It’s easy to romanticize traveling as a whimsical experience that everyone and their puppy should experience and enjoy. I wish I could say this is true but the reality is sometimes, it’s just not feasible or honestly, not that desirable for many, many people.
Hey, that’s okay.
Reading travel blogs can be fun and a nice getaway for some workday day dreaming, but it can also make you feel like you’re missing out and have chosen a completely wrong path. It happens slowly and then all at once. One day you’re minding your own business, feeling great about your life, then bam! You read an article about a nomadic vagrant and suddenly you feel like a huge failure because you’re not eating unripened yak cheese in a hut on the side of a mountain in Mongolia.
Before I write any more on this blog, I want to be clear: My intention is not to make you feel like the travel life is better than the one you have. I’m not here to wave a pompous flag in your face. My hope is to inspire others in everyday life, whether that means travel or simply exploring your own backyard. At the very least, maybe my experiences will help others realize their goals and dreams (whatever they may be) are reachable.
I knew a girl once who studied abroad in Italy and ended up completely miserable. Even worse, she was miserable because she was told she should be having the time of her life and she simply wasn’t. Her reality was she was severely homesick and the whole living abroad thing just wasn’t her jam. She went home and is now living an awesome life and the world didn’t even explode. It happens, and there’s nothing wrong with you if you feel the same way.
Everyone explores the world their own way. Just because one person is enjoying a trip doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Just because I’m quitting my job to travel doesn’t mean this is the golden standard to which everyone should strive towards. If it’s not your thing, embrace that shit! Don’t be ashamed.
There are ways to be adventurous and curious without having to roam far from home. Maybe you’re more of a weekend traveler. Great! Maybe you like to max out your two weeks of vacation a year. Perfect! Maybe you want to live in a yurt in the middle of the mountains. Sweet! (Totally my dream, btw).
There are hundreds of thousands of ways to be awesome and impact the world. Maybe this blog will help get you abroad. Maybe it will help you go on a weekend road trip. Maybe it helps you find the confidence to eat in a restaurant alone. It’s all good.
When I tell people what I’m doing I hear this a lot: “I wish I could do that.” I don’t know, maybe that’s just something people say when they don’t know what else to say, like pretending to be interested in learning German or volunteering at a retirement home or running a marathon. “Yes, yes, sounds good. I’d like to think I’d enjoy doing that at some point in my life.”
It’s okay if you’re not into it and don't let other travelers bully you into thinking otherwise. Learn to ride a bike. Hike through the Appalachians. Go visit that friend who lives across the country you’ve been meaning to visit.
Expand your comfort zone in whatever context is appropriate for you and your life.
If you love your job and don’t want to quit, that’s awesome. Seriously, do you know how exceptional that is? If you’re part of the rare breed that gets to experience this but still have a bit of wanderlust, here are some ideas to maximize your situation.
Ask to work remotely. Seriously, this could work. If you’ve been at your job a while, your employer probably considers you an essential piece of the puzzle. Work it. They might be willing to keep you on board if you can keep up with the work remotely. Isn’t technology brilliant!?
Tell HR you’re interested in global opportunities. Many companies have global offices and if your does, don’t be shy in telling HR where your interests are. A lot of people would not consider relocating for a job so if you volunteer, you might be making their job easier.
- Look for a new job in the same industry in a new country. They exist, trust me. Look for international companies you’d like to work for and apply to their international positions.
- Ask if you can take a sabbatical. If you’re in serious need of a long, unpaid vacation, save your pennies, go, and then come back. It sounds fake but happens all the time.
- Maximize your vacation days! They are there for a reason so use them up. Pair them with national holidays for extended breaks. Don’t feel bad about using them all if you want to. If they didn’t want you to have them, they wouldn’t offer them to you.
Good luck my friends. May your horizons be forever expanding in whatever way you see fit.