I don’t know what it is about my generation, but we sure do travel a lot. It seems like every time I get on Facebook, somebody I graduated from high school with has posted pictures of Barcelona or Paris or the Louvre – and I thought I was well traveled.
It used to be that I was one of a very select few group of people who had even left the state from my high school in Watertown, South Dakota. I have been way south into Mexico, east to Boston and New York City, and west to California, and after going to college I went out and lived on my own every summer. Now, everybody has suddenly decided they’re going to be world travelers and have done so many more cool things than I have!
I’ll admit that I’m a little jealous – especially of the people who study abroad. I had opportunities to do that, but it would have meant graduating about a year late and spending a lot more money than I had to. Spending more money than I have to just grinds my gears. It’s my hope that I can travel internationally after I graduate in December (fingers crossed) but people from my hometown are doing it their sophomore year of college.
And that makes me think about my generation as a whole. How do we have these opportunities when most of our parents became investment bankers/real estate brokers/business people (men) or left college three years in to get married/raise kids (women) – and I realize that is a super generalized statement. Our parents traveled, but not to the extent we do; we have this carefree, fanciful view of the world and the thought that I – at age 21 – could technically be in China by tomorrow is something that would have never occurred to our grandparents and probably not our parents. I’m almost positive the first time I flew alone was at age 16 and I was perfectly comfortable with it.
There are always exceptions to the rule, but even with all of our inherited economic problems, my generation has the opportunity to have fun and to travel the world. We have free time, something that wasn’t invented until the late 40s, and we take that for granted. Actually, free time was invented in the 20s and look how that went for them; the Great Depression came along and was all “Oh hey now, that’s not how this is going to go. Get back to work.”
Maybe we’re actually in the midst of our own Roaring 20s right now and we’re just too spoiled to see it past our iPhones that parents bought for us. Maybe it’s all going to come crashing down and we’ll finally realize that we’re freaking lucky that we got to spend a semester in Ireland, work for a summer in India before going home to Nebraska, or frolic with the buffalo.