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The Future -- any help, advice appreciated beyond words.

Travel Forums General Talk The Future -- any help, advice appreciated beyond words.

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1. Posted by Tanianol (Inactive 13 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I'm 17, really late about deciding what to do for a future, and decided to apply last minute to a Culinary institute, because I can go there with a $60,000 scholarship from having a 30 on the ACT - thus, free culinary education.

I'm a little depressed about having applied there. Very depressed. Although I like to cook, and want to know how to do it well, the reason I'm deciding to go there is because it's free, and I waited a long time to decide so I feel like I have no other options. I finally realized that there's no point in taking a year off if I won't have any money to do anything, go anywhere. It would just be a year long set back. But I feel like the whole Robert Morris thing is just a three-year long set back. I'm considering living in Chicago and going to the college, and hopefully doing some study abroad and travel during the summers. My other thought was to stay at home and go to the campus that's only a few miles away, and save up a lot of money by working at restaurants while getting my degree. The one thing I like about the thought of Robert Morris is that I don't have to give up learning my Spanish, because working in restaurants, I would be dealing with a lot of Spanish. Happily.

But this is the ultimate point...if I DON'T want to be a chef for a living, why go to college for three years for it? My plan as of now is to just do it and save up, and then when I'm finished I'll HAVE a skill, be able to get a job whenever I need it, I'll be more independent and then I can start really looking towards what I want to do with live. Which is cultural studies, traveling, helping people, volunteering, international's all over the place and I don't know WHAT exactly I want to do. I simply know that the American future of college to career isn't the ONLY option. I want to explore all my options. I'm so fascinated with the other cultures of the world. I just can't pinpoint myself down to one place, one thing, one career, one choice. This is keeping me scared out of my mind, that I procrastinated thinking about and doing something about my future for so long and now I'm in the last minutes and I don't know what to do.

All of me wishes I could just take my passport and go, once I turn 18 just go, explore, do it all NOW while I still don't have those responsibilities. The thing that's stopping me isn't the fear of not knowing what to do and all the culture shocks, those things can't scare me before I have a reality of going. The two things really are my dad, and money. First of all, my dad is so scared and protective and doesn't even want me to go to Mexico this summer. And I know if I just tried to go and leave I wouldn't have any financial backing and I'd just have to come back home, so it's pointless to think about. The simple fact is just that you NEED money to travel, no matter what. And it's not like I want to go to nice tourist destinations and see all the sights, that's the opposite of what I want to do. "The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see." I want to be in places that are as different from the materialistic world of America as I can get. If it means I have to do a lot of hard work, that doesn't bother me. I know it just sounds like me saying that now, that I'll need my computer and cellphone and CD players and cars and everything.

If nothing else I just want the chance to see the other side of the coin. America's not that big, and there's so much world out there that I know nothing about. Getting back to Robert Morris and culinary, it's fortunate that the easiest thing to share between cultures is food, which is the thing that's keeping me hanging on to the college. If I can find some sort of career that utilizes food and cooking with travel and culture, that would be my dream fulfilled.

I just...don't want to give up my dreams for the safeness of a guaranteed job, career....I don't want to wake up as a chef in some gormet restaurant serving snobs, in a big house with a nice car and many things. It's not me! And I don't want to be disapointed by what I didn't do in twenty, fourty years from now, thinking back to this moment, these days. I just need to know what others have done, maybe they can help's just that I don't have too much time at this point. I need to take action fast, not dig myself into a hole.

My only travelling is that I'm going to Mexico for the summer, first with a friend and his family, then for some study abroad...the 2nd of which is TRUE travelling, especially since the second will be in a tourist town. The first will be more so since I'll be living with the people and in a very poor town, but I'm only going to be there for 1-2 weeks.

I'm sorry, this is a total rant of just what's constantly running through my head. I hope, if I ask for help, and hear what other people have done, HOW you guys are able to travel, I can have a plan and some ideas! Whether you did it after high school, during high school, after college, how much you travel, how you manage to do it, if you have a career and travel, if you just travel...what you do, how you do it...I just need to hear how other people are living out my dream of travel. Please, anything...just tell me about yourself, or give some advice...I'm driving myself crazy with all this thinking. Thank you so much in advance.

[ Edit: Edited on May 8, 2007, at 10:45 AM by Siraaji ]

2. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello Siraaji:)

Go with your feelings, is my suggestion.
If u dont want to spend 3 years becomming a chef, then dont.
Just because u like cooking, does not mean u would like working as a chef. Even if u dont get formal cookery training, u can become as good a cook as u want to.

Whatever training and education u have or have not, u will be able to get a job and earn money.

Dont worry, about a year set back, or 3 year set back... When u are as old as I am(37), u will wonder why u thought a year here or there mattered, in your life.

Yes, take your passport and go, if that is what u want. If u have the money go now. Otherwise get some type of job, and save to go as soon as possible. Even if u dont feel like going to school now, u might in a few years. Better to do it, when it means something to u. Even when u finally get responsibilities, balance your life, so it is not all responsibilities.

Never mind your Dad. U will be an adult(18) very soon. Dont live your life, for him, or anybody else.

U are thinking exactly right, to consider how u dont want to be disappointed, in 20 or 40 years. When I am trying to make life decisions, I project my mind forward, to when I am 80 and ask myself what life story I want to tell. That is how I make decisions. Of course one needs to be a bit practical, but not as much as fear makes some people think. Focus on desire, rather than fear, when making decisions. Stop fretting, and let your intuition work.

What I did.
Straight after highschool, I moved from Ireland to England.
I worked there for almost a year. Then I travelled around Europe, with my boyfriend I had, at the time.
Then I went to university. I travelled and worked, some years, and tried to get my degree other years. I then dropped out, because I just was not very good at the subjects I was studying.
I lived in Canada for a year. Then I studied computer programming, which I was more suited to . Then I worked for a couple of computer companies, for a few years. I used to work long hours, in return for more time off. With the time off, I used to travel, for 1 to 5 weeks, at a time, ever 2 to 3 months. I had a baby, when I was 31. I now dont work. I live with my boyfriend and daughter in Germany. We live on his income. I travel several times per year, from 2 to 30 days, at a time.


[ Edit: Edited on May 8, 2007, at 12:19 PM by Mel. ]

3. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

A couple sentances jumped out at me.

Quoting Siraaji

I'm 17, really late about deciding what to do for a future...'s just that I don't have too much time at this point. I need to take action fast, not dig myself into a hole.

Actually, you aren't late at all, and you aren't going to dig yourself in a hole. It's never too late to change, and never as hard as it seems at the begining.

I can't make the decision for you, but I can tell you that either decision - to go travel, or to go to school - doesn't preclude you from doing the other thing in the future, or even something completely different.

It may feel like you are making a decision for the rest of your life right now, but relax, you aren't. I'm 36, and have switched careers a few times. I didn't start travelling until I was 32, and since then have seen 5 continents. You can start travelling (or continue travelling) at any time in your life - you don't need to be a 19 year old to backpack.

I know people who (without the benefit of a full ride scholarship either) went to school for years, got out and realized they didn't like what they are doing, and decided to make a change. It seems scary at first - what about the money? what about my family? what about my friends? But most people I know who have done a complete switch like that, they found that once they did it, it was much easier than they expected, even with kids and mortgages.

You are going to make some mistakes along the way. You are going to make some choices that turn out dead wrong. The key, I have found, to not regretting it, is to do the thing that feels right. That way, if it doesn't work out, at least you can say, "it seemed like the right thing at the time."

Relax, do what your gut tells you, and if it doesn't work out, do something else. It's really that easy. The only thing that is making it seem hard is your anexity.


4. Posted by hil357 (Budding Member 11 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I know how you feel. I'm currently 17 and a junior in high school and desperately want to travel and see the world. I've been thinking a lot about it and trying to plan everything, but I'm always so conflicted because there is so much I want to do. But right now, here are my plans:

Graduate from high school in spring of 2008, work during the summer to save up money, spend the next year volunteering in India and Thailand and Kenya and maybe a couple months in Rome taking an Italian language class. Then in the fall of 2009 I'll start college. I'll spend a semester of a year of college studying abroad. And then when I'll graduate I'll try to get a job at an NGO overseas. I would actually love to work for a UN agency, but I'm afraid that will be too constricting. I guess I'll have 4 years of college to figure out what I really want to do. But there is always a possibility that I won't be able to take a gap year because of financial reasons, but I really hope that won't happen. And I did want to do more backpacking and just traveling alone through India and maybe SEA and parts of Africa, but I don't think my parents would let me do that on my own. I'll just go to one place at a time and be with an organization and just explore one city or one area, and then hopefully come back later on and travel the entire region.

But I definitely can relate to you. I'm interested in so many different cultures and so many different areas of study, I don't know what I want to do. I'm taking Spanish in high school but I really want to learn Italian, but also Hindi and Arabic and French and Bengali and so many others. Its overwhelming some times! But I think I just need to stop thinking about it, plan up to a certain point, and then figure everything out later.

5. Posted by Peter (Admin 6421 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

On a slightly unrelated note; chefs have an easy visa entry into Australia (and probably quite a few other countries as well) if that ever was a consideration. ;) I think it's one of those jobs that you can do almost anywhere and has many more applications beyond working in a restaurant!

But of course, that doesn't mean it is what you should do, because ultimately you need to find what it is you are happiest doing!

And as Greg rightly pointed out, what you decide now does not need to be what you end up doing the rest of your life. Following your gut is definitely good advice!

6. Posted by mohit_sa (Full Member 59 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Siraaji,

I can also relate to how you feel. For a long time I was confused about what I should be doing. So I would say, take a while to sit back and think what you really enjoy doing. Do something that really interests you, something you will look forward to every Tuesday morning (Monday is a bad day :D)

But also remember, we might want something real bad. But we can never really tell until the time we get it. So maybe what you enjoy as a hobby right now might bore you if you take it up as your work, and vice versa. So if you dont have anything planned or are not able to decide, just go with the flow and the right thing will come to you with time.

As for travel, if you want to, you'll be able to. I'm not a very big traveler, but try to make the best of what I have in terms of money or time. Even if I just have an extended weekend, I'll try and make the best of it. Doesn't matter if its 3 days or 3 months, its ALL worth it.

Dont take life too seriously. As in the words of Sir Johnnie Walker, "Keep Walking" or should I say, "Just Keep Walking" :)

7. Posted by mikeandave (Full Member 84 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

If you feel like you really need to go to college why don't you just go travelling when you finish it?
I've just turned 22 and completed my degree. I'm working a depressing call centre job at the moment saving up for a year long trip. I just dream all day long about the feeling of being released from these chains when i leave come september this year. ha.
I think I'm lucky enough to know what I wanna do when i get back. he he. It feels like five mins ago when i was 17. You're young and have plenty of time really. Now that my trips confirmed its great just thinking about it before I've even left!!
Best of luck!

8. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Peter

On a slightly unrelated note; chefs have an easy visa entry into Australia (and probably quite a few other countries as well) if that ever was a consideration. ;) I think it's one of those jobs that you can do almost anywhere and has many more applications beyond working in a restaurant!

That's a good point that also came to me last night. I have read stories about a number of chefs that have travelled very extensively. It appears that in the world of chefdom, there is a very high value placed on going to a place to learn about the food and culture first hand, so many go to "intern" in overseas. Also, restaurant owners openning new restaurants overseas will send chefs from current restaurants to oversee operations.


9. Posted by selani (Budding Member 46 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Siraaji... I'm 17, really late about deciding what to do for a future,

Take it easy Tania, you are just starting.. no question of being late. I used to feel exactly the same when I was your age(23 years ago). Believe me they are quite natural and everybody goes thru this phase in their teens ( and even later, and many times). Some words about life from wise-old-man selani.

* Take it easy, your future is not as difficult as it may seem right now. You are 17. You have tons and tons of years ahead of you to make your dreams come true. So don't rush.

  • Grab whatever is free,even if you don't need it. So if you are able to get a scholarship, grab it. You can throw it away any time you like.( Remember! you have plentyyyyyyyyyyyyy of time to fool around with your career)

* Times change, and so does your plans and priorities. Don't over-plan your future yet. You may want something desperately right now, but won't even bother to consider it after a while.

* As for seeing the world, Hold the dream, don't let it die. I am a strong believer of the power of dreams. Believe me money and other stuff is secondary. Your dream will be the motivation to force you to earn. Remember, you have plenty of time to explore the world.

I have seen plenty and yet want to see plenty more. So its an un-ending cycle. So......

Take it easy.


10. Posted by Tanianol (Inactive 13 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Wow. I just want to say THANKS SO MUCH TO EVERYBODY! You guys have no idea how much it helps to hear everyone's advice and personal situations. Now I realize...three years of college, not much of a set back. In fact, not a set back at all - because afterwords, I'll have an amazing skill I can share, no student loans to pay off, and I'll only be 21 by the time I'm done! Already I'm feeling good about this. Because when I've lived out of the house for a few years and gained my independence, I'll be able to embark on a journey. At this point, I'm too co-dependent, sheltered, as much as I don't want to think it. Trying to go on my own adventure around the world right now would just end bad, with me having to go back home from lack of funds or something else. But I think by the time I'm 21 I'll be much more confident, and I'll be independent of my parents and as a person I will understand much more about life.

My cousin wants me to go to Italy for a year, because she's there as an "Au Pair" watching kids for a family and speaking to them only in English. I still don't know if I can, and I just found out about it...but what does anyone here think? I would get to take a year off, be doing long as I could defer enrollment for a year, why not? That's my thought.

Also, I can't be in Mexico as long as I wanted to be (instead of 2 months, only 2 weeks) so I won't be able to truly experience what I wanted to. I'm trying to find a way to stay there at least 2 weeks longer. Otherwise I won't know what to do...

All I know is that summer begins and school and work ends in TWO WEEKS and I'm SO excited for the future. Cuanto más vivo, más quero vivir. Again, thanks so much to everyone for the advice.