With Julien, we have always wanted to travel on our own, as soon as we became independent. The problem (besides financial) is that we have been told too often that traveling will create “a huge gap in our CV”… Not to mention our parents who get involved: “what about your future?” Ok dear parents, be assured: not only we think about it, but also and thanks to our trip and everything we learn on the road, we are preparing it!
Learn from traveling: the lessons learned
“Traveling is the best school in life” (Our interview for Jeunes à l’étranger.com)
Learn and improve language skills
What do you mean, we suck at English? But no, that’s not true: we know very well that “Ryan is in the kitchen” from our primary school books! All right, we suck at English, but it’s not our fault: we never practice English in school, and all the movies we saw in France are dubbed in French…
Like it or not, at some point and in order to make you understand while traveling, you have to speak english: even if we weren’t too bad (for french standards) at first, our English level has considerably improved – ok, we still have to improve our pronunciation, but hey! Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Acquire new skills
Before traveling, we barely knew how to grow a few aromatic plants (the worst thing is that we thought we had a green thumb). This was without counting on the volunteering missions carried out during our trip! Today we have some knowledge of permaculture and we can even manage a small farm.
Our volunteer missions did not stop at gardening or helping on the farm: we also renovated an old house (sanding, plastering, painting), cooked for a hotel/restaurant, ran a youth hostel, babysat, learned to sail on a sailboat (and even got our Yacht Master Ocean license in August 2020!), learned to build our blog and many other WordPress websites…
And as we love to cook, we have even learned from our hosts typical and local recipes. We can now boast to know how to make a “real” pizza and why not consider opening a pizzeria when we return to France (we can always dream, can’t we?!).
Develop your initiative skills
Being proactive means finding solutions on our own and implementing them, while demonstrating that they actually are good ideas. With our trip, we were confronted with many difficult situations, cultural shocks, people from a different social background than ours; speaking a different language, with different habits or customs… We had to learn to adapt very quickly to new environments. For a company that needs to grow, a person with a strong sense of initiative is a real quality! A quality that also proves his determination and perseverance, in all circumstances.
Learn how to sell yourself
On the road, we are constantly confronted with situations that require quick and practical solutions, such as developing hitchhiking tips to stop a car more easily or finding a roof to spend the night. Above all, we had to overcome our shyness and learn to sell ourselves to our potential hosts and drivers: an undeniable quality that will allow us to open more doors in the future!
Getting to know yourself
We are all formatted by well-defined socio-cultural codes, a strict education: in this context, it is often difficult to really know what we want… Our trip allowed us to know more about ourselves and bring new answers, new ideas, new projects; to open up more easily to new opportunities, to define more precisely what we want (and what we don’t want)…
How to enhance the value of your trip?
Fine enough for the lessons learned, you still wonder how to make your trip more valuable to a recruiter with sharp questions, or to your worried relatives…. In fact, you have to be aware that the first person to convince is yourself first, because once you are sure of yourself and your project, you will have no trouble convincing others!
In front of a employer
- Highlight everything you have undertaken: these are all qualities that distinguish you from others, and can easily be justified with concrete examples, like “I have set up a website”, “I have given conferences on travel / English courses”,…
- List all your travel achievements with personal examples: “I traveled in this country, I carried out this project on the spot, it brought me this skill/know-how” or “I traveled there, I experienced this difficult situation, I overcame this challenge by doing…”. The goal is to demonstrate that you are a capable person, open-minded, constantly learning, who knows how to adapt and manage any difficulty!
- Don’t forget to explain your motivations and how you financed your trip: it’s not a trip of a spoiled child, funded by rich parents; but the result of a thoughtful personal project, only funded by you and thanks to your efforts.
- Don’t be unconfortable: assume this personal choice, and calmly present your arguments.
With your loved ones
Your loved ones are worried, still do not understand why you are leaving: it’s absolutly normal! Our generation, which evolves in a different society, no longer respects the “classical stages” to which our parents devoted themselves (school/work, marriage/children). So you have to reassure them, by giving them good arguments such as “I’m going to discover and learn more”, “I’ll be totally autonomous from a financial point of view, I’ll never ask you for money”, “I’m covered by health insurance”. Show them that you know what you are doing!
And as with any relationship, don’t forget that the essential key is communication: involve them in your journey, share your progress, show them examples of professional success or successful retraining after a long journey (authors, expatriates, adventurers, entrepreneurs). Anyway, they’ll get used to it!…
* Article rédigé d’après notre expérience personnelle *