“Travel is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.'”
– Lisa St. Aubin de Teran
Are travel and commitment incompatible?
Years ago, a friend told me:
“You try to do too much. You need to focus.”
At the time, I was taking Arabic classes, while studying Portuguese on my own, and listening to Pimsleur CDs for basic Russian.
He said I would never get anything done if I kept jumping from task to task.
He made the comment in passing, but it stuck with me.
For a while, I was psychoanalyzing myself. I found that my “flighty” behavior extended beyond languages. It was in the way I did my homework, my terror at the idea of having a “career”, and of course, my constant need to travel.
When I wasn’t traveling, I was thinking about traveling, and to this day, I find myself most at peace when I’m alone, away from home.
But while for the longest time, to me, my constant urge to explore was just a part of who I was, suddenly, I saw how it could be seen as a negative trait.
Flirting is great. It’s fun, but no one wants to marry the flirt.
And there’s a reason for that. There’s no obvious stability- no commitment.
Which brings us to the things that have kept me up at night.
Travel and the Career:
I wonder if someday, I’ll look back and regret not diving in and building a foundation for myself immediately after college.
Sometimes, I sit and think:
“While your friends are off building careers, you’re doing what? Satisfying your wanderlust? What’s your endgame?“
Truth is, I don’t have one. I’ve said it a million times before: I’m not a planner.
But I am a researcher.
And on top of that, I have this fundamental belief that no matter what- no matter how many curve balls life throws at you, or how many twists and turns you take while trying to find your way, what is meant to be will be.
So why not enjoy the ride?
Travel is my research.
Every time I go somewhere, whether near or far, I learn something about myself, something about others, or something about the world.
So, I’m not sure when I’ll want to settle down and start my career, but whenever I do, I’ll hopefully be bringing with me a wealth of knowledge well beyond what university taught me.
And while we’re on the subject of “settling down”…
Travel and Love
There’s this idea that if a woman wants to have a career, she’d better start on it early because though there has been some shift over time, traditionally, women have faced this pressure to “settle down”.
To find a man and “settle down”.
To “settle down” and have kids.
I’ve always hated how young men are encouraged to go forth and “sow their wild oats”, and experience all that life has to offer. Meanwhile, young women are bombarded with reminders about “biological clocks” and how easy it is to wake up one day as your neighborhood crazy cat lady.
I’ve always shrugged that stuff off, but recently, in talking to some of my older, single female friends and relatives about love, one thing they’ve been telling me is to be open to opportunities.
They tell me that when they were my age, they put love on the back burner, and now that they’ve built a life for themselves, it’s hard to let a man into the picture.
But honestly, at this point, I don’t even know where a man would fit in.
Love is nothing without sacrifice.
That’s something I believe wholeheartedly. But right now, I’m not willing to sacrifice.
I learned the true meaning of the phrase “What the devil meant for bad, God meant for good” over the past 10 months.
I had what I thought was love, and it almost broke me.
But those experiences proved to be crucial factors in me having the opportunities I finally have today. Now that I have them, I’m not at all keen on the idea of giving them up for anyone.
Whether I’ll regret being self-centered at this stage of my life remains to be seen, but like I said before, what’s mean to be will be.
If I’m meant to be a crazy cat lady, bring on the felines!
After all this, I’ll say I am focused.
Maybe not on the things other people think I should be focused on, but I’m focused on the things that matter to me.
I’m focused on nurturing this flighty, crazy, adventurous side of me.
Whether I’ll be showing this blog and all the pictures from my travels to my coworkers in some big corporate office, my husband and kids, or to my 16 Persian and Siamese cats remains to be seen.
Regardless, what is meant to be will be.