Dear Older Generations—we’re sorry.
We know you wanted us to attend a 4-year college with honors, to become a doctor or a lawyer and to settle down with a family and kids.
We wanted to make you proud, but the truth is, we’re tired of the pressure to conform to society’s outdated standards. We don’t want to waste away in an office cubicle, and we don’t want to spend our lives paying off debt.
We want to make a difference. We want to contribute to something meaningful, and we want to live our lives in our own way.
We don’t run on a schedule—we are spontaneous, in tandem with life. We seize the moment, because we recognize the most precious resource is not the dollar, but time.
Instead of learning out of a textbook, we want to learn by experience. We question what we’ve been taught, because we know one perspective is only a fraction of the truth. We want to form our own opinions, and the only way we can do that is to see for ourselves…
Which is why we travel.
These words are echoed by a recent viral video from Global Degree, a Millennial-driven company on a mission to empower other Millennials to educate themselves by visiting every country in the world. Backed by Discovery Channel, World Nomads, and others, Global Degree has struck a chord with a rapidly growing community of hundreds of thousands of Millennial travelers.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, I spoke to Global Degree’s founder Michael Graziano, who is on a mission to be the youngest Canadian to visit all 193 countries, about his recent video, the unique vision behind Global Degree, and why the movement is inspiring millions of Millennials worldwide.
According to Graziano, his inspiration for the video, “A Message To Older Generations From Millennial Travelers”, which amassed 7M views in 10 days, came from a gap in communication he saw between the generations. He thought to himself, “Why don’t we write a letter to better understand the miscommunications about work, war, health, education, the idea of freedom, globalization.”
The central theme of the video is about Millennials’ desire to pave their own path and to gain skills, perspective, and insight through travel.
Graziano believes that travel is the access point to human understanding. Travel has been shown to stimulate new neural connections in the brain and to encourage feelings of empathy towards other cultures.
In addition, it has been linked to career breakthroughs for several Influential figures like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, who credit an extended trip to India for innovation and advancement in their businesses. Along with Jeff Bezos who says the inspiration for Amazon came to him during a 3,000-mile drive from NY to LA, during which he famously scribbled his business plan on a napkin.
The benefits of travel are virtually limitless. Especially for aiding Millennials in connecting with their purpose and starting social impact companies. Millennials are drawn to travel because it provides them the opportunity to discover their passions and to create more interconnectedness. For example, in experiencing impoverished regions up-close, many Millennials are awakening to the need to help these regions, and are taking action upon developing solutions.
Graziano’s video sets the stage for an open discussion between Millennials and older generations, which is long overdue. In understanding Millennials, Graziano says it’s essential to recognize their desire to complete work on their own time, in their own place. “Either way the work will be done on time,” he says. “Otherwise, you have the right to fire us.”
While work may look differently for Millennials, the common claim that we are lazy simply isn’t true. We may not understand the difference between working from an office or from a castle in Italy, where I am writing this to you, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get the job done.
Older generations, what do you wish Millennials understood about you?
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com