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On Living an Alternative Life

alternative life

So I said, “I don’t wanna be alone forever
But I can be tonight
I don’t wanna be alone forever
But I love gypsy life
I don’t wanna be alone forever
Maybe we can see the world together
I don’t wanna be alone forever
But I can be tonight, tonight”

One of the things about traveling frequently is how it affects your personal life. It’s not necessarily a downside, although it can be. Friends remark about the events you’ve missed. Dating can be next to impossible. Remarks of “it must be nice” or “do it while you can” are frequent. My life just doesn’t look the same as everyone else’s. I haven’t taken the path of going straight to work out of college and rising up the ranks until I settled down with a house and family.┬áSometimes I feel bad about it while other times I’m glad.

But traveling one of the few times in my life when I’m surrounded almost entirely by people who have the same priorities as me. No justifying my irresponsibility in the minds of some or fielding questions about what my nonexistent boyfriend or husband thinks. For the most part, anyways. When I’m traveling is when I can be my most authentic self. Everyone I meet is doing basically the same thing.

Back home, I feel like I’m constantly explaining myself. How I make money. Why I live with my parents. Why I’m not married (yes, I live in the Bible Belt). It’s a nontraditional path for someone pushing 30. Most of my close friends are married and most have kids. I have no problem with their choices and even relish my role as fun Aunt Caroline. But I couldn’t feel further from that life myself. That isn’t to say that something couldn’t change tomorrow. But as far as starting a family goes, I’m content being just me (and my dogs!) for now.

So what do the next few years of my life look like? I have no idea. I might head to New Zealand for once last working holiday. I might buy a trailer and road trip the US with my dog. I might buy a house in Atlanta and host Couchsurfers and Airbnb guests. I might even move into a cave and become a hermit. Or I might do none of the above. All I know is that my alternative or non-traditional life is my own to decide. I’m not ready to give up the gypsy life.

Further Reading

What do you think? Do you live an alternative life?

5 Responses to On Living an Alternative Life

  1. Ali April 14, 2017 at 10:23 am #

    Thanks for the link! I think you’re doing great, and it’s amazing to be able to set up your life in a way that works for you. It makes it that much easier to know that if you ever want something different, you CAN change things. It also gets easier and easier to deflect the pressures from everyone who thinks you should be “settling down” and doing more traditional things. I remember living in Atlanta and how almost all my friends were married by age 25, because that’s just how things went. My friends in NJ, where I lived until I was 15, didn’t get married until later. Different mindsets. BTW I love the New Zealand and trailer/road trip ideas!

  2. Phillip Wingrove April 14, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    Thank you for a great tweet! Always enjoy following your site. It’s nice to know that there are so many ‘normal’ people out there! I’m 35 and just finishing university, all be it, masters. Oxford! Hey, full colors! In the meantime I’ve has lots of any-job-is-a-good-job and traveled to 6 countries, and all over the United Kingdom. The most interesting people I’ve met on my travels were traveling all around the world. Still going to do that….Originally from South Africa, I cannot imagine if I had not left, and simply gone to university and started a career! Though I wish them all the best, I would never miss the world for anything. Marry? Relationship?…Not even on my mind….though looking forward to family one day. In mean time, Colorado looks nice place to settle in….perfect nice new nationality….Best,

  3. Rachel April 15, 2017 at 2:06 am #

    Oh Caroline, you get it. I’m from the Bible belt too, and it’s rough. I don’t WANT to get married or have a kid now, but at 28, almost all of my friends have one of those checked off. And yeah, I’m currently in New Zealand now – hey, gotta get that working holiday visa while you can! I’ve visited home (North Carolina) over the past year and just didn’t feel like it was time to settle yet. Now I’m working on freelancing and trying out this location independence thing. And thank goodness all the people I meet on the road don’t seem nearly as concerned about marriage…

  4. chewy April 19, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    I don’t live in the Bible Belt, but I have Asian parents, so my mom has been asking me when I’m going to find a guy and get married since I finished undergrad…So I can relate :-(

    I think people get so self conscious about what they themselves are doing, that they need to say something to feel ok. I just moved home to New York, and old friends I meet up with sometimes say “So you are done with your travels?”

    It’s not about being done or not. I get what you mean when you are traveling and all the other people who are also travelers have the same priorities! It’s exactly that difference between someone who would ask me that question and someone who would know better.

    • Caroline April 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

      Totally agree! My choices aren’t a judgment of anyone else’s.

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