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Question #89063 posted on 03/04/2017 10:28 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are study-abroad/service/travel opportunities only for the young?

Say you're 27, have been graduated from college for three years and have been working full-time since then. Certain life events have prompted the desire to get out and live life a little more - travelling, helping people, whatever. Maybe you could volunteer in a refugee camp or with the Peace Corps, or even just backpack through Europe or something for four months.

It sounds really appealing, but for some reason it also sounds more frivolous than it might be if you were 21 and doing it through your school (obviously, volunteering has great benefits to the needy of the world, but let's focus on you). Is it worth quitting your job, uprooting, disrupting your resume, dropping potentially thousands of dollars on airfare and stuff, at 27?

I guess I have this sense of "You're a real adult now and can't just be going off to travel the world for no good reason. That's for college kids. You need to buckle down and be thinking about your 401K or whatever."

Any personal experience or advice?



Dear Amar es viajar,

As far as personal experience goes, I am 27 and have currently been traveling (mostly) through South America with my 25-year old brother. We have been on the move for three months and we will finish in about four total. Part of this has been to visit mission people, but a lot of it has just been to see some new stuff.

I have met many, many Europeans who have been traveling for a while, and very few Americans. I think our cultures place a different value on traveling.

Could... could you re-ask this question in a few weeks? I have a lot of thoughts about this but am limited in my ability to respond in a way I find satisfactory. My shortest answer would be to figure out exactly what kind of experience you want and then go for it. Why not? Real adults know the value of experience.


--Ardilla Feroz, who recently passed close by Ardilla, Bolivia


Dear Love,

I don't believe that travel is only for for college-aged people. When it comes down to it, travel is for the people who are willing to pay the cost of travel. Aside from the financial costs, this includes expenses in time, and opportunity costs. (Opportunity costs are whatever you could be doing instead of traveling; i.e. the money you could have been earning whilst abroad.) 

As a general rule, college students value time less, have fewer responsibilities/commitments to other people, and have lower opportunity costs than people who have graduated. In this light, it makes sense that there's a greater concentration of college students who go on long trips as opposed to different groups of people. Whenever a specific group has lower costs than others, you're going to see this kind of behavior. However, just because it's more common for college students to travel doesn't imply that it's wrong for anyone else to do so. It really depends on how much you personally value travel. If it's worth it to you after taking into consideration all the associated costs, then you should go for it, regardless of societal norms.


posted on 03/05/2017 4:20 p.m.
An excellent example of combining service and travel is my friend Marisa's family. Marisa and her husband are in their late 30s, their kids are teenagers/upper elementary ages. They have decided to move to an unnamed South American country for the next year to serve in the recovery program for children rescued from sex slavery by Operation Underground Railroad. It's possible at any age and with any family composition (single, married, children, whatever) to find meaningful ways to serve others while also filling your own bucket with extraordinary experiences like world travel.

~ The Mama Who Wants to Know Everything