You've seen the articles and photos from young travel bloggers as they backpack their way through Europe and relax on tropical beaches. It seems like such a glamorous life, but is it really all it's cracked up to be? Millennials are making it their mission to find out.
I moved abroad five years ago at the age of 24. First, it was four years in Germany teaching English while traveling through Europe. When I got tired of the cold weather, my boyfriend and I jetted off to Costa Rica for a new warmer life. Maybe my choices were a bit crazy, but I like to think of them as life affirming.
When I started out on my grand adventure I was an anomaly, but within the past five years I've watched as many of my peers have traded in their business suits for one-way tickets. Here is why.
Doing Things Later In Life:
We are doing things later in life than our parents. According to Pew Social Trends, only 26% of Millennials are married by the age of 32. That means we are taking our twenties to really discover ourselves. Because we are not tied down by a spouse or children, we can live abroad without having to worry about our children adjusting to a new culture or our spouse finding a job in a new country.
If we are getting married and having children later in life we also don't have as much pressure on us to have a high paying job to support a family. This allows us to live our twenties full of adventures and new cultures.
Different Work Ethics:
Millennials have different work ethics than previous generations. For us, it is less important to have a nine to five job with the possibility of advancement than it is to have a job that offers flexibility, good benefits, and diversity in tasks. By living abroad you are given the chance to embrace a new type of working environment.
For example, while living in Germany I worked as a freelance English teacher. I was able to survive on working twenty hours a week teaching classes when I wanted, and traveling constantly. If I wanted to take a day off, I took a day off. If I wanted to only teach classes that started after 9:00 a.m., I only taught classes after 9:00 a.m. OK, I obviously wasn't paid when I wasn't working, but this flexibility allowed me to maintain a lifestyle I wanted.
We are a generation of entrepreneurs. Young American don't want to work for someone from behind a desk for their whole life. We are a generation that has been taught we can do whatever we put our minds to. We are tech savvy and resourceful. It is possible for us to have a successful career from our computers. When your work is entirely online it becomes easy to travel for a living. As long as you can get an internet connection (which is possible all over the world now) you can work.
Easier To Get A Job Abroad
It might sound crazy, but it can be easier to get a job abroad than in the US. With increased levels of student loan debt among US Millenials, I believe more Millennials will harness these opportunities. I'm a perfect example of this. After college I moved back with my parents and applied for jobs for six months, crying my eyes out in between rejection emails.
When I moved to Germany I found a job teaching English within the first week. As English becomes more and more necessary for business the percentage of English teaching jobs becomes more prevalent. It's not just teaching jobs that are in high demand, it is also relatively easy to find jobs as an au pair, in tourism, and if you are looking for a job that allows you to travel there are plenty of short-term jobs out there as well.
It's easier than ever before with technology. We live in an age where it is possible to connect with people and companies around the world within seconds. The fear of moving abroad can be virtually eliminated by lining up a position ahead of time, communicating with fellow expats, and exploring where you plan to move; all while over your morning coffee.
If a certain man with some fabulous hair and a really orange tan becomes president in November, I think there will be a mass exodus of frustrated Millennials. I can't speak for all my fellow Millennials, but the ones I surround myself are open minded individuals that believe in equal rights for everyone regardless of sexual orientation, skin color, religious affiliation, sex, or social status. If Trump becomes president, I believe Millennials will flee to more open minded countries.
This seems to be something we threaten with every upcoming election, but the difference now is an influx of opportunities abroad as well as a different mindset than previous generations.
As originally published on The Wanderlanders