MAKING THE GREAT ESCAPE


Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece. From the KOSAN archives.

There comes a time in everyone’s life, when they can’t help be stare curiously at the globe on their desk or the map stretched across their living room wall. Curiousity turns into longing, and  the urge to explore becomes greater than the need to sleep or eat. Don’t feel guilty and don’t question yourself…this is your very real, and very human need for the great escape.

When we think of the world, we can’t help but smile at all the unknown and undiscovered secrets it holds. It’s the promise of limitless opportunity and beauty that calls to us. We crave the thrill of letting everything go, our worries, our judgments, or preconceived notions of what we think we know…so that we can challenge our lives and our hearts to feel something new and exciting. Though some may tell you traveling is a luxury, and one that you should save for later in life, we don’t agree. Though it requires some investment, it’s not a waste but a choice you have to make. Traveling seeks the person who sits day by day in a chair, at a desk, in an environment that doesn’t challenge your creativity or your perception. It seeks those struck by routine and the comfort of predictability, when inside they are screaming for something new. It seeks those that have a hunger, building deep within themselves for something, some place that they can’t quite name. Could that be you? If you are consumed by fear and anxiety of leaving but you feel yourself light up at the thought and thrill of packing up, then it’s time to take the next step.

 

Mount Popa, Myanmar

Mount Popa, Myanmar. Photo from the KOSAN archives.

We know you’ve heard this all before, that you should take a chance on the unknown and see where life takes you. But I can’t stress it enough, take a chance on the unknown and see where life takes you! Have you honestly ever heard anyone tell you they regret seeing the Colosseum in Rome? Or that the Eiffel Tower was a joke? Maybe that exploring the eccentric streets of London was unsatisfying?  Or that cliff diving in Southeast Asia was boring? My point exactly. We encourage you to take the risk to fund that great escape, hop on a flight with backpack in tow and just go!

I never feel more alive and more in tune with myself and the world, than when I am wandering through the maze of streets of an unfamiliar city. I promise that once you get past the initial shock of dropping your routine, you will be amazed at incredible the payoff can be. But beauty, historic landmarks and jaw-dropping sights are not all the await you. Traveling can dispel any and all ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry by opening one’s mind to another’s culture and traditions. Mark Twain said it best, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime”. His words are ones that I choose to live by, and that define the far-reaching and live changing power travel can have.

Koh Lanta, Thailand

Koh Lanta, Thailand. Photo from the KOSAN archives.

Proof of success - I am a recent university graduate, who is currently a little strapped for cash because I decided to fund my great escape the summer after I graduated. This may not be the best way to start convincing you, but give me a chance to explain further.  When I took this leap of faith, so to speak, there was no question in my mind, and there wasn’t any fear in my heart, because I knew exactly what I wanted. I knew I wanted to explore Europe in all of its beautiful, historic glory, I wanted to backpack through sixteen different countries and marvel at their magnificence. Some would say I took on a massive risk by not immediately pursuing a career right after I walked the stage. Many told me I was making a mistake, because didn’t I realize “it was time to start my real life now”?

I didn’t see it that way though, and I still don’t. Jobs and careers, they come and go. You can start one today but it doesn’t mean you’ll still be doing that in 10 or 20 years down the road. I know that I would have regretted never taking the risk in the first place and falling into a routine that would have cost me my insatiable longing to travel. I’m proud of the decisions I’ve made, and of the experiences I’ve had. It was an experience that I wouldn’t trade and that I aim to do over and over again. I’ve already planned and funded my next great escape, and I can honestly say I am completely content. Of course, I am working and saving for all of the areas in my life and I do aim to begin my career sometime soon, but with someone who never lets me settle and who never discourages my dreams.

I can go on and on about all of the reasons of how traveling can make you happier and wiser, but I won’t. It all comes down to you today, and whether you are willing to book that flight and get started on your great escape. We know you can and we support you, 100% and all of the way.

I travel to seek the thrill of the unknown, now it’s your turn…will you?

Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam. Photo from the KOSAN archives.