Why Am I Not Traveling the World? Oh, Right…

A little over a year ago, I shared a post called “Why AREN’T You Traveling the World?” Now that I’m more familiar with the world of travel blogs, I realize there are a million posts like it, encouraging readers to get up, get out, and see the world, because, well, they would be crazy not to, wouldn’t they? Love those posts or hate ’em, I wrote mine not so much with the intention to prove a life-altering point or to win new readers – at the end of the day, this blog was started primarily to keep a personal record of my life and to update far away family members on my goings on, and that post was nothing more than another outlet of self expression, a personal snapshot of the optimism I was feeling about life at the time.

Taking in Waikiki's sunset in Hawaii on the eve of flying to Sydney for the first time

Taking in Waikiki’s sunset in Hawaii on the eve of flying to Sydney for the first time

A few months ago, I was chatting with a friend back in the States, talking about how much I missed travel, when he, ever so wisely, replied simply with an excerpt from that same post. Stop trying to contradict me, me!

When I wrote that post, I had just returned from Spain, somewhat terrified I didn’t have my life planned out beyond the next few months, but also exhilarated at the prospect of giving Australia a try and seeing what happened from there, possibly working in Sydney for a few months, exploring Australia, New Zealand, and Asia thereafter, and then returning home to start a new life in San Francisco. But I had no set plans. Between jobs, free of debts, freshly out of a relationship, hungry for more after an exhilarating summer of travel, and with enough savings to get me almost everywhere I wanted, the world was mine to do with what I pleased.

I still stand by what I said (and, yes, I know there are  exceptions), that if you’re reading this, and if you want to travel badly enough, odds are you can find a way to do so. I promise. And I would recommend travel to everyone, although I’d be preaching to the choir explaining just how powerful it can be.

Plitvice, Croatia, in the summer between Spain and Australia

Plitvice, Croatia, in the summer between Spain and Australia

But, while I would still share the same advice to anyone, here I am a year later, suddenly weighed down by obligations. Obligations, you know, those things only adults have. I’m not an adult, right? I admire the adventurous backpacker type who can just pick up and leave with no idea where they’ll end up in a few weeks, but I’ve never been someone who could ever be content floating about without achieving something concrete or having ambitious plans on the horizon.

I came to Australia because I was ready to jump into my career beyond moonlighting in my field while working as a teacher, and I accomplished just that. In my twenty five years (mostly in the three years since I graduated from college), I’ve managed to see almost fifty countries in six continents and live on half of those continents while still building a solid résumé. I’m pretty darn content with what I’ve done so far.

But, suddenly, I realize I’m exactly the person I was talking to in that post, the person who keeps making excuses to stay put, and me of September 2013 wants to shout at me of November 2014, “Stop complaining you can’t travel! There’s nothing holding you back!”

Ain't nothin' that can stop us! (At Ireland's Cliffs of Moher with two of my best high school friends in 2009)

Ain’t nothin’ that can stop us! (At Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher with two of my best high school friends in 2009)

And it’s true, when it comes down to it, there is nothing holding me back. If I really wanted to, I could easily jump on a plane and tomorrow be in New Zealand for $155, Malaysia for $242, or India for $395.

But I don’t want to. A job I love, a fantastic relationship, and visa stipulations are some of the reasons I’m not on Skyscanner right now, hunting furiously for the next inexpensive flight to an exotic destination.

My passions haven’t changed – I still love nothing more than getting lost in a good travel blog, reminiscing about my favorite trips, and dreaming about the places I’ll visit next – but my priorities have. If my current life were suddenly ripped away from me, sure, I’d find immense comfort in the fact that I can go try something new, but I’d be devastated. I ache for travel, but, if you gave me a choice right now between my current life and a travel life, I’d stay put.

I still have a firm goal of eventually seeing more of the world, perhaps living short term in other countries, and eventually returning to the country I’m immensely proud to call home and to the family and friends I’m far too far away from now. The path to get there has been obfuscated by changes to the initial plan, but that’s all part of the process.

So, in the meanwhile, I’ll continue obsessively reading your travel blogs, fantasizing about my next big adventure, reflecting nostalgically on past travels, and planning my destined return to California, but I’ve finally realized that I’m content with where I am right now.

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