I am absolutely loving my trip so far. I’ve met interesting people taking fascinating journeys of their own, and I’ve met wonderful locals working to make their own communities more sustainable, or more artsy, or more welcoming. And yet there is always this voice in the back of my mind, wondering, am I doing the right thing by taking this trip?

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Whenever I'm on the road, it feels like the right thing to be doing

The first voice of objection from the back of my mind cites responsibility as a reason not to be travelling. Surely, I should be settling down and becoming a responsible adult with a house, a car, and a full-time job. While I am off galavanting around the world, other, more mature individuals are building lives for themselves at home. They contribute to the economy, raise children, and keep the wheels of industry rolling while I traipse off to other countries, neglecting my community at home. Don’t I owe something to the country that gave me a home, an education, and medical care when I’ve been sick? Shouldn’t I be repaying that investment in me through my own labours?

Also, insists this voice in my head, travelling is such a self-centred pursuit. Mature adults put aside their childish dreams of wasting their days pleasing only themselves. Hard work at a career is the hallmark of maturity. Children play all day, teenage fantasies revolve around exciting careers leading them far from home, but adulthood requires setting aside that youthful selfish dream and buckling down to work. Lord only knows what kind of moral degenerate I’ll become, going wherever I like on a whim, working on projects for short periods of time before moving on to more exciting pastures.

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This sunset is lovely, yes, but there might be a nicer one over the next hill

And besides, when I finally grow up and tire of this extravagantly selfish lifestyle, what opportunities will I have open to me? With an outdated education, no career record or references, and a history of wandering off every few years, what job could I hope to find? What self-respecting employer would hire me? By insisting on following this dream of travel, I might doom myself to struggling on the brink of poverty in the future.

What of a family, a home, and a loving partner? I’m not getting any younger, you know. If I want children, I should really be looking for a husband. I can’t just expect to find the love of my life on the street – I need to go out and meet people. If I persist in wandering the world, not staying in one place, I’m going to end up lonely, single, and childless, wishing I hadn’t let opportunity pass me by when the time was right.

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Kids are pretty cute, so I might regret not having any if I let the chance pass me by

So says the voice in the back of my head, the voice of doubt and self-criticism. The rest of me, the active, conscious part of my brain that is positive, generous, friendly, outgoing, and in its own opinion much more reasonable, believes those doubts are unfounded. Growing up doesn’t have to mean giving up on your dreams. I’m not off on some purely hedonistic adventure, but rather a journey to learn more about the world and help others while doing so. I can always use my travel stories as a basis for a career in writing. If that doesn’t pan out, a multilingual woman well-versed in a variety of cultures, with a master’s of education and who reads and writes extensively will surely have skills to grace organizations in almost any industry. As for my love life, I know a number of people at home with solid careers, who go out on dates all the time, who still haven’t found a long-term partner. If I want to meet someone who shares my passion for travel, languages, culture, sustainability, and food, travelling might be the best way to find him. And if he never happens along, at least I didn’t waste the time I spent waiting for him.

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This is what I say to the cynical voice in the back of my head

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