Traveling Now VS. Traveling Later — Which One is For You?

Feb 7 201713 comments


I’m quite sure you’ve seen this circulating in your Facebook news feed these past few weeks. I’m talking about the endless debate that (mostly) carefree millennials go through: do you travel the world now or do it later?

I’ve seen many types of content tackling this issue before. In the latest one I saw, a video, one person argued that millennials should stop spending so much, if not all, of their money on travel and instead focus on improving their careers while they are still young. I agreed with him: travel often creates that temporary feeling of happiness and satisfaction but does not necessarily take away the emptiness and leaves one financially in distress.

Of course, I’m not saying that it applies to everyone but I’m quite sure many of US can relate, right?

Instant Pleasure or Delayed Gratification

When we became parents, the partner and I introduced ourselves to proper financial planning where we learned about the concept of delayed gratification. In a world of instant noodles and drive-thru meals, our brains have been hardwired to want to get something in order to be happy RIGHT NOW.

However, in financial planning, they teach you the beauty of delayed gratification. What is a little sacrifice today (nope, you can’t go on that quick weekend getaway to a nearby 2-star hotel right now) when you can reap much better rewards that are often tenfold (enjoy a 5-star stay in Maldives five years from now)!

In the video, the argument was that the person started to focus and build his career at the age of 25 – and now (not sure how many years later), he is already a millionaire who can travel wherever he wants to go in his private plane.

The Millennial Mindset and Parenting in the 21st Century

As beautiful as the idea of delaying reward for a bigger and better output is, I also think that life is too short to be wasting it all on work, work, work. That might not matter much to you right now but, trust me, it will once you have a little one to take care of.

Around my birthday last year, one of my aunts died due to cardiac arrest resulting from asthma attack – and she was just a few months shy from her retirement age. The incident got me into full paranoia and the existential crisis got so bad I had to really exhaust myself at night to make sure I don’t lie in bed with my head spinning on thoughts about death. I don’t think I’ve fully recovered from that even if it has been a few months ago; I couldn’t even dare watch a movie that had death in it.

The thing is that I realized just how short life really is. You can go chasing after money and success the way society defines it but you can no longer get back the time and opportunity lost in those years.

True, I hated dealing with everyday traffic during my commute to and from work but I think the deeper reason on why I chose to gave up a stable corporate job in exchange for the uncertainty (often) of a one-income work-from-home household was because I wanted to have a major influence on my child and I want to be there every step of the way.

Then again, I am not saying that the path our family chose to take is the right one; we just think it suits our lifestyle and preferences as a family best. People will still feel guilty of disappointing people whichever path they choose but if it’s the one that makes you happy, as cliche as it may sound, then go for it. And, yes, f*ck what society dictates.


About the Author

Pam is an outdoors-loving millennial momma who loves to hike, trek and camp in the beaches and mountains with her partner and their 3-year-old daughter. When not exploring the great outdoors, she moonlights as a freelance writer specializing in the travel, parenting, personal finance and digital marketing niches. You can also follow her via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!