According to Deloitte’s 2019 Millennial Survey, millennials are the generation least likely to succumb to the traditional signals of becoming an adult, shunning things like home ownership to prioritise travel instead.
Social media is an inarguable reflection of the trend, with travel influencers on Instagram constantly inspiring young people to live the freedom lifestyle.
Childhood friends Madi Morgan and Renae Joiner, both 20, are fresh off the back of a five-month-long road trip across Australia, which was a bid to “live, before [they] have to be proper adults”.
“We knew that before we start buying houses, start having kids, this was the perfect time to just get away,” Renae told Hatch.
The pair spent 2018 working full-time to save up about $50,000 between them to pursue the nomadic lifestyle, with Madi working as a school Outdoor Education trainee and Renae enlisted in the Australian Defence Force.
It’s not uncommon for young people to be working for the sole purpose of funding their adventures, with a 2018 report revealing a whopping 43 per cent of millennials saying they intended to leave their current job within two years to travel.
This is a generational shift far removed from the baby boomers, the “grey nomads” who likely followed the long-established streamline of school, marriages, babies and a job for life, before packing their lives into a suitcase for retirement travel.
Gone are the days of relying on store-bought Lonely Planet guidebooks to inform us of travel hot spots and must -trys. In the digital age, travellers have endless information at their fingertips, with countless websites and social media profiles providing them with all they need to know about a favoured destination.
Madi and Renae’s Australia trek was inspired by accounts they follow on Instagram, which they used to “find places along the way”.
“We knew general areas we wanted to visit,” Madi said.
“But to find particular spots we’d look at hashtags or location tags. We really like @SaltyTravellers on Instagram, who travel around Australia quite often so we would look at places they’d been for inspo.”
The duo joins 87 per cent of other young travellers who cite social media as their main resource for travel inspiration, as well as adding to the multitude of accounts listed under “travel blog”, choosing to document their experiences on Facebook and Instagram.
Originally their online posts were to keep 250 of their family and friends in the loop, but Madi and Renae found that it was more than just those back home who were invested in their journey.
After cutting their trip short in Darwin due to car troubles, Madi said “it was nice to see [they] had a lot of support from people [they] didn’t know”.
“Whenever we had an issue with the Troopy (Toyota Troop Carrier) and posted about it on Instagram or whatever, someone was always more than willing to suggest a quick fix or mechanics nearby that could help us out.”
Renae was touched by the messages followers were sending.
“It really is like a little community on social media. There was so much empathy from people we didn’t even know, expressing how sorry they were and how much they enjoyed watching our trip.”
The 25,000 kilometre trip saw the pair swim at some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, attend the Camel Cup in Uluru and volunteer at the Alice Springs Finke Desert Race, an annual off-road motorsport event.
For many of their 1200-odd followers, the number one curiosity is how the girls managed to stay couped up together for so long without ruining their friendship, but Madi and Renae’s 15-year bond is as strong as ever, they say.
“I think if I went with anyone else it would’ve been a different story.” Madi said. “The trip tested our friendship but we came out good on the other side.”
The girls, whose past trips together include Vietnam, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, India and Nepal, plan to spend the next year working to replenish their travel funds before hitting the road again.
With aspirations to visit South America and Africa, traditional responsibilities are a long way away for these nomads.