Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Should Be European.

Yeah yeah yeah.  I'm sure that all of my European friends are scoffing, but it's true.  At least according to an article that I found on  The article was titled, "Why more Americans don't travel abroad" and it brought up some interesting points.

I think the point that I most identified with was the U.S. differences in work culture compared to Europe.  The article stated,

Many Americans follow the same pattern: work hard in high school, go to college, accrue a load of debt and get a job right away to work it off, Arndt said. The United States doesn't promote taking a year off between major life phases like New Zealand or the United Kingdom.
"Up until recently, having a gap year was a job killer, so you chose work," Kepnes said. "And that work, work, work mentality makes it much harder to leave."

A one-year break in your resume could make an American employer question your commitment to a company, whereas not taking a gap year in New Zealand would be considered crazy, Kepnes said.
"We're not a travel culture," he said. "Countries are travel cultures when they put more of an emphasis on leisure time, and Americans tend to choose money over leisure time."
Even those who do receive a nice chunk of vacation time don't use it all, and those who do seem to take shorter, more frequent trips, Arndt said.

Well, they're right on about the debt.  It does make perfect sense to me that most Americans my age feel that they can't travel.  The boy and I are lucky that we are able to travel and live abroad, but the reality is that it might not be so easy for everyone else. 

If I had my way I would make it essential that everyone take a gap year after college to travel.  It should be a little reward without the burden of student loans breathing down your neck.  It would be a time of self discovery and exploration.  Hell, if I had my way college would be FREE... or at least relatively affordable but we'll leave that post for another day.

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