We live in a world defined by our successes. We have been told, for as long as time can tell, the roles we are supposed to carry out in order to feel accomplished, empowered, and important. But as science has progressed, so has our society. Slowly in some respects and rapidly in others, yet we are affected nonetheless. Our self-worth has shifted, which means our roles have, too. We now, more than ever, are struggling to live from within as opposed to for someone else. People yearn for liberation in a way that separates them from being defined by education, and by a career. Exploring the world near and far has us enthralled. We desperately seek to see the intricate pieces that make up the global puzzle. We want to escape confinements and unwarranted judgements, whilst discovering that which we don’t know… yet.
Most notably known for this mentality are millennials — people born between 1982 and 2000, who are currently making up 1/3 of the population and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are more diverse and educated than past generations. Though the term tends to be attached to the negative connotation that they are, indeed, just lazy, ungrateful, spoiled, and restless people, perhaps there’s something bigger going on.
In 2014, the World Travel Market (WTM) conducted the Millennial Traveller report, which found that 20 percent of international travelers are of the millennial generation, and that, by the year 2020, an expected 320 million international trips are going to be executed by this generation. “The millennial generation is growing up in a technologically advanced world where travelling and communication go hand-in-hand and are easier than ever before,” explains David Chapman, who is the director general for WTM.
Millennials are willing to forgo raking in cash for a company that provides them little to no freedom creatively or otherwise, to work odd jobs in hopes of spending their time walking new territories. Conventionalism is out. Getting ahead through a career, through making a family, and through buying a house all seem to be on the back burner as opposed to opting for personal fulfillment. There are movements dedicated to this, social media puts it in your face, and there are families who’ve altogether taken it to the next level, getting in vans and taking their cats, dogs, and kids on the road to educate and inspire them in a new way. People are even getting famous for this ideology. Love stories are being made in the inconspicuous back streets of foreign cities, where clothing appears to be optional and self expression at an all-time high. Things are changing, and we’re not afraid to flaunt it.
Millennials aren’t OK with being called lazy, spoiled, or restless, they’re just not paying attention to it. They’re not interested in relying on education from one book, one teacher, and then, one boss. They want to thrive outside of their comfort zones, embrace the change, find a new way to manage their emotions, understand fear and confront it, take advantage of opportunities they had no idea existed, and discover a new wave of spirituality that has no borders. Millennials are sick of judging people based on their careers. The question, “So what do you do for work?” is small talk of the past. They simply want to connect with others and better understand the differences between one person and one culture to the next, and learn how to coexist, and not just tolerate.
Millennials are programmed to explore, and they’re not turning back anytime soon. As Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
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