I would wholeheartedly agree with the concepts of: 1) Not having to plan that far in advance; 2) "What would you do if you didn't have to worry about money?"; and 3) Stop reading so much "advice"! While the concept of "living on the streets" also has its merits, I would suggest that if this is the route you choose to pursue, that you beg, borrow, and/or steal to make your way to Europe as, if you're going to be a "bum", you may as well practice your lifestyle while also enjoying a "change of scene".
Talk about "going back in time", if I knew when I was your age what I know now, I would have likely never gone to college. As it is, I have 30+ years experience, a Bachelor's and Master's degree, and am nearly reaching my 3rd anniversary of being unemployed. I have applied for over 500 jobs with no success other than an occasional interview. Consequently, if I had "it all over to do again", (after and/or if I returned from Europe), I would have pursued some sort of technical trade such as welding. As it is nearly 2011, there are many two-year programs the completion of which will provide you the ability to become employed with fiber optics companies, cable companies, phone companies, etc. Sure, you likely won't live the life of "white shirts, ties, and a room full of attorneys", but you're not missing anything! Plus, there is the potential to make a decent living and have decent health benefits. Lastly, depending on your "vocation", membership in a union will hopefully provide you a pension in 30 years.
Lastly, if you do wish to attend a university, perhaps "sitting out a year" and taking the standard classes such as English, etc. at a smaller school is an option. If this is the route you chose, you would have to be disciplined enough to take some classes simply to keep your brain active. It is just a "fact of life" that everyone believes they should attend college immediately after they graduate from high school. However, in my case, as well as with almost everyone I know, most people are too immature to attend college when they’re 18!
There is nothing wrong with learning a trade. But I think the key thing here is that everyone needs to be motivated to do something to earn a living. I'm sorry that you have been unemployed so long but you did learn to do something and you did work for 30+ years presumably earning a living.