If you’re looking for an adventure after high school, a road trip provides the perfect opportunity to embrace your newfound freedom. While everyone else may be staying at home, watching Netflix or working, you could be riding the highways of Australia with your best mate, blasting your favourite tunes with the windows down.
I took the leap into the unknown after I graduated high school and here’s what I learnt.
1. Your age doesn't matter
You’re never too young to set off on an adventure around Australia.
I began my road trip with my best friend at 17, a few months after we graduated high school, and nobody cared that we were so young (and underage).
Not only does a road trip give you a chance to hang out with travellers older than you, you’ll begin to see a new, more mature perspective on enjoying yourself. Meeting new people is the best part of travelling–and it’s easier than you think.
If you stay in hostels you’re bound to make friends with people from all over the world. On the road the vibe is so different to the 'real' world. I was able to spend hours with strangers from all around the world–whether it was drinking with hilarious Irishmen or surfing the beaches of Bondi with Americans, the friendships I made are not something I can easily forget.
2. Travel is liberating
It’s a pretty good feeling driving out of your home town or city with the windows down, blasting your favourite songs with your best friend by your side. There’re no external pressures, no parents nagging and no expectations. You eat what you want to eat, go where you want to go and do what you want to do. The best part? There’s no pressure to act a certain way.
It’s a liberating experience leaving our good-intentioned but limiting friendship circles and entering a world where nobody is going to judge you for what you do.
3. Honesty is the only way to go
If you choose to go with a friend, it’s important to know that tensions will begin to rise at some point on the trip. I discovered that the best way to deal with issues is to be upfront about them as they happen. Keeping your emotions to yourself only allows them to build up and they usually come across in passive aggressive ways.
While most of us aren’t used to dealing with conflict this way, both you and your friend will come to appreciate the freedom that honesty affords.
4. Your perspective on your life will change
After experiencing what the road had to offer, suddenly my plan of getting a degree and going straight into the workforce wasn’t so certain. If you don’t have a passion and you feel that you’re rushing into something because it’s what everyone is telling you to do, a road trip lets you take step back and evaluate if you really want to go down that path.
5. You’ll remember the little things
Whether it’s blasting ‘I Was Only 19’ while passing Puckapunyal, eating kebabs and listening to live music in Byron, or reading a book on a roof-top in Melbourne, it’s the little things you’ll remember best.
So, don’t worry about overloading your trip with too much stuff; just go, and everything will sort itself out.
by Isaac Irons