People I meet on my travels always bashfully make an effort to find out what fancy shmancy job I’ve acquired that allows me to travel so much. This is a fair question. As someone who has tried to find out the secret of the nomadic lifestyle and those whom travel blog for a living, I have had the same question. Unfortunately, the answer I hear is always the same, “Anyone can do it!”
Can everyone simply quit work and dedicate their lives to moving from country to country? Does it not take a special place of privilege in order to acquire this level of freedom and access to the world? I refuse to be another big mouth who states that you can do it or anyone can do it and you should just ditch work and do it. Because you probably can’t. I know I can’t. Not yet, at least. So, how do I blog from Europe one day, post on Instagram from Africa the next day, and fly to North America in time for breakfast?
Following a search for “travel blogger” and “how to travel for a career”, I found that nearly every article deemed this lifestyle very possible, no matter what your circumstances may be. There are people who will say that there are no excuses, that every person is capable of living this way. I doth protest such claims!
I present to you the 100% truthful and real answer to this question of the ages. From my experience, of course. I am able to travel so much because…drum roll, please… I have a lot of financial assistance from my family!
Who else is stunned, shocked, and aghast? No one?
That’s the facts, though. I work and study and do my part in this world, but I am able to save up my pennies because of the lovely people whom birthed me and work hard to help me out. I am able to save half of my money for the future and half of it for travel. Work a little, spend a little, save a little.
While I am sure you have now thought of 10,000 words to describe me and you’ve judged me, hated me, and contemplated the universe without people like me, I am well aware of why you dislike me. Trust me, I dislike me, too. We are on the same team. Often I feel shame and embarrassment. Oh – not because of the money thing, I’m just a mess. Remember that time in high school? I’ll save that story for another time.
I am exposing the man behind the curtain because you may now see that the smiling photo covers up a truth. You should not feel as if you are wasting your life and your time; as if you’re missing out on something better. The secret is, most world travelers I’ve met don’t know how to adjust to the normal life. They struggle to fit in or put the pieces together, so they ran away. They hide from the path most people must take.
NOTE: I speak in a very general sense. Many travelers work hard and have families and struggle as much as any other individual. These people are not spoiled, lazy, or outcasts. These people contribute to society in a grand way and I am grateful to them for sharing the world with the rest of us. This is not me, though. This is not everyone. I’ll even say, this is not most people.
Because of this, I feel it is very important to use my travels not only for myself, but also for the benefit of others. I aim to use stories and photos to share my experiences with those who are unable to travel. I also use this time to learn, volunteer, and give to others. In return, I have received so much more from my experiences than I could ever give back; the kindness of others is overwhelming at times.
It is difficult to write on this topic without sounding naive or idealistic. To put it in very 2017 terms, I am full of “white privilege”, with a heaping side of “millennial syndrome”.
I have held off on writing this for some time out of fear and self-doubt. Out of discomfort and this aforementioned shame. It is a weight with which I constantly battle. I know, WOE IS ME! But the question remains – do I stop traveling and following my passion? I suppose I could take on a 9 to 5 job and dream of weekends full of stress-related boozing. Maybe I’m just ignoring a plausible option of balancing life, work, and travel. Maybe I’m just lazy.
Of course, suggesting that you find yourself in a situation of financial dependence is not advice. It is not helpful or meaningful wisdom. As a matter of fact, if the option arises, I strongly advise you to fight the urge to accept. Rather, what I suggest is that you and I learn to take in the wonders of what we have readily available. Flying to the Middle East may not be an option for you. A week in Asia may not be so feasible. However, this does not mean that the fun must end. For me, New York City is in the palm of my hands. Otherwise, I can see the Grand Canyon or bike around Portland or dance in the rains of Seattle.
Adventure does not ever die, it transforms. It can look like an attractive stranger in a cafe or an unfamiliar language. It can be an unwritten poem or jogging for 10 more minutes than last time. Trying a new restaurant or simply taking the long way home. The moment we submit to “boredom”, we have given up an opportunity for something new and interesting. Often, those are the greatest experiences. They force us to open up and see life in a new way. No day need be uneventful if one starts the day with the intention of accepting whatever comes along.
So, how do I find adventure and see the world each and every day? Remember, time is never insignificant. Every day is the final step until the next one. There is joy and opportunity in a much-needed nap or dancing in the aisles of the supermarket. Listening to a stranger’s story without looking to impress them or change their mind, without waiting to share a tidbit about yourself. Sometimes it’s about allowing a moment to pass in silence or skipping that next shot of whiskey so you can witness the night through clear eyes. Accepting your own reality and embracing it is as good as any hike, photograph, or voyage. The mind is an incredible tool, use it to your advantage and the world is yours!
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