I was proud and excited to see them on the brink of this new adventure. Two young millennials, their backpacks over-stuffed with dreams, and what they might need in this year to come. Departing from Den Haag, that long-distance bus trip would deliver them to their new destination. Slovenia, a small country bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, promises to offer them much of what they sought. Its small gem of a capital, Ljubljana, is nestled in a picturesque, mountainous landscape, an ideal city for two kindred spirits who love a historical setting and the great outdoors.
Our eldest son and his girlfriend are living their dream as mobile young millennials. Empowered by education rather than financial resources, they embody the growing trend of young people who work virtually, unbound from a physical location – enabling a home, based on a lifestyle. They are amongst the fortunate ones who by virtue of their translatable skills, and passports, are free to set the parameters of this next phase in their lives.
Apparently, the term ‘millennial’ can carry negative connotations, often suggesting a generation that is dissolute, entitled, perhaps under-achieving. Yet I know many who in their dreaming (and even rejection of conformity), endeavour to take the path less trodden, less predictable.
Hoping to find fulfilment and happiness in a different way than their parents perhaps, there is a strong sense that millennials crave greater meaning in their work and strive for creativity and more mobile, dynamic career paths. Perhaps a challenge to location and convention– different cities, even countries, and rejecting the notion of a job for life. It’s more building a portfolio of experiences.
Luke and Trixie are doing just that. Having already wandered some of the world with curiosity and cultural sensitivity, I’ve seen their progress these past few months as they mapped their next step. They’ve chased virtual jobs as editors and script consultants. They analysed the cost of living in European countries and which would facilitate their passion for climbing and camping. Where could they hope for ‘a year of fulfilment’ – Slovenia was the answer.
Their new chapter is underway and I admit, part of me is just that little bit envious. A new country, an unknown city to discover, how wonderful! And how fitting is it? Just as we have returned home to Canada (for now at least), we’ve waved these two off to begin their own adventure. Are we passing the baton? I’m not entirely surprised that one of our children might wander along a global path… if only for a while.
As I write this musing from a café in Vancouver’s hip Kitsilano area, just a few blocks from the ocean, I can’t help but notice the millennials in my midst. I overhear a Skype chat, “Are we launching in Paris and Munich at the same time?” a multilingual young man in a t-shirt and shorts asks a colleague.
Others work intently on their laptops, proof of the flexibility the digital age has afforded them, to all of us. I savour the atmosphere.
A text message flashes on my screen and I’m thrilled to see it’s from Luke, “Here safe and sound. Ljubljana checks out, just as charming as the internet led us to believe!”
That year of fulfilment has begun!
Luke and Trixie’s adventures can be followed at… https://www.howlblog.ca