5 Incredible Things That Happen When You Travel after Graduating

Please Note: This is a guest post by my inspirational friend, role model, and instagram supermodel Ria Georgia.


Hi Everyone, I’m Ria.

My friends call me RiRi.

Belle calls me Ria Georgia.

I could describe myself in a lot of ways…I’m a Libra, a photographer, a huge fan of The Office, an artist, a dreamer, an adventure enthusiast, and a recent college grad who has no idea what to do with her life yet. 

After graduating from school in Southern California this Spring, I did the unthinkable. I turned down a perfect job to travel South East Asia.

I still remember how sweaty and shaky my hands were as I pressed send on the email that would change my life. 

I’m here writing to you now, because I want to tell you that even though I was scared out of my mind, it was so worth it. I traveled with my best friend to Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia for a whole month and had the absolute time of my life. Instead of filing papers and attending Monday morning meetings, I explored street markets in Bangkok and danced around on the black sand beaches of Bali. I learned about Hinduism and Buddhism from the people who live and breathe it, and I learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined. 

So, without further anticipation, here are the 5 incredible things that happen when you choose to travel after graduation:

1. You’ll learn your true strengths and weaknesses.

And I’m not talking about the ones that you have to make up during interviews.

I mean you will really get to know yourself on a deeper level. Travelling inevitably comes with its highs and lows, and it is during these moments that you will be pushed to your limits and reveal your true colors.

For me, I never knew that I was a total b*tch when I’m dripping in sweat after trekking through 99% humidity and swatting away massive mosquitoes in Thailand.


Sometimes you might come face to face with a part of yourself that you don’t like, and it’s in that moment that you have to acknowledge it and then make strides to change it. 

On the other hand, you might find some hidden strengths that you could have never discovered sitting in a cubicle. For example, I’m pretty much on the same level as Lewis and Clark when it comes to directional skills. Google Maps and I just understand one another, what can I say? 

2. Everybody is just as scared and confused as you are. 

You can be a complete introvert and still meet people while you’re travelling. Want to know why? Because everyone you meet is usually dying to connect. Even if you’re travelling alone, you’re never truly alone. Even if the people around you don’t speak your language or seem like strangers, all it takes is a smile and an open mind to make a new friend. 

Take me and Belle for example, I first met her at an Irish bar in Madrid. She was wearing a light-pink fur coat and sipping on a cocktail, so obviously I had to get to know this girl. Little did I know she would have such a creative, passionate, and humorous soul that would shape my six months studying in Spain. Friends can truly be found in the most unsuspecting places, so in the words of my favorite human ever (John Mayer), “Everybody’s just a stranger, but that’s the danger in going your own way.”


3. A conventional life doesn’t sound so great anymore. 

I’ve always been one to listen to my gut. Ever since I was young and watched my parents struggle through 9-5 jobs, I just knew that was not the path for me. Sure, it might be the easiest path to take since it is what the majority of graduates choose after college or high school, but I deeply encourage you to look elsewhere if you feel that longing. 

Find people that are living your dream life and study the heck out of them!

I religiously follow photographers who travel the world shooting weddings and travel bloggers who quit their corporate jobs to follow their dreams. These are the people that have the life I envision for myself. They have the bravery and the dedication to choose the life that they want. They inspire me and make me realize that real happiness comes from creating your life instead of settling for it. 


4. You realize just how little you need to be truly happy. 

I’ve experienced both kinds of travelling: boujee hotels with excessive luggage, and cheap hostels with only a carry on. I can confidently tell you that while one isn’t any better than the other, I always end up needing way less than what I bring with me. 

It’s drilled in our minds that ownership and consumerism is the way to happiness.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of retail therapy every now and again, but materialism only provides a temporary sense of happiness.

I’ve learned that I can wear the same exact black jumpsuit day in and day out, and nobody thinks twice. As long as I’m laughing, sharing memories with new friends, watching sunsets, and eating amazing food, I feel a happiness so deep I think my heart would smile back at me if it could.


5. You’ll find beauty in the small things.

I’m not sure about you, but there’s absolutely nothing in the world that makes me happier than watching the sunset. The best part? Well actually there’s two. First, it’s free. Second, it happens every single day. It’s something so small but so magical that it sends chills up my spine until it reaches my mouth and bursts out into a cheesy smile. 

Travelling shows you how magical the world is and how much beauty you can see if you look with your eyes wide open.

Sometimes I’ve been so jet-lagged that a good cup of coffee is the best thing in the entire world, or I’ve been scared walking alone at night and a stranger’s smile puts me back at ease.


There’s so much beauty to be found in the smallest moments.

Sometimes the world can seem like it’s against you, and its during times like this that I encourage you to reacquaint yourself with the small things, because it’s in these moments that you realize the fragility and beauty of your life. 

Don’t let fear stand between you and your dreams. If you want to travel like I did after graduation, the only thing that stand between you and that dream is yourself. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. 

Remember, everything you want is on the other side of fear. 

I believe in you, 

You can follow Ria's photography journey on instagram: @Ria.Georgia