'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Sunday, May 2, 2010

a little follow-up...

...I want to make sure I took a few minutes to follow-up on the (very passionate) blog post I wrote the other day.

The other night I was challenged by my (sweet) fiance about what I had written. He posed a question to me something along the lines of, 'So, are you saying that everyone should take a gap year? There is a reason that the traditional path is is around and there's a reason why most people take it...it must work if it is the conventional path.' Interesting. And so we entered into a (sort of) heated dialogue about this notion...a dialogue that prompted me to write this little follow-up on my blog post.

Although somewhat frustrated upon hearing this, I am glad Tom challenged me, as now I am able to elaborate a bit more on my feelings and why I have taken this stance. Just as I don't believe the path of convention is right for everyone, of course I don't believe that gap year or study abroad travels are right for everyone. A one-size-fits-all approach to teaching our young people is not the way to go. I don't feel the need to back the current way things are done throughout the States because it is already being done this way and I don't believe significant change or a shift in behaviour would occur if I approached it this way.

As I said, I learned heaps of amazing lessons from the corporate world and was given great opportunities...but they weren't necessarily the right opportunities for me. Regardless, they steered me into the direction I am going today (bitter taste or no bitter taste) and that is what matters. My hope is to reach young people with this message before they experience it themselves, and waste years of their life or end up unhappy down a path that wasn't meant for them in the first place. That's it (or not 'it' as it is a large undertaking, I suppose).

The more I talk to people about this idea, the more stories I hear about how necessary something like this is, and how travel and experiences have shaped their lives. From starting a medical practice in the bush of Africa to two southern Italians travelling around South America in a small, beat-up car (www.movingslowly.com), I've heard stories that have moved me and brought tears to my eyes. It's incredible what kind of things people do, if given the exposure to new opportunities. And that's really what it is all about...exposure. If we at least give children exposure to many different life paths, it's up to them whether or not they choose to follow the path of convention or take the path less travelled.

Who knows?! Before you know it, the path of convention may end up changing and the path less travelled may become more travelled, and eyes of our young people - students and young professionals alike - may very well become more open to new experiences too. Let's just hope.

Here's to change, or 'zmena' (how appropriate),


1 comment:

  1. hey megan ... loving your blog posts of late (as usual). i tried to post a comment on the last one, but i either did it wrong or it didn't work (?)
    i totally agree that the option of something like a gap year or living abroad is so important to share with young people. i can see myself in the passionate attitude you have about sharing all of the positives of these types of experieces. i also can see your honey's point about the conventional path ... i do have many friends who are quite happy with their lives and content with the "conventional" path they've chosen. still, i think it should be more accessible for people who want that opportunity to know about travelling and to belive that they can really do it if they have the desire.
    at the same time, i think an interesting part of your message will be to help people to be ready and open to get something real out of it ... i think about all the people i met who spent their "gap year" getting wasted on their parents' dime and generally contributing to the negative stereotypes of young americans:)i myself was one (of the many) that spent a (hazy) year living a very crazy party life in spain while occasionally teaching an english class ;) at the time, it was the most amazing experience i had ever had. while i did manage to learn a lot, i also know now (in my old age) that i have gained a LOT more in the last two years living abroad and having to deal with being a real "adult" with responsibiities - working, and making my way in another country. i don't know how you feel, but i meet a lot of travellers who have never actually had to hold down a serious job abroad ... which is a totally different world than backpacking. it doesn't make their journey wrong ... it just makes it different. if i had my way, and money grew on trees, i'd love to be on that kind of a 24/7 adventure. still working on that ... ha!
    so, i guess what i'm getting at is that i love your idea ... i think it is so important and also when you decide how to spread your message i think it would be awesome to offer young people the chance to find a balance between that "traveller-here-for-a-bit" mentality, living the college life aborad, and the serious work mode. i'm still trying to balance it all out myself ... but, i am never bored trying to work on figuring it all out ...
    so excited for your new adventures!
    maybe we can meet up in mn sometime this summer!
    i will be there mid june to FINALY meet nola!!!!!


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