Why I Chose to Travel to the Other Side of the World Before Starting my Career

My career has always been top of my mind. I spent my school years running social media and planning events, and I spent my summers in chilly office buildings at various internships. As my four years came to a close and college graduation came closer and closer, I naturally started applying to public relations jobs in Washington, D.C.

While the next chapter in my life was ambiguous, I knew one thing for sure: no matter what, I’d be taking at least one month off before starting a job so that I could travel to the other side of the world. Since I take my career very seriously and put so much time and effort in preparing for it, choosing to take that month off before working was a difficult decision but one that was also so important for me. All college students should consider taking at least some kind of break before starting a job or grad school so that they can have a little time off and do something enriching.

For me, I knew I wanted to go somewhere that I might not ever get the chance to see again, and I wanted to go somewhere completely different. As much as my heart longed to return to Spain or Argentina, places where I had studied abroad, I knew I had to travel somewhere even farther away and somewhere with a culture I had never experienced. That’s why I chose to spend one month in Thailand and Cambodia.

As college graduation came and went, I packed my bags and set out for Asia. While I like to think of myself as having this whole travel thing down, Asia was completely new territory for me. It honestly scared me a little. But that’s why I went and am so glad I did. Traveling to places that scare you makes you grow as a person and adds so much life to your life.

Now that I’ve been working in my first full-time job, I am happy to say that I took the time off beforehand to go out into the world, learn about a new culture, and challenge myself. It’s in those challenges that I learned more about myself and I grew. While I’ve learned so much on the job, there are certain skills – skills critical to most jobs – that can only be learned outside of the workplace. I like to think that world travel is an excellent way of learning those skills, particularly the further you intentionally place yourself outside of your comfort zone. In my travels I’ve learned independence, confidence, problem solving, adaptability, empathy, and so much more in addition to furthering my understanding of other cultures and peoples.

Taking a month to travel is of course so much fun, but it also adds so much to a person’s life to prepare them for the working world. That’s why I’d recommend that any college student consider taking time off at some point to travel before starting their career. Take that step and don’t be afraid. Career opportunities will always be there, but adding unique life experiences to make you a better person and a better employee won’t always be as easy to do. Now is the time!


One Month in Thailand and Cambodia: The Itinerary

I decided to travel to Thailand and Cambodia for a month after graduating from college. It was an incredible decision, and I’m so glad that I took a month in between school and work to travel to the other side of the world. Planning a month long trip, though, no matter how fun it was, was certainly a bit of a daunting task, particularly for a country I knew little about.

For this first blog post on the trip, I’ll share our itinerary and the things we did. In later posts, I’ll write more about my favorite places and some of the things I would’ve done differently. If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, I hope this helps!Read More »

Hello Again!

Well it sure has been a long time since I’ve posted to this blog, and for that I am sorry. I don’t want to make excuses for myself, but since graduating and working full time, this blog has been in the back of my mind, but something I just couldn’t bring myself to writing.

But now I want to change that. I miss writing about travel. I have so many stories and tips that I want to share. And even though I’ve been working full time and finding it hard to write, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped any of my travels.

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Thailand and Last Minute Travel Nerves

Traveling is exciting, but it can be nerve wracking too, especially as a trip gets closer and becomes more real. As I write this, im sitting in an airport in Raleigh about to board the first of three flights as I make my way to Thailand. I am so unbelievably excited, but I’m so incredibly nervous too.

Stepping out of your home, your comfort zone, into something unknown is always a bit scary. There’s so many things that could go wrong. There’s so much to anticipate. But that’s ok. That what makes it all so exciting.

If you’re feeling nervous before a big trip, just remind yourself of what inspired you to go there to begin with. Embrace the unexpected and get excited. Chances are many tourists have visited this place before you have, and they’ve all loved it. All will be well, and you’re going to have the adventure of your life. You’ve made it this far. You’ve taken the big leap in deciding to do this trip, now do it and don’t look back. Happy travels!

If you want to keep up with my travels in Thailand, stay posted on my blog and also follow me on Instagram @mikala_whitaker.

Have you ever felt some nerves before traveling? What made you feel better about it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

How to Save Money for Travel

Traveling is expensive, whether you stay in hostels or not. Further more, life is expensive, which is something that I’m coming to understand more and more as I’m about to graduate from college and enter the real world. In my previous posts, I’ve written about why now is the time to travel and how you can spend less by staying in hostels. But now might be difficult for you financially, even if you cut down on travel costs with hostels. This is something that I myself am coming more to terms with as I think to myself, How am I even going to even afford rent?Read More »

Why Durham is One of the Most Underrated Cities in N.C.

After living in North Carolina for nine years now, I’ve never heard people talk about Durham very often. Even after moving to the Triangle (Chapel Hill – Raleigh – Durham), I haven’t heard much about it. But Durham is such a cool place, and it’s only getting cooler. Vogue recently named it North Carolina’s hippest city. Here are some reasons that it’s completely underrated:

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