People ask me about my job and what I do with my time. I try to explain, although usually don’t fully, that I work part of the year and travel the rest, especially since my writing allows me to be anywhere with WiFi. After graduating from college, I didn’t get the office job that many of my classmates found. Instead, I used my graduation money to go traveling. After that, I was hooked, ready to find a way to keep up the momentum, to continue traveling indefinitely. I’ve done so more or less for the past five years, but not without sacrifices.
You May Need to Live at Home
I travel between one and three weeks out of every month for the majority of the year. This means it would be financially irresponsible, not to mention wasteful, of me to pay rent for my own apartment. Sometimes I feel guilty about this, especially when people point out that I’m letting my parents pay for most of my meals and not paying rent there. But then I remember that it was their support and hospitality that allowed me to visit five countries and seven states in the last year. Living at home is the trade off of the travel lifestyle, one I’m happy to take, especially as I’m close with my family. I couldn’t have made it through my foot surgery if I didn’t have my family to take care of me!
You’ll Resist Acquiring More “Things”
Most of my belongings required for a place of my own, like the furniture and kitchenware, are tidily boxed into the basement. I can name every item of clothing I own and there are no boxes of winter clothes stored in the attic. If it doesn’t fit into my drawers or closet, I don’t need it. Every time I get something new, I get rid of something else. I’m a constant purger due to my years of traveling. If I don’t use something on the road, I immediately get rid of it unless it has sentimental value. This can be a fault when it comes time for a special occasion and I wear the same black dress to every single one. And my work clothes consist of something I call “business casual sweat pants.”
You Can’t Stop Starting Stories With “When I Lived in Australia…”
I’m sure most of my friends and family are sick of hearing stories like this. It probably makes me sound pretentious, but in my head, I’m making a connection to whatever is happening with something I’ve experienced already. I assume everyone wants to hear about the time I came face to face with a mother kangaroo in a national park in South Australia or the time I rode an overnight bus in Turkey where strangers offered me food and told me when to get back on the bus. But sometimes, people just want to talk about normal things like the weather or sports teams.
You’ll Be Able to Deal with Almost Anything
Rolling with the punches is the best quality traveling has given me. I wasn’t low key back in my early days on the road. I was a particularly picky eater, subsisting mostly on french fries and cheese. And while there are some things I won’t eat now, due to still being picky and health reasons, I can always find something to eat on a menu. I can also sleep almost anywhere, whether it’s in a swag in the outback, on an overnight bus or in a dirty hotel room. Delayed flights, missing reservations, sketchy accommodations and language barriers are nothing more than an obstacle to overcome.
You Don’t Know How to Behave in Social Situations
This one may just be me and my social awkwardness, but I haven’t gone on a date in at least three years. I find that my travel accomplishments intimidate some people, especially if they haven’t traveled much. Or maybe it’s because I don’t mind being alone. I eat alone at restaurants without shame, despite some uncomfortable dining encounters with strangers. I can keep myself entertained easily, especially when it comes to wandering a new city alone.
You’ll Do Almost Anything to Keep Traveling
Washing dishes, babysitting, selling vital organs are just a few things you might be willing to do to keep traveling long term (minus that last one). I’ve worked restaurant jobs I loathed for crappy tips, sold my belongings on Craigslist, wrapped Christmas gifts at a department store, sewed labels on jerseys, ran errands for a law firm and worked as a substitute teacher (although this one is fun!) all in the name of travel. The end goal is another trip, so I can compartmentalize the tasks in front of me most of the time.