I often wonder about what I’m doing with my life. Yes, I am trying to do something I enjoy in traveling the world… But is this… the right thing to do? What about my future, what about my career (what career?), what about bla bla bla? I go through this second-guessing routine all the time, especially now that I am set on working all over the world for kicks. I tell people I’m moving to Fiji and then Australia and then wherever, and I get responses which make me question my choice. Here I am, a recent graduate with an engineering degree, something which I wish not to squander. And so here I go, zooming around from place to place, which is no way to start an engineering career. Of course, the longer I go without having any kind of professional work experience, the harder it will be to find a professional job on down the line, if all I have to show for the past several years is extensive world travels.
But wait. This supposes that the time someone spends traveling for extended periods is wasted (at least from a professional standpoint). I know lots of people who have gone through some study abroad program, or taken a year off from school to travel through South America, who exclude this portion of their lives from job interviews later on, or who pass this time off as nothing more than ‘vacation’. Even I do it. Not a single one of my current resumes mentions anything about travel. Why? Because it seems unprofessional, perhaps, to have bummed around in some wild country with your pals, riding trains and climbing mountains and going to clubs. Sure you had fun and you have lots of pictures, but this is hardly worth mentioning to the hiring manager at company X.
Dead. Wrong. Unless you really did spend your entire time abroad learning nothing about culture and languages and yourself, doing nothing but lounging and having cocktails between gaudy resorts where the only native you met was carrying your luggage up the stairs. There are numerous valuable skills that are built while traveling for long periods. Some skills are more tangible than others, but the point is, time spent on travel is hardly time wasted, even in the professional world. Slap some of these big words on your resume beneath a description of your travels, and be proud of what you gained from your experience! Continue reading