I just graduated and jumped right into the work force. Some people take trips around the world for a year, but I found no need to do so. I don’t like planes, and I definitely don’t like traveling by myself. Many of my friends took one or two years off after finishing high school, so didn’t graduate at the same time as most of my close friends.
Even without taking a year off (also known as a gap year), I feel fine. I like to work, learn, and earn money, and unless I had great equipment and a knack for stock photography, my trip would go strongly unfinanced. I also don’t like the idea of leaving my mom & cat alone to travel around the world.
I do, however, love to travel by rail and bus. Small weekend trips are a joy of mine that are easy to pay for and even easier to explain to the boss. It only costs about $300 to go out of state for a weekend. You can even take a 4-day bus tour to Canada for $500! Try explaining that you’re going to Europe for two months without getting fired. I’m pretty sure I could only get away with that by earning enough from freelance to quit my job.
Beside the fact that I love to work, there are only a few countries I want to visit: Canada, France, Japan, Korea, China, Chile (my friend has made me curious), Great Britain, and eventually South Africa, Ethiopia, and India. Of course the list goes on as I learn about more places, but I haven’t yet found a need to stay in any of these foreign countries longer than two weeks.
Some people join the Peace Corps in order to travel and earn money, but the Peace Corps doesn’t operate in every country on earth. Some people don’t like being away from their family and friends for over a year. If you want to get out of the United States for an extended amount of time to work for the good of humanity and the country of your choice is being helped by the Peace Corps, go for it. Do remember to keep in contact with your family and friends unless you have nothing to lose.
As a native New Yorker, I do love foreign culture quite a lot. Every day, each citizen of New York is exposed to thousands of people from around the world. In the future, if I considered moving out of New York once and for all, I would devote time to traveling for extensive periods of time.
If you are the type who doesn’t immediately want to jump into a career, consider taking part-time jobs, saving up a few thousand dollars, and taking a trip alone or with a group. If you can’t find anyone to go with, consider joining a social network like TravBuddy a month or two before the trip date. Traveling with another person can make one will much safer and less lonely. However, traveling alone can be an amazing experience in itself.
Consider what you’d like to do after you graduate before things get too hectic. If you prepare for a goal far enough in advance, you can surely achieve it.