If I told you the story of how I finished my college degree, you’d think I was completely insane.

Each week, I would travel from Malaga to Salzburg (two flights and a three-hour train ride), just so I could make my 90-minute Sociology class. I needed to do it to graduate, because my professor refused my request to watch my seminar and hand in my homework online.

I spent more than €10,000 on hotels and travel alone that year, and as I look back I’m unsure how (or WHY) I did it. Because if I could go back to when I was 18 — knowing what I know now — I would never (ever!) go to college in the first place.

College is right for some (if you want to be a doctor or lawyer), but for most people it’s a waste of:

  • Time.
  • Money.
  • Your Sanity!

 

Especially if you live in a country like the USA where you’ll rack up HUGE amounts of student debt (on average $40,000).

So wake up.

Stop listening to your parents, and stop believing in an outdated system. We live in a completely new era and a new age of progress and imagination.

I mean, look at me

I’m one of the world’s leading Snapchat Strategists, but can you imagine the response if I told my lecturers this was my plan back in college?

They would have told me to join the “real world”, but that’s the point … This new “real world” is anything you want it to be.

 

The New Formula For Success

This is how it works today…

  • Take an interest in something (like I did with Snapchat) …
  • Learn everything you can about it …
  • Build a brand either on or central to this interest …
  • Become an expert and authority figure!

 

In short…  Fall in love, become obsessed, and become the best.

If I could wake up tomorrow as an 18-year-old, I would NOT go to college. Because at college I wouldn’t be able to do any of this (and would likely not figure out what I love in the first place).

So this is what I would do instead of going to college …

 

Step 1 is Always to Travel

To begin with, I would take a year off to travel the world straight after high school.

I would go to countries I was curious about, and stay for 1-2 months in each.

  • Low (zero) budget — just enough for the first flight and a few days in a hostel
  • No long-term plan or itinerary for my travels …
  • No finding a “standard job” or thinking about what my career could be …

 

Photo by: Marco Cavarischi / Instagram: @cavarischi

In each new city, I would go to events (using meetup.com and eventbrite) and join local Facebook and LinkedIn communities. I would get out there and meet new people EVERY single day, and experience the culture.

And then, through one of my new contacts, I would find a job that aligned with something that interested me:

  • No waiting tables …
  • No temp job …
  • No catering or bar work (unless any of this is your passion) …

 

Aim high!

Challenge yourself!

Strive for your dream job!

 

Year One is all About Exploring (The World and Yourself)

This is how I would spend my first year. I wouldn’t worry about creating a business or making a lot of money, or achieve anything other than exploring new cultures and exploring myself.

This time is all about figuring out what you are:

  • Good at.
  • Passionate about.
  • Can help people with.

 

Ideally, you find a mentor (or several) during this time, so you can learn from them and fast-track your growth. But the main goal of this first year is to test new things and see what works.

After a year (maybe more, maybe less), I would settle down somewhere I loved, and that had a thriving community of entrepreneurs.

Photo by: Marco Cavarischi / Instagram: @cavarischi

I would then follow that process:

  • Take an interest in something …
  • Learn everything you can about it …
  • Build a brand either on or central to this interest …
  • Become an expert and authority figure!

 

I’d build a business around this and see what happens. During that first year of travel, you will learn more and meet more people than you ever would at college.

Will this business become “the” business that you build a life around? Maybe… maybe not.

But you’ll make more money than you would at your part-time college job, and you won’t get into $40,000 of debt doing it.

 

How To Join a Community of Global Entrepreneurs

Here’s the truth… just because you travel the world for a year and meet some amazing people doesn’t mean you’ll have it all “figured out”.

You still have a lot to learn, and the reality is that business is hard!

And honestly, the best thing I have EVER done (and something I wish I had done a lot sooner) is surround myself with other entrepreneurs building nomadic businesses.

I didn’t know communities like this even existed, but if you combine your travels with one or more of the following, you will upgrade your business and life in a HUGE way:

 

1: NomadLife

Not just a coworking community, but a co-living community in Costa Rica that allows you live life alongside fellow nomadic business owners looking to change the world.

 

2: Hubud

Like NomadLife, Hubud offers both coworking and co-living experiences, only this time in the beautiful country of Bali (one of my favourite places in the world).

 

3: Dojo Bali

Dojo Bali also offers co-living and coworking options in Bali, as well as a growing community (both online and in the real world) full of people living their dream.

 

4: Roam

So far we’ve focused on parts of the world where your money can go a long way, but if you want to remain at the heart of some of the West’s most thriving cities, Roam offers what you need.

 

5: Mindvalley

This is the only university you’ll ever need, but in my opinion, it’s events like A-Fest that set Mindvalley apart. I’ve been to A-Fest a few times, and the people you meet (and the community you are part of) is truly life-changing.

 

6: Coworker

Finally, if you want to keep up your global travels but still surround yourself with awesome people, Coworker connects you to coworking spaces in 142 different countries.

 

Like I say, I wish I had joined global communities like this sooner. I wouldn’t have built the success I have without them, and I have met some of my favourite people on the planet through them.

If I could go back in time, I would skip college and do this instead.

You might want to do the same. If so, this is how you do it… and if you’d like to learn more and keep up with my own travels, follow me on Instagram (and don’t forget to say hello).Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Virginia Salas Kastilio is the founder of “Gini.TV”, a disruptive media firm that helps businesses build influence and online awareness and CMO of Socrates Coin. A “third culture kid” who went to over a dozen different schools and managed over a billion dollars at Apple and Oracle without a degree, Virginia decided to start from scratch and build an online following. She has been named the #1 female snapchat business influencer in the world and the hired gun behind organizations like the BBC, NASDAQ, Universal Studios and other.