Is nobody allowed to have any fun anymore? I used to believe in 'travel for travel's sake' but it seems I've been left behind. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), 70% of young people now travel with a "purpose", such as learning a language, studying, or volunteer work. Anything, in short, that will look good on the CV.
I admire their focus, but it seems a bit of a shame. I was lucky enough to take a year off before I went to university. I did spend some of it working as volunteer in Japan - but I also spent a lot of it travelling around Malaysia with my boyfriend. And while my gap year taught me a lot of things - mostly how to eat with chopsticks and that I had a rubbish boyfriend - not one of those things was directly relevant to my later career. And considering we all spend most of our lives in education or work, I think that's just great.
The good news is that youth travel is on the up - young people now account for one fifth of all international arrivals - so the likelihood is, if they keep travelling, they'll have a good time whether they go looking for it or not. But maybe putting aside the time just for fun is an important life skill in itself.more blog posts