Upon graduating with a degree in journalism in 2011, I took the route that an increasing number of alumni take these days, and decided to travel.
Like many in my position, I felt that this was my opportunity to visit places and meet people I may never have the chance to in the future – that old cliché of broadening my horizons, if you will.
I gave myself a two-year window to see as much as I could before moving back to England and settling into working life.
So after finally saving up enough money, I decided to book a one-way flight to Calgary, Canada, with two close friends of mine where we planned on doing a ski season in Banff.
I spent the winter working on a ski hill in the middle of the Canadian Rockies and drinking copious amounts of beer.
I met people from all walks of life and had the joy of working in temperatures below -30C and, much to my surprise, developed a skill for snowboarding.
When the snow melted and with money scarce – Canadian cheese is incredibly expensive – we decided to take the bus to Toronto.
This journey took a little over 50 hours and covered a similar distance from Liverpool to Moscow, which was far from enjoyable.
We spent around a month enjoying the Toronto summer before hopping over the border to New York. From here, we flew onto Bangkok where we travelled across Thailand extensively, avoiding ping pong shows and fried cockroach at every corner.
After visiting Laos to the north, we planned a stopover in Cambodia before flying on to Melbourne where we would work and travel the east coast for the next 12 months, topping up our tans accordingly.
Unfortunately for me, however, I suffered a broken elbow – meaning that, after 15 months, two plates and seven screws, I had to return home prematurely.
There is a perception that travelling can have a detrimental effect on your chances of landing your dream job.
When you graduate, you instinctively feel that you should start the job hunt and any time spent without work can take you a step back in your pursuit for employment … and, depending how you spend that time, it can.
My advice to those who choose to travel is that it can demonstrate to employers that you have many desirable traits. From someone who has been there, I can tell you that you need to be responsible and ambitious to go backpacking.
If, like me, you don’t have several thousand pounds to your name, then you will be operating on a shoestring – which can be surprisingly fun and will also prove how resourceful you can be.
If you choose to work as you travel, then it shows how organised you are and that you have a determined attitude.
If you are looking to travel once you graduate or during a gap year, my suggestion would be to do it. Travelling is without a doubt the best thing I have done and I am glad that I did it while I was young enough to get the most out of it.
If you’re like me, then you will already have extensive experience of how to budget and you will more than likely have moved away from home to university which will hold you in good stead.
Despite my setback, I regret nothing from my travels and I still harbour ambitions of completing my trip.
My final piece of wisdom would be to blog as you go. As a journalism graduate, the benefits are obvious. And make sure you get quality coverage.
At the risk of sounding like my mum, it really did save me a fortune.
Good luck – and don’t regret anything…