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Summer is the season of the Instagram posts from Europe that every sorority girl seems intent on delivering like clockwork. Big Ben, The Palace at Versailles, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Arc de Triomphe are all good for 200 likes a piece, and will be instrumental in broadening the horizons and expanding the worldview of each girl who denotes her arrival with a quick caption and location tag. I’m telling you to travel, but not like this. What I mean is to travel in such a way that you are forced to learn and grow as a person, and without leaving the United States.
After earning a two-year degree from a small school in the South, I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything. I had a steady job, did well in school, and was very close to my family. However, with each passing month came a growing sense that I was wasting my time, and I decided that I needed to get out on my own. A little more than two years ago, I packed everything I owned into my car and drove out to the mountain west, where I transferred to a Pac-12 school and started completely over. The first few months were tough, but I was quickly able to carve out a life for myself there and do a lot of things I was proud of. Had I never taken the plunge and gotten out of the rut I was stuck in, none of that ever would have happened.
I’m a firm believer that every man needs to do something early on in his adulthood that will shake everything up and force him to learn how to live. Whether it means transferring to a new school, doing an internship in another state, or moving across the country to start a new job, the feeling you get when you set off for the new place is one of the most freeing that you can feel. You get the sense that you’re making big changes and doing something important with your life, while looking at the challenges and rewards that lie ahead.
When you move to a completely new place, you often have to start with nothing. No knowledge of the city, no connections, and no social life. This forces you to go out each day and build something for yourself, and delivers an immense feeling of accomplishment when you can look back in the future at everything you were able to do. You’ll also be able to learn how people do things in your neck of the woods, and will automatically be more interesting as the new guy from _____.
So while some people “love to travel” on their parents’ dime and seek the “spiritual fulfillment” they can get by sleeping next to strangers on the floor of a sweaty hostel in the Netherlands, I’m telling you that the best way to truly grow is to get out and make a life for yourself somewhere else. Let them have Eat Pray Love, while you’re out living your Scarface..
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