“Cop a good look at the paradise island screensaver on your computer, walk right up to your boss, quit your job, and hop on the next flight to anywhere. And everywhere. Right now. You have to do this right now otherwise you are wasting your life,” – said every travel blog ever (okay, not every travel blog, but a large majority).
Trust me. I have read my fair share of blogs and sites inspiring people to travel; encouraging them to give up their jobs immediately to hit the road indefinitely. Because, ultimately, that is the best way to live and any other form of existing is not worthy of anyone’s time.
Am I right?
Of course not. I’ve seen far too many full-time travellers belittling others and looking down on people who work 9-5 or who are – god forbid – tied to a specific location. I remember seeing one comment somewhere that read something like this: “Suckers who work 9-5”. I have a number of problems with this statement.
Firstly, if no one was working a 9-5 job there would be no one to buy groceries from, no one to buy tickets to the Eiffel Tower from, no one to help you out with insurance, phones, internet, etc. You get my drift. Someone has to do it so show some respect.
Secondly, why assume that these people are “suckers”? Are people who work in 9-5 jobs destined to hate their lives? Are they not allowed to enjoy their job? I know plenty of people in this situation who love their job, even the – god forbid – inflexible hours. Just because working in an office or for someone else isn’t for you, doesn’t mean that it’s not for everyone. The world would be a boring place if everyone wanted the same thing.
I completely agree that if you want to go and travel, then go do it! Even if it’s for a week, a month, a year, or ten years, if it’s what you want to do then go out there and blimmin’ well do it!
Because that’s what it’s about, really. Choice and doing what you want. It’s taking control of your life. I understand that this is what the majority of full-time travellers are trying to say with their often-preachy prose, but it doesn’t always have to boil down to packing your bags pronto.
Sure, travel is nice (great/brilliant/fantastic); you learn a lot, you’ll probably have some of the best experiences of your life, you’ll no doubt change as a person (hopefully for the better), but it’s not always the answer. For many people, dropping everything and hitting the road will only cause them more unhappiness than if they were to stick around in their “cubicle” job. The answer usually can’t be found on the other side of the world, and you’ll most likely run into the same problems and unhappinesses wherever you are. Firstly, we need to realise that travel is not for everyone and should not be imposed on everyone like gospel.
What’s it All About then if Travel Isn’t the Answer?
Doing what you want and what you are passionate about is for everyone, though. This is something that everyone should strive for. If that involves travel in some capacity, or becoming location independent then so be it, but if it doesn’t then don’t feel like it should.
You make the decisions for yourself.
Only you know what makes you happy. Some travel blogger or full-time wanderer definitely doesn’t. Don’t head out to the jungle in Malaysia if you really want to be lying on a beach in Greece just because you think this is what you should be doing. Whatever you choose, if it’s not the right thing for you, you’re going to have a bad time. Of course there’s always the chance that you might be pleasantly surprised, but you will probably just be wishing that you were laying on that beach in Greece.
And there is nothing – I repeat, nothing – wrong with that. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Especially someone you have never met except vicariously through their mushy-positive posts about that wonderful time they ate sheep heads in the arse-end of nowhere with a local family.
Because that’s another thing. As humans, we generally only remember the good parts of something, pushing the negative aspects and things we would rather forget to the back of our mind. So, when you see someone gushing about the backstreets of India or the local markets in Madagascar, you are not hearing the whole story.
I might be generalising here, but I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to be happy all of the time (unless you’re a skittle-eating teletubby). Everyone questions their life at some point. At many points, in fact. It’s just what we do. There are going to be dull bits when travelling. Bits we don’t like; things we don’t want to do. Just like when working in a location-specific job. Because, let’s face it, there’s not a one-fits-all answer. All you can do is what is best for you, whether that is packing up your things and heading out into the big wide world, or staying at home surrounded by people you love with a job you (hopefully) enjoy. You make the choice, no one else.
And there is no wrong answer.