I have the opportunity to launch my first startup in the Toronto/GTA area. I am confident in my idea and there is a ton of support for a startup like mine. However I am only 20 years old and still a little scared to put it all on the line. I also have the opportunity to travel to Australia for an exchange and I think it would be amazing. However the opportunity cost would be putting my startup on hold for the time being.
Does your startup absolutely require that you be in Toronto? Why not do both? Take the opportunity of the exchange and start working on your startup on the side (and be ready to get into it in full force when the exchange is finished).
I started a company when I was 18 and was traveling the world before I turned 21. I still travel now whenever I feel like, and it has not negatively impacted me in business. In fact, I think it has had a very positive effect as I've learned countless things about people and global markets.
Happy to discuss more over a call if you'd like.
Go to Australia.
You have your whole life to make money. Pick it up when you get back or find something else to do.
If you have to choose between one or the other I would travel now and build something later. You'll have more experience and meet new people while you are away. There's really no "right" answer here. You've stumbled upon microsm of life. If you truly value travel but this startup keeps you in one location then maybe it's a sign that it's not the best for you. As Jim Collins says "a once in a lifetime opportunity is fact, but not a reason".
Watch these videos (or read the transcripts). It may be hard to believe, but quite literally all the answers to all your questions are here! It's a mountain of gold: http://startupclass.samaltman.com