The Curious Case of the Adventurer in the Home
Why does American society have the be the way that it is? Who says that we should have to stay put in one location our entire lives and live the conventional 9-5 life living for the two days we call the weekend only to turn around and live a carbon copy of the week we had before that…and the week before that… and the month before that… and year before that…and the decade before that?
Whose idea was it that we should spend our entire lives with a scripted plan of school, more school, taking out loans for additional school, taking out even more loans for some more school, getting a job, spending entire life paying for said school, getting married, buying a house (which we leave vacant for 90% of the day anyway), buying a “forever home” (which we continue to leave vacant 90% of the day), buying a nice car, popping out some kids, getting a dog, working 45-50 years, and then retiring when we might be too old or tired to do anything anyway?
Oh, but we get to have maybe two weeks off a year though! We get TWO WEEKS in an entire year to switch up life a little!
But wait a minute…did you know that a whopping 55% of Americans don’t even USE their two weeks of vacation in a year???
Did you also know that well over a quarter of Americans who are seriously sick won’t even TAKE a sick day from work??
Am I the ONLY ONE who sees something wrong with this set up??
On the other side of things, some people opt to be rebels and live life on the edge. They’ve already called bullsh*t on this system and have sold their houses, cars, and everything they have ever owned except for a backpack. They fled the country years ago and are working and traveling around the globe without a purpose or plan, and maybe, if they are lucky enough, are supporting themselves on their travel blogs alone! I have yet to master the secret of that.
So let me see if I’m understanding this correctly. I have one of two options here.
Option One…I could repeat the same day over and over again with essentially no break for 3/4 of my life all to make up for the fact I chose to go to school and get a good degree so that I could do just that.
Are you with me so far?
Option Two….if I choose to want more for myself in life and dare to want to experience the world, I have to throw away everything I have ever worked hard for, essentially start my life from the very beginning, worry my family and friends sick, and possibly still wind up completely broke or dead somewhere in an Armenian alley anyway? Woops! Better luck next time!
We Americans love to live a life of all or nothing. We are all active or a complete couch potato. We have 10 kids/dogs or none. We are on a diet or we are ridiculously NOT on a diet. We are “crazy” or “normal.” We are “partiers” or “old.” (Don’t get me started on this! Most of my friends have been trying to use this as an excuse for just about ANYTHING since we were 23).
We are grounded or we are not grounded….(or so they say)…
Think about that one.
Arizona Snowbowl at sunset. I drove all the way to the top of a ski resort by myself just to sit and watch one day after I was off work. I have never been more at peace than right at that second.
I chose to write a blog on this because there is no way I can be alone in my questioning of this insanity. I haven’t met many of me, but I am living proof that someone could possibly want both. I was born and raised by a loving family who sent me to only the best schools. I lived a relatively “normal” childhood (well…except for the fact I ate/ still eat sand, tried to “fly” over a tall flight of stairs, have been deathly afraid of a certain tree my entire life, almost had my toe cut off, and managed to get lost on my first day of first grade). What? You never did any of those things?? I got a college degree and a Master’s degree and now have a successful career as a speech-language pathologist. I got married at the “normal age” of 25. I also own a house and work full time. Hell! I even have a freaking white picket fence in my front yard. It’s true. Don’t judge me!
There are only a few things that I “messed up” in the book of rules. I don’t have 50 dogs, I have not had a single kid yet, and I work my speech therapy job remotely so I can travel. I also DO have a travel business with a blog and tours! I have a horribly old car which I am pretty sure is rusting out beneath the frame and just MIGHT collapse on me any day now. Two of my toenails are missing and two are dark purple (runner problems). I STILL eat sand and I am STILL afraid of a tree (There! It’s out!), I’m also 29 but I don’t feel old, I like to stay up late, I don’t take a SINGLE medication for one tiny thing (sadly, this is abnormal now), and I SOMETIMES (*gulp*) go out on weeknights!
Oh…and one more thing. I have a wander-loving and life-loving soul and I am trying to travel the world as much as my bank account and hole-infused suitcase will allow.
Traveling around the world doesn’t keep me from family, a certain orange tabby cat, and frantically attempting to send out (bathe in) Christmas cards for the first time in my entire life!
I gotta be honest. It is NOT easy living a “double life”, if you could call it that. People judge, they ask me questions that are hard to answer, and some of them dislike me because of my own life preferences. I’m totally OK with that though because that’s exactly it! It IS my life!
I am at the point where I try to live the best of both worlds. I was in a hostel in Phoenix last month and one dude actually said “Wow! you’re like old enough to be my teacher or something!” Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of people my age and MUCH older in hostels, so they are TOTALLY a viable option if you are on a budget like me! That guy just made me chuckle!
That’s another thing. I LIKE hostels. I PREFER them. Why, because I am 29, does it mean I don’t want to meet others and socialize?? Why does it mean I should want to be isolated need a softer bed and a little more space? Why do we allow AGE, of all things, decide what we should or should not like?
So for all of you who have been asking and are curious about my unorthodox lifestyle, here it is spelled out plain and simple:
I live in Cleveland, Ohio. My husband’s job is here. We travel together when he is able and sometimes I travel solo. I like both. I don’t think we should HAVE to choose one or the other. Yes! I am married and lucky enough to have a husband who supports me in my passions! I also still work full time. I was able to find a job doing what I went to school for, but remotely. If you don’t think you can do this in your career, you’d be surprised! Research it! If you can’t, another popular route is online teaching or writing and those are ALWAYS in demand! Sometimes I work from my house. Other times, I work on a lawn chair below cacti in the 104 degree heat!
And yes, I DO have expenses like most people. A lot of them actually! I’m pretty darn far from rich. People ask me how I “get lucky enough to be able to go so many places.” I will answer this one once and for all. I am not lucky by any means. In fact, I have been one of the most unlucky people I have ever known to date! I make it a priority to travel because that is what is important to me. There is a REASON I am worried my car might rust out. There is a REASON I have holes in my running clothes (OK and about every other thing I own too!). There is a REASON I’ve gotten use to not wearing make up ( plus, has anyone seen my “makeup bag?”). Those things are not me!
Remember these from my earlier blogs? THIS is more me
And this was a fact since birth!
So here is the moral of this story. Just because society says we must behave a certain way given a certain age or a certain time in our lives, doesn’t mean we have to. You CAN live a balanced life of BOTH adventure and stability without throwing your entire life away and starting over.
Would I like to travel more and for longer? I mean come on…is the sky blue and are my toenails purple??! Of COURSE! I’m still trying to figure that one out, though. Maybe that’s why I started this business and blog to begin with. I also DO eventually want to settle down and have kids (I know, I know, dad and aunt Marilyn!! No more holiday lectures!!). I like my cat. I like to cook food. I like my car (No, I REALLY like my car!). I like being married. I like having a bed to come home to when my 5am red eye flight gets in, and I like having a floor to dump 500 suitcases out onto without having to worry about cleaning up for a week….OK a month….OK sorry, Dan!
But be what you want and who you want. Don’t do things because you think you have no choice. You always have a choice. If you love the home life, good for you! If you would rather have a huge house and nice car, awesome! I will just come stay with you when I’m out your way! If you love dogs, great! But seriously…keep them away from my running paths!
Next stop…Australia and the 40 hour work week!!!
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