Dear Tell All: My best friend is so adventurous it amazes me. She just seems to make stuff happen. She studied abroad in Italy during her junior year and traveled all over Europe. Then last summer she volunteered at a school in Guatemala. After we graduate this spring, she's planning on working in Australia through an organization called BUNAC. She asked me to go with her, but for some reason, I'm having a hard time saying yes.
I've admired this girl for years because she has no fear. She's always trying new things and going on new adventures. Sometimes I wonder if the real reason I admire her so much is that she does the things I'm afraid to do. She's living my fantasy. Yet part of me thinks that's all it is: a fantasy. I like the idea of traveling around the world and living in exotic places, yet when it comes right down to it, I'm just not that adventurous. I'm not a risk taker. I like comfort and security.
So now I have the opportunity to change that and do something really crazy, but I can't seem to commit.
World Traveler Wannabe
Dear Wannabe: I'm going to let you in on a little secret. There's only a tiny step between having a dream and making that dream a reality. Your friend has figured out how to take that first, shaky step.
In situations like this, it's so easy to focus on all of the reasons why you shouldn't do something: It's too expensive, it's too risky, it's out of your comfort zone. But when you're done trying to talk yourself out of it, make sure you consider all of the reasons you should go: swimming with dolphins, moonlit beaches, cute boys with accents. You've got the rest of your life to find a professional job and settle down. If you take a year off now to travel, you'll never regret it.
I'm actually familiar with BUNAC. It's a completely legitimate organization that has helped thousands of students like you live and work in another country. They provide a work permit and a support network, but you still have to find your own job and a place to live. So accepting this challenge won't be easy, but it will change your life. Pack your bags, baby!