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If you were 27...would you do it?


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Holds PhD in Packing
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  • Added on: September 15th, 2008
Hi all,

I decided to join the Peace Corps, and will be going to Africa, very likely in a village with limited to no running water or electricity. It's a mandatory 2-year service plus many months of training so I won't be finished until I'm 30.

Most people think this is great; a lot of older people say to me "wow I wish I did that at your age, but things came up" (ie, hubby/wife, kids, mortgage). But every once in a while I run into people who think I've lost my mind….and this makes me a little nervous about things that normally don’t bother me. So I start thinking about the fact that I’m leaving my job, an income for the next 2 years, family, friends, and my comforts for this….and it just snowballs. I guess the only thing that really bothers me is what am I going to miss out on?

So tell me, looking back, do you wish you did something like this? Any advice?
Compassion has no limit. Kindness has no enemy.


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Street Food Connoisseur
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  • Added on: September 16th, 2008
It's your life and you make your own decisions. You've got to trust yourself.
Wrong decisions are when taken out of revenge, fear, in anger, or emotional dispair.
If you feel right about it, you'll be fine.
gdzie mnie wiatr poniesie


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Sells Travel by the Gram
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  • Added on: September 17th, 2008
im turning 25, in my last year of law school, and my policy is that you travel when you can and keep priorities in check. I still go to school and travel when I can, i finished on time and will hopefully have a job.

what i am saying is that you shouldnt go if this will set your life back 10 years...
Josh has taken his much needed vacation and will be going on another Christmas to New Years 2011/2012. However, before he does read about his past trips http://blogs.bootsnall.com/eppyboy


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Extra Pages in Passport
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  • Added on: September 23rd, 2008
You'll probably come back with a fiancee anyway. Most PC folks I've met seem to be married to other PC folks.

You can always consider the Foreign Service afterward. There are a lot of PC folks in the FS.


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  • Added on: September 23rd, 2008
Even though I don't believe this, a nagging voice keeps telling me I'm running away from the "real world",

No...people who build their cozy, safe little cocoons with steady jobs and steady relationships are the ones who are hiding from the real world. It's a bloody, interesting, entertaining, cruel, painfully amusing and most definitely fascinating world out there. Choosing to work the same 9-5 job for 40 years is fearfully turning away from that world. Pretending that if I just look the other way, at my prefabricated house and furniture, then that scary world will go away is childish...creating generations that will have a very hard time adapting when things change. And things will change. They always do.
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"Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of mankind." Albert Einstein

untypical gringo

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Holds PhD in Packing
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  • Added on: September 24th, 2008
I mostly ignored people with advice back when I was your age, but one tidbit really stuck with me and I'm glad it did. An extremely happy and financially comfortable old fart once told me that the key to his happiness/success was never having to look back and say, "man, I should have..."

Just imagine yourself 10 years from now if you don't go. You'd regret it every day.


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Holds PhD in Packing
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  • Added on: September 24th, 2008
When I was in my 20s I DIDN'T follow my instincts and take off. I took the safe route - career etc. rather than the unknown.

Fast-forward nearly 20 years later - the travel bug hadn't left me, I still yearned to see the world with a backpack on my back, and I was beginning to feel as though I'd missed something essential.

Fair enough, I didn't have a spouse or children but at 43, I quit my job, sold my possessions, cashed in what little money I had, and bought a one-way ticket to Africa. I stayed away for three years.

I don't regret it for a moment - but chances are, had I done it in my 20s, I might not have needed to do it when it was so much harder to leave in my 40s.

A footnote: even at that late stage, I ended up with a great career in international affairs not in spite of, but because of my trip.
Women on the Road
Inspiration for women who love to backpack on their own


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  • Added on: September 24th, 2008
Adulthood is highly overrated.

Here is my annual rant. I wrote it a couple of years ago and I will simply post it again here.


Here is the problem. We look around and see what people are doing with their lives. It has been taught to us since we were children:

Go to school, get job, buy car, get married, buy house, raise kids, look forward to grandchildren, die an ugly death.

Well bugger that!

Look around you when you are traveling. For the most part, you will see a very limited range of ages out along the backpacker trail.

As someone who is roughly double in age (cough-cough) than the rest of you, I see it all the time. Travelers like us, for the most part, are between 18-30 years of age.

So what happened to all my cool friends? The ones that used to travel along the backpacking circuit that the Generation X'ers are now on?

  • They fucked up.

  • They went to school, and now have massive college loans to pay back.

  • They got a job, and now have precious little vacation time (particularly if they are a Yank)

  • They bought a car, one that is cheap enough, but after you factor in the interest, they just paid an ungodly amount for a piece of shit car made mostly of plastic. Because it is new, they are making a bank rich. Because the bank wants to preserve their investment, they are forced to get full coverage insurance which costs several hundreds of dollars a month. For a Chevy or a Ford. Oh yeah, like THAT's a good investment!

  • They got married, and instead of just going to the Justice of the Peace and getting a marriage license, they spent between $5,000 and $10,000 on a one night party. Just pissed the money away! Money that could have been used for the downpayment on a house.

  • They bought a house, which means that now both of them have to work full time and they now spend their time at Home Depot or Lowes (DIY stores) that is, when they are not paying off their furniture that they HAD to buy.

  • Then, someone got pregnant. Oh, they always say that they are waiting, but someone always gets pregnant. It happens. Most pregancies are not planned. Besides, something seems to happen to women when they get to age 35.

  • Then they raise kids. Kids who cost a lot and have their own needs and wants, so 200 baht dorms on Khao San Road become a distant memory.

  • The kids grow up, and with any luck they move out at age 23 or so. Now they have a big house that they don't need anymore.

    Then you get to go backpacking again. Oh yeah, like that's really gonna happen. Sure, I meet people my own age along the backpacker trail, but we are few and far between. Believe me. Something happens to people. I wish it were not so.

    How do avoid this?

  • I rent my place.

  • I pay cash for most things. Fuck Visa cards!

  • My cars are old and long paid for. I work on them myself.

  • I don't have, want or can produce kids, and I date women who don't want to produce any "loin fruit" !

  • I still party with the best of them (and can drink/smoke/snort more than any of you can ever hope to (buncha amateurs!)

    What I am saying is for all of you to PLAN what you want your life to be, don't wait until the "schedule" does it for you.

    Right now, your life is pretty much a blank piece of paper. You hold the paint brush, so YOU should paint the picture.

    Not your parents, or society or your school guidance counselor.

  • Wildcat1982

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    Holds PhD in Packing
    Posts: 113
    Joined: September 11th, 2008

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    • Added on: September 24th, 2008
    Great advice everyone, I really appreicate it. Static, thanks for that....exactly what i need to hear to give me a push. scribetrotter thx for sharing your story, and untypical gringo....I will put a post-it at my desk with the quote "Just imagine yourself 10 years from now if you don't go. You'd regret it every day."

    I'm pretty much 100% on-board with this, I mean, the app process is long and complicated and they make sure anyone who ends up serving really wants to be there.

    But i'm human, and I have moments where I hesitate. It's like standing on the edge of a bungee jump--I'll be scared even though I made the choice to do it.

    keep the stories coming, it's like food for my soul. Smile
    Compassion has no limit. Kindness has no enemy.


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    Holds PhD in Packing
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    • Added on: September 24th, 2008
    It is possible to do both; I have.

    I have traveled all my life, while married to a woman who loves travel even more than I.

    I have seen the world, and am currently living in Asia, yet I have raised two children, am now raising two more, have two grandchildren, and have retired from two careers.

    I not only traveled several times every year, I also retired early.

    Don't give up one of God's blessings (travel) for the other (a family and career); you don't need to.

    And by the way, the more you drink, smoke and snort, the less chance you'll have more years to explore our wonderful world.


    Holds PhD in Packing
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    Joined: July 25th, 2008

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    • Added on: September 27th, 2008
    The "real world" of which you speak of will always be there. If you so care to participate.

    I'm 25 and a lot of my friends are buying homes with significant others, and/or having kids, and/or getting married. They ask me what am I running away from, but I don't have the heart to tell them that I'm prolonging myself from becoming what they've all become, which is mostly MISERABLE.

    If this is what the "real world" is, I don't want any part of it.
    "i'm on my way, don't know where i'm goin..."~Paul Simon, Me and Julio


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    Extra Pages in Passport
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    • Added on: September 29th, 2008
    Originally posted by static:

    As someone who is roughly double in age (cough-cough) than the rest of you, I see it all the time. Travelers like us, for the most part, are between 18-30 years of age.

    To be fair, you're now closer to triple the age of most of us.


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    The Thunder From Downunder Goddess
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    Location: Tomorrowland.

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    • Added on: October 5th, 2008
    Wildcat, I only read a few responses, but I tell you this for free - if you want to do something, really want to do something, then do it. Because if you don't you'll probably, nay, I'd go so far as to say definitely regret it later.

    Sometimes asking people their opinions can have an adverse affect - the opposite of what we intend. Instead of helping to clear our minds, all it does is add confusion and doubt.

    Don't listen to what others say, listen to your own inner voice. If you really feel the need to "talk it over" then do so with the "right" people - people who have done missionary work and/or similar to what you're intending.

    There must be organisations you can contact with information from those who have done this type of thing before. Think of what you will gain - a knowledge far beyond what many people may ever find in a lifetime, and an appreciation for what we have.

    It isn't until we see how the "other half live", that we truly realise just how damned lucky some of us are. This fosters an understanding and empathy with people born into a different world, a different sphere. After all - what's two years? Merely a drop in the ocean of life.

    So go for it my friend, and live life to the fullest. And be happy. Smile
    Never judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes.


    Canadian Bacon

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    Lost in Place
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    • Added on: October 7th, 2008
    You only have one life.


    Don't you want to spend it doing the things you want to do? Seeing the places you want to see?

    "Normal" is completely 100% relative and hence completely 100% meaningless. YOU give meaning to your own life by making of it what YOU want to make of it. It's not easy at times being yourself (I'm 39, never married, no kids, no interest in either), but hey - you are who you are, and if you're comfortable and happy and content with that, then that's what matters.

    Put it to you this way: picture yourself on your death bed. What would be your single biggest regret? That one, single thought: "Jesus, I wish I'd at least TRIED..."
    Flashpacker in the making.

    ETD: five years.


    Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
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    • Added on: October 27th, 2008
    Hi Wildcat,
    It doesn't matter what other people think or say about your ideas of joining the Peace Corps, thing is you want to do it and life is for living. None of us want the same things in life. Some folk look down their noses at the 9 to 5 majority but it's their life and we are all different. My husband and I hitch hiked in the 60s travelling around and having a great time but we married had kids and a mortgage and only after retiring did a 12 month backpacking round the world trip and this was in our 60s. We plan on travelling for 4-6 months next year round Europe. It's nothing to do even with age,you don't have to be 25 yrs to enjoy backpacking and travel. If you want to experience life in other countries and enjoy travel and meeting people of different cultures go for it, life is short, you don't want to look back and think I wish I had.
    Look after yourself and be safe.


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