When announcing my plan to embark on a year of full time travel in 2014, I recently wrote in my first Ebook that I was
“leaving for all the right reasons, and leaving all the wrong ones behind”.
This was something I felt needed to be said, given that the response I most commonly incurred was that I was “running away” from something, anything, or perhaps even everything. For the record, I am. I’m running away from everything the ‘real world’ emphasises as ‘normality’ and creating my own. I’m launching myself into something I have always wanted to do – explore the world indefinitely, without a time frame, and without an expiry date. I’m becoming a global citizen and my home is everywhere.
However I certainly cannot agree with many people’s opinion that I am somehow “lost” because I have chosen to do so.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so sure of anything in my life.
But what am I sure of?
I’m sure that this is the right thing for me, sure that this is the right time, and absolutely sure that whenever it is that I do decide to settle and call one place home that I will do so, and not be too proud to call an end to my travels.
Prior to announcing my 2014 ‘year of adventure’ that doesn’t necessarily have an expiry date, many and most people I encounter view my decision to travel as a good one. They view travel as a valuable asset, a way to grow as a person, and a way to appreciate and understand the world around us.
Yet when I made the announcement to my family and friends that I would be travelling indefinitely having just completed my University Degree, almost all of their reactions were negative… or apprehensive at best.
Why is there such a stigma surrounding long-term travel that people view it as somehow less valuable than short stints abroad? Why do people immediately conclude that my decision to travel for a long period is me somehow voicing that I am “lost”?
I’ve just finished my University Degree…
Having slaved away over law text books for 2.5 years, I decided I didn’t want to practice law at the completion of my degree, as it wasn’t for me. With that in mind, I decided to complete my degree in International Relations (I was studying a double degree) and finish university this year so that I could start travelling full time as soon as I had finished my degree.
If I had it my way, I wouldn’t have completed university at all… but I’m also kind of glad that my parents encouraged me to do so, as I feel I have a minor accomplishment under my belt before I go off and travel the world full time.
But when I made the announcement to friends and family that I would not be applying for a full time graduate position at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or starting my career as a budding journalist, they were baffled to hear my plans to travel the world for at least a year.
Their common concern was that I was somehow “lost”, “unsure”, or lacking a sense of direction.
Truth be told, I have never been quite as sure and certain of anything in my life!
…But I’m too creative for a 9-5
Instead of working a 9-5 job that pays my bills and keeps me tied down to my mundane office job for the next 50 years, I’m going to be out there seeing the world and soaking it up while I can. I won’t be tied down to a job, lifestyle, or idea of reality, but I will be creating my own. I have a clear sense of direction – I want to travel, explore, and experience as much as I can. But that doesn’t necessarily in search of anything, least of all myself.
Many of us get lulled into thinking there is a specific ‘order’ to life. Society reinforces that we should be educated, work our asses off, save our asses off, and if there’s anything left at the end of it we can enjoy our life’s work in retirement.
How on earth did we get here?
How did we end up deciding we aren’t allowed to enjoy ourselves until we have somehow earned it?
But what is stopping us from changing this trend?
Nothing but ourselves and others around us who reinforce this as what is acceptable.
So before you go ahead and question why someone enjoys their life as they live it, consider the fact that not all those who wander are lost.
If this post resonates with you, you might enjoy The World of Wanderlust Story, a book about my journey from travelling for enjoyment to beginning a career as a travel blogger and enthusiast. The book is priced at just $14.99, with a portion going directly to my chosen charity, Destiny Rescue.