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Is it worth to quit school and travel the world?

Is it worth to quit school and travel the world?

Reader Question: Hi Trisha! I hope you are well while reading this. I just wanna ask if it’s worth it to quit school (college) to travel?You inspire me a lot since I came across your article on Rappler. You are a true definition of a strong woman. You are one such brave soul! Keep writing to inspire more! You just awaken my inner little dream of travelling. In fact, I have started it already. Last July, I went to Hong Kong all by myself. Just me and my backpack. It was such a liberating experience. I think I now found my calling. Hehe. But, priorities first. 🙂 Thank you and safe travels!”Chin, the Philippines

“When will you finish school? You only have 1 semester left,” just last week, my mother asked (again). You see, even if I am already traveling for a long time now, my parents are still asking. It’s not general knowledge but I only did not quit my job to travel the world but I also didn’t finish school. Every time I say “no,” I know I am deeply hurting my parents dreams for me but I am not regretting saying “no” because I am no longer identifying my success through diplomas and scholastic achievements.

I am from a country where your degree is a trophy. Through all the years I was in University, everyone were struggling to be an A student — I did the same, unfortunately. I spent all my younger years writing essays, making school projects and dealing with dreadful theses defences. During my second year, I realised I didn’t want to be in school anymore. It was boring. It was horrible. I didn’t want a classroom to be my learning space. I didn’t want to sit all day and listen to long lectures. It just didn’t made sense to me. Still, I went to school everyday, struggling to be on time with my classes but miserably failed. I just didn’t have the energy to wake up everyday and tell myself: “yes, I am going to school!” It was just an obligation for me. Everyone were doing the same, I can say. Because of societal pressure, I struggled to fit in and convinced myself that I am just adjusting  to University life. Maybe it will progress along the way.

But it didn’t. On my third year, I still didn’t have the energy to study and I am pretty sure adjustment period is over. I was already overstaying in college as I am a transferee from another University in the Philippines. While I was studying, opportunities presented itself. I got an internship in over 12 fashion brands all over Asia and Europe and realised that I can work even without a degree. My superiors were very impressed of my performance, thus, it encouraged me that I really don’t need a diploma to prove my worth. I just needed to be me.

To be honest, my parents and I never talked about it when I left. I didn’t explain my scholastic status and luckily, we just all let it go as we didn’t want to spoil my ‘adventures.’ I was very young when I started traveling but never did it cross my mind to delay my travels just to finish school. I just had the urge to leave and I never questioned my decisions. I freed myself from the pressure that everyone were giving me: “If you quit school, you will have difficulties to find a job in the future.”

So I went, without thinking about how education will greatly affect my future. I felt a little guilty as all of my friends were about to finish University and I was there, all packed and ready for my big life adventure. Luckily, in my travels, being a college dropout is not a big deal. I met a lot of travellers who also didn’t finish Uni but are very good at what they do. I even met someone who didn’t dare go to University at all. They just finished High School and took off.

Six years and counting, I am still here and it’s the best decision of my life. There are a lot of things I learned by being out here that was never taught in school. I speak over 5 languages fluently, I can cook local food perfectly and all my life experiences are so fundamental and I don’t think I would have learned this if I stayed in that kind of learning environment. The world is my University now and even if it won’t give me a diploma at the end of every trip, I know my learnings are valuable and are applicable to everyday life. I do not worry about my future because I know my learnings will help me land into something beautiful. Something that is for me. Something that I won’t be doing for money but I will be doing because I love it.

You know what? I also want to make an experiment. When the time comes that I will have children, I will try schooling them on the road to see how it works. I know a lot of kids raised on the road who can speak three different languages at the age of 6 or can read a map/guide book at the age of 5. I am not closing my doors to introducing my future children to a school setting as this is where they make friends. I am pretty sure always moving around will make them weary and like me, they would also want to have long-term best friends. School is the best place to do/have that.

I used to be ashamed when talking about this subject but now, I am very glad of what I am because I quit school to travel the world. I am honest about myself and I know that my dreams will take me to greater heights. Some of you might consider my move as stupid and reckless but I am not telling you that this works for everyone. It just magically worked on my favour and I am happy that it did.

Disclaimer: This post is written based on real-life experience(s) and does not encourage students/young people to quit school and travel the world. It aims to give another point of view about pursuing a career. Of course, your point of view(s) are very much welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment below and tell me what you think!

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Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha also loves extremely spicy food, pineapples, plants and symmetry. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Follow her life adventures on Instagram - @psimonmyway

  1. Chris

    22 September

    I agree totally with the sentiments, however despite the disclaimer at the end, with the message at the top I feel like it does endorse quitting school…

    That said, I’ve had the same experience of not quite finishing university, and it didn’t inhibit my chances of getting a job (funnily enough, I too was working in fashion)!

  2. Isabela Mariano

    22 September

    You are a brave, young woman. Such an inspiration! I’m glad it worked well for you! And yes, learning is not limited to the four corners of a classroom.

  3. Karla

    22 September

    Wow! Kudos to you and you’re courage to take risks. Its something not a lot would do but I am glad it worked out for you. Inspiring ☺

  4. Doreen Pendgracs

    22 September

    I LOVE this post, Trisha! Thx so much for sharing your experience with us. I particularly love what you said here: “The world is my University now and even if it won’t give me a diploma at the end of every trip, I know my learnings are valuable and are applicable to everyday life. I do not worry about my future because I know my learnings will help me land into something beautiful. Something that is for me. Something that I won’t be doing for money but I will be doing because I love it.” You are absolutely correct! Let the world be your teacher and you will acquire a much more valuable education than you would from sitting in a room studying something that does not make your heart sing. Rock on, girl! You are on the right path.

  5. Tami

    22 September

    It is and should be a personal decision, whether or not it is worth it to make whatever choices you make in your life. I personally believe traveling has some great benefits and learning opportunities unlike any others.

  6. Anca | Globaloud

    22 September

    One should never do something only because other people do it. I always encourage people who are not satisfied with their school, university, job etc. to quit. It’s about finding your own way to learn, your own way to make something beautiful and big, and it seems to me you’ve found yours.

  7. Good for you, Trisha. Do what makes your heart happy.

    Your parents will understand, they might not now because they’re worried for you. As a parent I totally get where they’re coming from. But they’ll come around once they realize you’re happy and can get by financially. They just don’t want you to struggle.

    You can always go back to school. I did. I quit with two classes left, just didn’t feel like it and wanted to work. I eventually went back (after I was married and before kids) and finished those classes and got my degree. Who knows, you may do the same. 🙂

  8. Amaury Martiny

    23 September

    Wow! Kudos to you and your courage to take risks.
    I actually had the same dilemma some time ago, between finishing my last year of studies or continuing my journey to reach Patagonia from Mexico which has always been my dream.
    I chose to finish the studies though…but abroad! So that I can still travel while studying.

  9. As a high school teacher I am glad the post came with a disclaimer! It’s always really tough for the students who join classes but are not there consistently. Kids can be mean and infiltrating friendship circles can be tough! I have students whose parents love to travel and they take off lots of times during the holidays, I even had a student who went to Japan with the scouts!

    I always wished I had taken the gap year between uni and work but I’m glad I waited until I turned thirty to take a career break. I think I appreciate the travel more. Less boozing on a beach which I may have been inclined to do at 19!

  10. Natalie Deduck

    24 September

    Congrats for writing about such a difficult topic!
    I didn’t quit school for travelling, actually I did my Uni, I finished my masters and did many more courses till I decided to become a full time traveller.The question is: Are you willing to take the risk? If you want to quit college or not, that is not a big deal, but are you prepared to handle the good and the bad stuff that can come with the decision? With every decision comes new opportunities and I super happy to see that you embrace them all, living and working with things you love, being happy and genuine!.
    Take chances, do a bold movement, you need guts, but for sure you will get back tons of positive learns.
    All the best sweet!
    Nat

  11. mitch

    25 September

    I totally agree with you, Trisha. Conversely, I graduated from a well-renowned university in the Philippines but that did not help me land a decent job. You will be surprised to learn that companies will not hire you if you do not have the minimum number of years of experience they require… internship is not considered as relevant job experience!

    I have met people who never completed their university studies but are now very successful in their careers or businesses. Most of these people are brave and creative – qualities I think that most successful individuals possess.

  12. LOVED reading this, Trisha.
    I totally agree with you. I chose to opt out of further education with the aim to travel. Took me a few years to get there but eventually stuck to my guns.
    I’m all for people going to further education etc if they have a route they want to take and career path but if you don’t have that focus then travel may offer you one and you’ll definitely gain so much life experience along the way. I have mates who regret being in debt from a student loan that didn’t get them their dream job when I haven’t the qualification but haven’t the debt…. I do have the travel stories though.
    Thanks for sharing this. Great post as always 🙂

  13. noel

    26 September

    We all have make or break moments to decide in life and the path that will lead us to some course in life. So glad this was a great opportunity for you, yeah!

  14. Vanessa

    26 September

    I think the key message is that there’s not any one-size-fits-all approach to life. There’s a lot of ways include both travel and study into your life.

  15. Laura

    26 September

    That’s a really tough decision to make. Just keep in mind that nothing is permanent. You can always go back to school later. It’s not a final decision that can’t be reversed. If you’re not wanting to get a job right away, then you have time to make different life choices.

  16. Lesley

    27 September

    My husband and I have the university/travel conversation often, especially now that we have a child. A few years ago, I would have wanted my child to go to university no matter what but now it’s the last thing on my mind. I’ll be happy with whatever choice she makes. I know that I learned more in the last four years of traveling than my 7 years of university.

    I’m glad you made a fantastic choice for your life 🙂

  17. Elizabeth

    27 September

    Everyone needs to make their own decisions. I don’t think it so important what you decide, only you can know what is right for you, but for understanding the reasons you are making the decision. It sounds like you thought about it before you left school and thought it was the right thing to do for you. That’s a good decision then.

  18. I think yes and no. It sure has advantages and disadvantages, but I personally would never just quit school. Taking a gap year, sure, why not. But not quitting

  19. Dana

    27 September

    We all have to take our own paths. I completely agree that the world is your University. We learn and evolve while traveling. However, I am a believer in getting a degree. When my kids are older, it’s something that I hope they decide to pursue. Taking a class or two online each semester while traveling or studying at a university abroad are also options for those wanting to do both.

  20. Andrea Leblang

    27 September

    Great post – very thought provoking. I don’t think that one path is right for everyone, but I do believe that you have to be motivated regardless of the path you choose. I think it’s wonderful that you chose your own path, despite what others were pressuring you to do, and made it work without any help/handouts. I’ve seen others do the same without much success because they don’t have the discipline to support their dream. I find it funny that a diploma means so much these days. I finished school.. and I have a degree… that I don’t use whatsoever!

  21. Cheryl

    27 September

    I agree everyone’s path is different and we should always pursue our own. I started University right away but did not finish because other opportunities arose. I did get back to it and finish it up eventually though because I knew when those “other opportunities” went away or no longer interested me, I needed to have a back up plan. I am glad I did because now, many years later, I am able to travel and still have my location dependent job while doing so! Safe travels!

  22. Ollie

    27 September

    I like personal posts about our own experiences, that people can read about important things from other points of view and make their own decisions. I can totally understand your way but I think there is nothing bad in studying and travelling after finishing learning. I also think it is nice when sometimes I meet people who make a gap year before they start studies. They already know world a bit better and can make more mature decisions about their lives, I guess. With a wider point of view. I am also saying about that even if you are 40. or 50. you can still left your job and start to travel the world if you do not feel comfortable with your life 🙂

  23. Dawn Kealing

    27 September

    The thing about life is it’s unpredictable and we must make the most of it NOW, not in an hour, not tomorrow or a year from now. I’ve had time where I am completely miserable with what I’m doing; so, I change it… right then! Life’s too short to be unhappy! Props to you for doing what makes you happy and being successful at it! 🙂

  24. Eric Stoen

    28 September

    Wow, a hard question and an excellent, well-thought-out response. I would have immediately said: “finish school now, get it over with, and then go see the world knowing that you can fall back on your education.” But you make a good argument, and your experience backs it up. As for me, I already have three kids, and I travel with them a lot – 30 countries so far and the oldest is 9. The benefits are numerous. But we also need that home base and permanent school. I have respect for nomadic families, but could never do it – I feel like we have the best of both worlds as it is.

  25. Stacey Valle

    30 September

    That must be a very hard question to answer but I am glad to hear your honest answer. I am even more proud to see that you listened to your heart and followed your dreams. If you ever do decide to go back to school, you can so it’s never too late. It’s better to live a fulfilled life rather than live with regrets of missing out on something. Glad you found your own happiness 🙂

  26. Jon Espina

    1 October

    Agree. I realized the same when I get older and have experienced more in life. I salute you for really following your heart at an early age.

    One that also makes me sick is the norm of defining people by their job titles! For me, what’s important now is we follow our purpose and do the things that give meaning to our existence.

  27. Marie

    15 October

    We’ll not everyone is as blessed as you that find it successful to quit school. But still, learning doesn’t end there. It’s great that you enjoyed your life and at the same time earn for living. Kudos!

  28. Audrey

    19 October

    Certainly an interesting debate. I felt a bit like I was dragging my feet as I finished school and like I did it (somewhat) to please my parents, but I’m glad I finished. My parents viewed me finishing college as the last of my obligations. After, they have been completely open to whatever travel and life plans I have. It may be immature, but my parents’ support is still important to me. Plus, I wouldn’t have wanted to waste all that money but not finishing. But I agree, you don’t necessarily need to finish school to be successful.

  29. Glen Reniel

    23 October

    I am impressed of how you made the decision on your own. I never really have traveled before. Maybe because im trapped on tons of thesis and researches i don’t even enjoy. Believe me I’m not a big fan of school either. Opportunity came in when I took my internship on one of the finest company and they’re Impressed and looking forward to having me back.

    A couple of weeks from now is my last semester and i don’t know if I can survive the dilemma. Reading this inspires me a lot, knowing there are people out there living the life I always wanted. Thank you so much!

  30. Sandy

    27 October

    I get excited whenever I see you’ve written a new post! I 100% agree with your point of view on this topic and for a couple of years now I have been struggling to explain this to friends and family who think I’m silly to give up university and a “career” to travel, but I love how you don’t even explain yourself and just follow your heart instead. You are such an inspiration girl, don’t ever give up <3

  31. Chantal

    13 December

    I’m a family person. I, too, dream of going around the world, however, it doesn’t hurt to wait for a while to finish college and fulfill my parents’ dreams. My parents just wanted me to finish school and seek a job where I would be happy. I’m on my last semester now, and I cannot wait for next year! 🙂 Cheers!

  32. Harrimon

    26 December

    The world still needs diesel, bicycle and aircraft mechanics, chefs, and welders. Many trades can be picked up in short periods of time and offer lifetime of fulfillment.

  33. Shela

    27 January

    “It (studying) was just an obligation for me. Everyone were doing the same, I can say” – I can really feel you on this. And yes, you’re definitely right, learning is not limited in the four corners of a classroom; you can even learn more from experiences. There were lessons taught in classrooms that made no sense in real life situations, sometimes I even wonder if it really made sense at all. It’s just sad how people base your “dignity” on whether you’re an A student or you have a diploma or if you graduated in “reputable” university/college; they think that it makes you more of a person..well, bless their souls because it doesn’t make you more or less of a human being. There are lots of lessons that is not written in a book or a teacher will ever teach you in a class, you don’t need to squeeze in your brains in school just to prove something. Hell, that piece of paper you call a diploma won’t be the sole definition of who you are and who you’ll be in the future. It’s a great post Trisha. Safe travels. x

  34. […] I’ve been an avid reader of one of the awe inspiring travel blogs I ever come across named “P.S. I’m On My Way” owned by a Filipina traveler and blogger Trisha Velermino. And suffice to say yes, I, somehow, […]

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