I remember being the friend who would bail on expensive weekend trips or extravagant nights out. "I'm saving money to take a year off when I turn 26," I'd tell them, and because so many people dream about long-term travel but never actually take the flying leap, I knew they doubted me.
Months later, I had booked a one-way ticket to Indonesia and would spent the next 14 months trekking through Nepal, hitch-hiking across Laos and Burma, working on farms and studying meditation in rural India, living in Berlin, and road-tripping through California. I wanted a year to grow my blog and coaching business, become a professional freelance writer, and take the time to deeply reflect on what I wanted next in my career.
It was the best thing I ever did. I sowed my wild oats, thought deeply about my future, answered questions for myself, learned to be a true minimalist, reflected on my relationship to society, grew my online business, and worked successfully as a writer, which I could have only dreamed about years prior. To me, it showed that I follow through on my dreams, take big risks, and navigate the world with a high degree of independence while avoiding student debt.