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.

19 Responses

  1. I’m exactly where you are. After years of weekend travel, I did what I’d always wanted to – buy a house, get engaged and start planning a family. While I sometimes long to be on a plane, I wouldn’t change the trajectory!!

  2. Petra says:

    Hello dear. You should consider yourself fortunate that you are not traveling. I have found that traveling brings

    a woeful triangle of three H’s: hurt feet, heartache, and hatred.

    The first two are obvious, of course. Your feet will hurt something awful after walking trying to find an

    Applebees in Port Au Prince (there isn’t one!)… Your heart will ache when you begin an illicit love affair with

    a Portuguese longshoreman named Fabrizio only to realize that the passionate 3 hours you spent in the liquor

    stockroom of the Carnival Cruise will be the last time you ever see him…

    Figuring out the third, hatred, might get you to scratching your head. I’m talkin about a very specific kind of

    hatred: the kind an ederly woman feels for a close friend she’s known all of her life. Traveling seems to bring

    that out in people.

    Do you know who I’m talking about? Of course you do. Kitty Mildred also known as: wheezy crybaby.

    Let’s see… I retired after 44 years of working for Mr. Cooper on the switchboard at AT&T and I wanted to follow

    my dream of taking a relaxing trip to Juárez, Mexico. My newphew, Robert, told me that young men prey on old

    ladies down there so he told me to take along my friend Kitty because she is the loudest shouter on the block.

    That woman hollers from breakfast time to supper almost every day.

    Truth be told, I would have liked to be preyed on by a bandito just so I could see the lock on his face when

    Kitty opens up that yap of hers!

    Well we arrive at the Club Med and first thing Kitty, that rusty old dirigible, does is drop her bag on my foot. I’ve been dealing with the rhumatoid for years and so that’s the last thing I needed!

    Unfortunately then we find out that there are no beaches in Juarez, but that’s fine because there is plenty of sand so we put on our two-pieces and head down to the desert.

    Our tans are coming along great when some nice boys in army fatigues drive up in their trucks. Kitty starts to hyperventilate as the men pile out and tell us that they are with the Zapatista people’s army. That’s nice, I say, and begin talking to a wonderful bearded boy named Bobbly (or something!).

    Well things are going quite well (despite Kitty still wheezing up dust) when they ask if we would like to go back to the Club Med to smoke some marihuana. Now before you judge me keep in mind that my husband was a legendary Jazz muscician (Rusty “Toots” MacAdoo) so I am quite familiar with this!

    We get back to the hotel room and Kitty is now actin’ a damn fool. She’s hoopin and hollerin about some nonsense. Bobbly has taken quite a shine to me, but every time we begin to get more comfortable Kitty starts wheeing and wailing more! I tell her to cut it out, but she won’t.

    Well dear, to make a long story short, nothing ever happened with Bobbly. Just when I thought he was going to kiss my cheek kitty starts with her noises again. Bobbly has a look of frustration on his face and he finally says “Senora, I cannot get ‘rectile.”

    So much for my trip.

    I want you to know that i hate kitty now and that’s why you shouldnt travel with friends!

  3. Valerie says:

    I’m a big fan of the “what it really looks like” path, in life and on each travel adventure. With an open mind, and an open heart to new people, you’ll find that you’re where you should be. Who cares where you thought you were going!

  4. Hey! I recently came across your blog and I’m loving it! 50 countries in 6 continents, well, that’s some resume!!
    Regardless, I guess inner peace is one thing most look for through travel. And, if you have reached the stage of liking to stay put, even for some time, you might have reached closer to that. Hail master Yoda! 😀

  5. You are going through totally the opposite situation to me right now. I’m majorly craving stability in my life, but the universe or whatever keeps throwing travel opportunities at me.

    I know I’m really lucky and shouldn’t complain. But while I do want to travel and enjoy my very flexible lifestyle, there’s another part of me that wants exactly what you have – a job I like, a relationship, and certainty about where I’m going to live!

    • I guess we kind of have to just take what the universe is throwing at us? Sounds like you’re crazy busy with Let’s Go!, and I hope you’re enjoying it despite how overwhelming it seems. We have the rest of our lives for stability, so I guess you might as well try to embrace the craziness now!

  6. Courtney says:

    I think it’s so, SO great that you are content with where you are! Traveling can be a passion without necessarily being a lifestyle, and I think that finding balance and what works best for you is the best way to enjoy those global adventures. Just because Buzzfeed says you have to “travel while you’re young” doesn’t mean that being on the road all the time is the path to happiness for everyone. Someday, maybe sooner than later, I’d love to have all of the things you have right now!

    • Thanks, Courtney! So true that it can be a passion without being a lifestyle – and I’ve already had it as my lifestyle for a while and perhaps will one day go back to that, but this is nice for now (no matter what Buzzfeed says :P).

  7. …It’s awesome how you’ve reached that stage of contentment in your life!!…I, too, wish to be at that point eventually, but I have a “30 By 30” dream–that is, I wanna see 30 foreign countries by the time I’m 30, and so far, I’m at 4–needless to say, I have quite a long ways to go!!…

    But, even when I’m settled, I don’t think that wanderlusting spirit will ever die, :-)…

  8. Kirstie, I think a true fact of life is that life changes when you least expect it, and as a result your priorities change, and it is important to be OK with that.

    As a travel blogger it is very easy to get ‘sucked in’ to the idea that to be an ideal travel blogger that you need to be on the road full time ‘living the dream’. And for many people they have a good time doing this. But then you start to see posts from them about being ‘lonely on the road’ or being exhausted from moving every week or month. And having been a travel blogger you also know that you are only hearing the positive side of the story – it is amazing how people only rarely speak about the negative side of travel!

    In my case I have a travel blog but I am actually happy to not be a ‘full time traveller’ – at this stage of my life I am enjoying providing stability for my children as they grow up and setting up our finances so that we can have a great lifestyle into the future and not always have to worry about where the next income is coming from. And also trying to weave the essence of travel into our lives through periodic trips and many local day trips to explore the local area.

    You have made a choice to seek stability for a while which is great, so don’t be led into someone else’s false dreams or vision of what you should be seeking – it is your life and your decision not theirs… So own it, enjoy it and all the best!

  9. With your visa, I would be holding off travel for a bit too. Well, I still don’t have a job here, so that’s the main thing holding me back from doing any type of traveling at all, even to the next beach over! Hopefully we can cross paths in Australia at some point!

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