Oh No. I Want To Travel.

My very first blog post on this site was a strongly worded declaration about how tired of travelling I was; how the act of moving around no longer held the same allure it once had. I am through, I effectively stated, with travel.

Someone should have been there to tell me to sleep on it before publishing. And, much like when you do heed this advice, I feel myself today reconsidering that statement as if I’ve woken up from a particularly long sleep.

When I wrote that I was essentially retiring from travel back at the end of October I really meant it. I had unexpectedly pulled out of the trip to India that we’d been planning since April of the same year and I had decided to come back to this village. It was about as anti – a – travel stance as I could have adopted.

So I’ve been wondering why, from nowhere, the desire to go has been creeping up on me for the last number of days. On Thursday last week I checked an international jobs board for the first time in months; I found myself reconsidering my decision to settle down and I questioned whether or not I am truly finished with movement in my life.

Though cuttingly black and white with the decisions of others, I torture myself with my indecision. There should probably be something in my blog bio about how much I want to have a house of my own and to build it from scratch in the middle of nowhere, preferably on an island (not Ireland), close to the beach. Yet when I am offered the chance to settle down I can’t imagine myself – as I am right now – being able, never mind contented, in doing just that.

From the beach in Fuerteventura, from my bed in Las Palmas, from the window in my shared home in England, during a street party in Barcelona, even watching the sun failing to rise as spectacularly as we had hoped it might over Chiang Mai, Thailand, I have always wondered what else there was in some other corner of the world.

This curiosity is dampened magnificently by my very millennial anxiety. I am approaching thirty- I should have a house and I should be thinking about children. More than feeling that I should be, I want to be. These are concerns that weigh on my mind because of their importance to me.

It can be hard for others to understand. With increasing frequency my friends have pushed a coaster or a serviette to me in a restaurant and told me to just write out what I want. I have responded with whatever narrative feels right at the time.

That’s it I think. There are two very different narratives that I feel my life could follow. I can settle and I can do it now. With that settling will come the stability of place that I do wish for and the money that I can save in order to free myself of needing to work as a full-time, burnt out teacher for the rest of my life. Settling for two years in order to make this a reality doesn’t seem like much a sacrifice.

Running alongside that is the very real possibility that in settling I will find myself in a similar situation to the past: where I thought that what I needed to feel comfortable was money. Following what I perceived as the “path to stability” lead me conversely to realise that I was so far removed from what the universe had meant for me that I barely managed to keep myself above water. For the first time in my life I knew myself to be deeply unhappy.

So I could do what I’ve been thinking about all day. I could tell my boyfriend I need some time for myself. Ours is a relationship blessed with the knowledge that in order to succeed the space for individual growth is essential. I could take myself off – more ready for it now than I have been in the past – and explore the world that I feel drawn to on my terms. My heart tells me that this is what would be good for me.

I live by the idea that past behaviour is the best predictor of future actions. But, using that as my reference, I am likely to run into regret no matter which path I take. If I pursue the settled path then, as before, I may realise that money and stability as we traditionally understand them don’t mean all that much to me. Likewise, if I go the way of the perpetual traveller there is a high chance of me craving all that I have turned away from.

It may be necessary to leave what I have thought before in the past. With life’s ability to change so rapidly perhaps the standard of living I should set myself is not to look too far into the future and to do only that which feels right, right now. If only I could be sure that in making a decision I wouldn’t be asking to be upset or let down.

When I was in school one of the questions that would regularly come up on the English paper was some version of:

How does x poet so successfully create vivid imagery in his work?

I remember once writing a full essay on how x poet hadn’t created any successful imagery in my opinion. The essay that I handed was a second copy – a corrected one – which followed the conventions for answering and it received an A. But I wonder readers about what might have happened had I handed in the unconventional essay which, though full of risk, was more passionate and answered the question as only I could have answered it.

After all, there is one grade higher than an A.

Advertisements

9 Comments

  1. You’ve brought up some interesting points in your travel versus settling down conundrum. My first question for you, does it have to be either or? i think you mentioned that you’re a teacher and teacher exchanges are available where you can swap a job and even your home with a teacher overseas and so you can have the responsible job and reliable income while experiencing another place and seeing it more from an inside perspective and getting to know the people rather that flying through.
    Another thing to consider is making sure you have enough financial security to survive. Many people are living a pay packet away from being homeless.
    My husband and I travelled a bit before we were married and I wish we’d met when we were younger and we could’ve travelled more together and had those shared memories together. Since our kids came on the scene, we haven’t travelled overseas but we’ve seen more of Australia and had more the experience of getting to know articular spots really well where we’ve stayed with family. It’s a different type of travel where you’re exploring the depths rather than seeing less of more.
    I think this all goes back to that saying life is what you make of it but I do think some level of financial responsibility is a necessary evil.
    I’ve also seen that it’s harder to meet someone after about 30 – 32. From what I’ve seen, your friends partner up and there aren’t the parties and other get togethers you had when you were younger to meet people. That was back in the days before online dating really took off but a few of my friends really did miss the boat and some met someone after it was too late to have kids and have gone through a difficult process accepting that and others are still single and I have no idea why.
    Marriage and kids doesn’t come on a platter and it isn’t an easy road either but I do believe the being part of a family and at least having a chance that you look out for each other and the capacity to pour your love into someone else. It is amazing and should never be belittled.
    I turn 50 later in the year and I am desperate to travel myself. Indeed, I want to go to Ireland, which I think is where you’re from. I have Irish heritage and I’d really like to see the place.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful (and helpful) comment Rowena. I know what you’re saying – does it really have to be such a black and white choice and it doesn’t I suppose. I could – I’ve looked – at some 6 months teaching schemes in places like Vietnam or China but I guess (and I’ll post later about this) that going somewhere to work won’t fulfil the desire I have to try a path of true exploration. I also know that as a teacher I never have any time to really get to know a country. And, to be honest, I’d fallen out of love with the profession. It seems like settling – if you know what I mean. Why not go all in, is the question I keep asking myself.

      What you say about financial responsibility and the realities of partnership and family life are similar to how I feel too. I know that an Instagram lifestyle of travelling and beautiful locations is both false and will not satisfy me in the way it might have when I was just turning 20 or 21. It’s just such a hard decision and as I said, I fear regret will follow me no matter which path I take or worse, that in taking no path I open myself up to not having lived at all – mistake or no mistakes.

      If you want to come to Ireland definitely come in the “summer”!! We had a great summer last year but I don’t think Ireland does itself justice in really poor weather conditions. Besides, Irish people are friendly anyway but when there’s a “heatwave” you will experience Irish hospitality like never before. Everyone is just delighted to see the sun haha! If you ever want any information about places to go or see in Ireland, feel free to ask 🙂 I hope you do get to travel, I really do.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks, Avriii. I could imagine a bit of Guiness going round in a heat wave. Most of my family comes from Cork including Cork City, Midleton and Mallow. I’m descended from an Irish famine orphan, Bridget Donovan, who had been an inmate of Midleton Workhouse and came out on the John Knox in 1850. I have researched her in quite a lot of detail and then started researching the other women she came out with as I was curious about the connections between them, which I haven’t been able to uncover in any great detail. There was a group though who went to work for the same employer and they were in a row boat heading for the theatre when it sank and about half of them drowned. That was my boat within a boat story and really highlighted the twists and turns of fate. Which boat are you on? What is your destiny?
        So, you’ll understand why I’m so keen to go to Ireland.
        Best wishes,
        Rowena

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is a fascinating story and sounds like it would make a great novel 🙂 Did you find it difficult to dig up the details? Our family home is a renovated old cottage, part of which dates back to the famine and there is even an old ghost story about the woman who lost two sons to emigration. So I can understand your interest. I really do understand why you’d like to come and I feel my previous comment about the weather was actually very superficial: when you’ve got such a purpose for coming here, weather won’t impact that whatsoever.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I spent about 9 months in Europe so I know about the weather and I’d idealy see Ireland in Summer in terms of seeing the place. However, if I was going for research, it wouldn’t make much difference and it’s so much cheaper to travel off peak. Where abouts do you live if you don’t mind me asking? Have you read Brendan Graham’s series of books? Here’s a link to his Wikipaedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendan_Graham
        Best wishes,
        Rowena

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks for the link! I didn’t recognise the name but when I clicked I immediately saw EUROVISION and knew I’d be on board with what he’d written (huge Eurovision fan here and unashamedly so). Our family house is literally in the middle of nowhere haha – we have a couple of neighbours and are about an hour or so away from Dublin via the motorway. 9 months in Europe sounds brilliant 🙂 by the way! Which countries were your favourites?

        Like

  2. I’m starting to feel like a creeper commenting on almost all of your posts but it is a bit uncanny how alike we are half a world away.
    I just posted a blog on Sunday about all the places I want to travel to but unfortunately do not have the money or time right now. I’ve been to quite a few places here in the US, and have visited several islands in the Bahamas, and finally made it to London a few months ago, but doing all of that leaves me wanting more.
    Also like you, I have anxiety, which magnifies anytime I travel, so that’s a big hurdle too.
    Unlike you, I do have a house and husband and dog and 2 jobs, so my flexibility isn’t as great as yours, but I also suspect you have a bit more flare for adventure considering you’ve actually lived in so many other places.
    I just turned 34 the other day and I’ve lived in the same general area my entire life – which isn’t unusual where I come from, but sometimes frustrating. I have a love/hate relationship with my hometown, but so far I’ve only found one other place where I feel like I could settle down. Sadly, that place is quite expensive and difficult to find a job in so …. for now it’s an occasional vacation spot.
    Here’s hoping we both can find a happy medium with laying down roots and satisfying our travel bug!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always love reading your comments so don’t worry and apart from uncanny (which it is!) its also brilliant that blogs allow all of us to feel less isolated in the things we want to achieve or fear missing out on. ALSO! I will definitely be reading the blog post you wrote – I bet I’ll be thinking that’s me! all the way through it too haha!

      To me it sounds like you are doing wonderfully. Having a house and feeling like you’ve found a place where you belong is one of the biggest hurdles in life, especially now when all there is on social media (I’m looking at you Instagram) are photos of other places that you instantly feel you could be attracted to. But I know what you mean -so much so – when you wonder about the life you could have elsewhere.

      I think that if you feel you’d like to travel and it is a feeling that won’t go away at all, you should try to make it happen. It is easier said than done I know, particularly when you have the commitments you do, but if it is what keeps coming into your heart perhaps it is an avenue you need to explore.

      What did you make of London? I only went once on a dance school trip when I was 14 and I don’t remember much of it at all!! I should probably give it another shot – it is only like right next door!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Parts of London were very cool – I loved all the historical things like Westminster Abbey and the Tower, and I liked St. James Park and seeing Buckingham Palace. Borough Market was cool too.
        Unfortunately I found the city hard to navigate and London moves at a MUCH faster pace than I’m used to (even faster than New York City lol). So my anxiety was pretty high most of the time we were there and it wasn’t very relaxing. But overall I’m glad we went. I’d probably go back to the city, maybe for just a day or two, then I’d like to see the English countryside, plus Ireland and Scotland.
        I wrote a bunch of blogs about our trip back in November if you want some details.
        Thanks again for reading and commenting!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s