Why Millennials Are Hitting The Highway


Something is driving the generation of new adults to push the boundaries, choosing adventure over security and experiences over comfort. There are countless articles reproaching millennials and their seemingly unconventional ways. Calling them lazy, narcissistic and entitled. Directionless. Criticism disguised as insight are becoming increasingly common.  

Let’s not forget that it is a tired old trope, the old mocking the young. Even as far back as the 4th century, Aristotle was quoted saying the younger generations “think they know everything, and they are always quite sure about it”. In 1985, Generation X was known as The Video Generation. Back before smartphones or Youtube were invented, today’s parents had been featured in Newsweek  as the generation who are never seen without their “latest cutting edge technology”. Sound familiar?

But now, it is time to explore whether millennials are suffering psychological problems or simply living as practical and as full as they are able to in today’s age of technology.

However, it is worth noting that millennials are a lot less inclined to visit a casino than their parents were. This generation is more interested in enriching their minds than they are with striking the jackpot. Huffington Post pointed out that millennials have seen how working hard does not always guarantee a comfortable life as they were old enough when the financial crash of 2007-2008 took place. Perhaps it is during that event that had millennials re-thinking the value of money. Perhaps the time spent for an unfeeling corporation is better off spent on the individual’s needs and wants.

Based on the amount of successful vloggers or bloggers and even social media influencers that generate content for a living, it did not seem impossible to have their cake and eat it too. Without the fixed nine to five, Monday to Friday schedule, one becomes free. With less limitations, it is up to them to push and meld their lives they want to lead. And this has given way to those who travel for a living by working remotely, through the internet. These belong in another sub-category: travelpreneurs. What is it about not having a permanent home that makes it so attractive?

According to CNBC, it is about priorities. Experiences are more important than material items to the average millennial. This is largely due to how costly real estate is. Therefore the next best thing is to make the world home, rather than purchasing brick and mortar that is virtually unattainable on a low, flat pay which is what many make these days. Travel, by comparison, is more affordable and a more meaningful way to spend time and money.

As millennials have been touted as the ‘me’ generation, it is logical to assume they are focused in self-improvement such as broadening their perspectives. It is not a secret that “people who are exposed to diverse lifestyles and cultures from an early age grow up to be more tolerant, charitable and rational on average” according to an article by Forbes. The article continues to highlight how the previous generation did not have the luxury; saying that “this is a modern development” as the older generations had little choice but to work hard “relentlessly for most of their lives and put off seeing the world until their twilight years”.

To be sure, the plans have flipped and millennials want to see the world first. Another contributing factor could be the fact that when they are old and grey, they would not be able to jump off buildings or hike in nature as they would if they had seen the world in their prime. Furthermore, it is more beneficial for the young and impressionable to travel as grandparents or parents are more set in their ways and see travel as a way to escape their humdrum lives instead of an eye-opening experience.

Furthermore, millennials want authenticity. It is no longer enough to go to Rome and gawk at the colosseum. They want to immerse themselves into the culture and truly learn something. Bringing home something priceless that belongs to them alone.

Travel and work has become such an integral part of this generation of travelpreneurs that more and more are ditching their luggage and renting tuxes instead. With renting culture on the rise with the likes of AirBnb and Uber or Grab, consumers are no longer against renting clothes, especially designer wear which would be out of their budget if they were to purchase them. Based off a recent survey by Realty Mogul, the amount of respondents aged 18 to 34 said they would rather rent over buying if it meant they could continue affording small luxuries such as visiting any restaurant they desired and afford their favorite mug of coffee daily.

Even those who are less adventure inclined, and is unwilling to sacrifice stability for their dreams have taken a stab at a bleisure. A term combining ‘business’ and ‘leisure’ promotes adding extra days to an otherwise short and stressful business trip. It has been proven to increase work performance. It is undeniable that millennials are just as obsessed with travel as travel is with them. Travel agencies try their best to market their services to the largest demographic in America by creating youth-oriented packages, Instagram-worthy decor and of course, high speed wifi.

Now ask yourself, If you had the ability to make money on the go, why wouldn’t you?

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