Most often, they were absolutely amazed to hear that working Australians were often entitled to "long service leave" - depending on the company rules, after some time between seven and ten years of continuous employment (with four weeks' annual leave per year already), employees are then entitled to a longer paid break of between three and six months. This harks back to colonial times when Brits wanted to return home but needed to take that very long journey by ship to get there, and therefore needed such a long period of leave. Of course, we're very reluctant to give up that entitlement now, although we're fully aware we can now fly there in 24 hours or so.
|Australians cooking Japanese food with Japanese and Slovak people in rural Slovakia - yes travel is good!|
Your blog pretty much made me cry when I first found it. I am headed into two years of community college when all I really want to do is travel. Even thinking about different countries and places can jump start me out of bed. I cannot wait to step out, break the bond of routinely boring life that most Americans live, and see the world. I am determined, even while I am surrounded by people who claim money, time, and practicality will keep me from making my dreams, goals, and plans into my very own reality.
Of course, not being there, I can't be sure if this is really a typical attitude (would love to hear what you think), but it certainly rings true to me from other conversations I've had. And it's quite different to the attitude in Australia, where at the moment teenagers are being very positively encouraged to travel in between school and university (college), and where taking a year or two out of a career to spend some time seeing the world can actually become an advantage, since many employers see international experience (of nearly any kind) as a bonus.
And the second inspiration came from a blogger who calls herself Marlee in Debt. Despite being (as you'd suspect) in debt, and still being a student, she wrote about her fear of having an unused passport and declaring that she believes money can be very wisely spent on experiences rather than material things - and that therefore, she's planning some international travel this North American summer. Go Marlee!!
|An Aussie sharing Germany with her Slovak friend ... yes, travel broadens perspectives!|
Anyhow ... I'd love to hear from everyone (American and non-American) about your perspective on travel. Are you able to do as much as you'd like? Is it important? Should governments make sure people have enough annual leave so they can travel? (I think so!). Will travelling for two or three years ruin your chance of a good career? Tell me all in the comments.
(*Just for the record, I would like "United Statesian" to be a word. When I taught South American students they all said that "American" should include everyone from Chile to Canada; I actually used to say "United Statesian" in class to distinguish the kind of Americans I meant, when necessary. Just wanted to say so.)