I’ve found myself in an interesting position. I have been extremely lucky has to have traveled a lot in my life thus far. In these travels I have met many people whose main goal in life is to keep traveling as long as possible, seeing as many places as possible. Everyone has their own way of going about this, be it just having wealth from luck of the draw, to working half the year, to nomadic online work, to taking out a loan. I’ve managed to travel because of a combination of working hard and receiving financial and emotional support from both my family and my friends.
So here I am now in New Zealand, working to fund another such travel season while also kind of traveling. Working in a foreign country seems like it should be like a holiday, but it’s really much more like just working. I admit that I am working in a very beautiful place, for which I am very glad. Work, however, remains work.
I digress. I have been looking toward my next travel goals, and I’ve been working under the pressure of kind of being a part of this “wanderlust” culture that comes along with being a privileged 22-40 year old person. I took on this notion that I have to see the whole world. That, since I’ve made it all the way to New Zealand, I SHOULD go to Australia, and then I SHOULD go to Thailand, and then I might as well go to India, and, well, I can’t miss out on Japan, so how am I going to fit that in? What about Ethiopia and Kenya? Do I have enough money to get the vaccinations I’ll need to go to those places? Will I have enough time before I have to make it back to the US for another work season? I HAVE TO SEE THE WORLD BEFORE I TURN 30 BECAUSE….
Because what? After I’m 30 my life is over? I certainly hope not. Goddess willing and whatnot.
My line of thinking was motivated by two true wishes: I wanted to go see Scott in Morocco, and Martina in Spain. All the other countries were places that I am certainly interested in, but don’t actually have a strong reason to go to at the moment. If I had unlimited time and money, of course I would meander my way across the globe. I’m not sure who wouldn’t given the proper availability of resources.
I, however, have a limited set of resources.
Remember that time I was in Hawaii, ironically not really enjoying “paradise”? I went to Hawaii because I thought “I SHOULD.” Not because I had any particularly strong desire to go to Hawaii. Did I get a lot out of it and was it still a good thing to do? Yes. Was it really necessary? No.
What I learned from my time in Hawaii is that, given my time and resources, what I SHOULD do is the thing I really WANT to do.
And so, come April I will be taking the long flight from New Zealand to Spain. I don’t need to social credit of having gone everywhere in the world. If I were to (Goddess forbid) die tomorrow, I would have already lived an insanely blessed life full of beautiful experiences of the earth. I want to deeply value all that I’ve seen and lived, not live for a checklist of places to go in order to earn some obscure, invisible millennial award for most travelled. What I need is to pursue my own truth, having faith that each step is the “right” one for me.
I salute all those pursuing their truths!
One response to “Letting Go of “Wanderlust” and Instead Just Being Grateful”
I have a friend who turned 50 the day after I turned 73. She was having this same type of reflection and I was feeling blessed that I had gotten to travel while young with children and good friends. Some of my best memories and earning experiences were seeing the world thru others eye. Friendship and family are memories that stay with you. Must also admit having health insurance and money for monthly bills looks even better with age when can no longer imagine working.