time when online services for offering custom materials for doing a laboratory report or even a movie reflection essay were unavailable. Against all odds, Ben Carson, M.D. led more than 60 surgeons to surgically separate conjoined twins in 1987.

So, what is limiting you to be successful in any career? Although you might have decided on your career, what might make you stick or change your profession?

The impact of traveling on students’ career choices

Learning about self

Benagil Cave Guided tour: It is a 2-hour kayaking tour that leaves from Benagil Beach. Benagil Kayak Rental: If you have enough kayaking experience, then you can rent the kayak and do it yourself. But be careful of the rocks at the entry of the cave. SUP to Benagil Cave Beach
SUP to Benagil Cave Beach

The most important factor in picking a career path is knowing yourself. After all, you don’t want to be stuck in a profession that you hate. The best situation would be to find a way to make money doing what you love doing.

For example, if you did some adventure sport like kayaking or SUP, you could do an adventure course or a mountaineering course and turn it into your profession.

Or you realize that you can create an app or a digital product – that’s an amazing way to make money too if your app hits off.

Noticing human resource deficit

View from Staalmeestersbrug, Amsterdam
View from Staalmeestersbrug, Amsterdam

Depending on your growing and educational environment, you might have more than one career choice. For example, you could have decided to be either a medical doctor or a pilot after graduating. As such, you not only took but also met the minimum scores on cluster subjects for these programs. Others can call this strategy “casting your net wide.” However, once you finish high school, you can get an opportunity to travel to another country. Will this shape your career choice?

While others want to “live and die” in their country, others aspire to relocate to a new place. For example, you might dream of living in Europe and raising your kid here. Once you visit this continent, you will realize that it has a high human resource (HR) deficit in health care or software engineers, environment engineers or language experts. As a student with a few career choices and ready to join college, you will be highly likely to pick one of the programs that corresponds to the manpower shortage that you noticed. 

Interacting with professionals in your field of interest

Exploring the Historical Lecce city in Puglia, Italy
Exploring the Historical Lecce city in Puglia, Italy

What happens when you want to pursue a career without many professionals in your country or locality? For example, you might want to study for a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. You even went the extra mile to the extent of surpassing minimum cut-off points.

However, you don’t know what the career entails or have even seen an organization hiring someone with similar or related academic qualifications. In such a case, you can’t find someone who can mentor you. As a consequence, you enter up forgoing your career path.

Fortunately, as you travel, you meet an expert(s) in this field. Through interaction, you rejuvenate your passion for aerospace engineering. What’s more, you can get connections to places where you can get an attachment or internship. If you’re lucky, some mentors can recommend you to future employers. Interactions with experts can happen on airplanes, trains, hotels, or entertainment joints. You’ll realize that you tend to share hobbies with individuals interested in or working in aerospace engineering. Therefore, traveling might be an opportunity to access a professional network in your field. 

Spotting emerging careers

azulejos in Porto
Me admiring and photographing Azulos in Porto

Without exposure, you might think that traditional courses are still “hotcakes” everywhere worldwide. However, you can’t disregard the significance of this profession if you deliberate about their roles during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during the same period, the world appreciated the role of other professionals, especially IT specialists, in implementing virtual medical services and e-learning. What lessons can one learn from this?

When you travel the world, you can appreciate how technology has transformed the way of life. For example, Sweetgreen, Wendy’s, and Chipotle rely on robots to perform repetitive tasks such as delivering and frying tortilla chips. If you visit these restaurants in the United States, you can become curious about how to develop and operate this machine.

Upon realizing that you might want to pursue a degree in mechatronics engineering control and instrumentation or Artificial intelligence.

Ideally, traveling helps you view the world differently and consequently choose a profession that might quench your curiosity.

In retrospect, based on Mark Twain’s quote, “Travel is not only good to see new things with your eyes, but also to broaden your horizon and open up your mind to new experiences and perspectives,” you’ll change your perception about some career as you explore the world.

For instance, understanding how professions impact varying aspects of life positively by applying knowledge learned in researching and inventing, you won’t hesitate to study a different academic program other than your initial choice(s). You should always be flexible in your career choices as you understand the world better.

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