Pretty much as soon as I got to Southeast Asia (and even a little bit before) I dove into the process of applying for jobs, interviewing, etc. While this makes sense, what doesn’t is how excited this made me. Some times, it would be the highlight of my day – planning for what happens next. Here I am, traveling in this amazing region of the world, and I’m eagerly anticipating being able to get back to work. What gives?
And then I realized that since May 2012, my life has been completely untethered. Ever since I moved the tassel from one side to the other after graduating grad school, I’ve been bouncing around from place to place. I spent a month at home; a month in Boston; four months in England; a month again at home; and now I’m in Southeast Asia, hitting up five countries before heading back to the U.S. Some people revel in that and the ability to go wherever the wind may take them. But frankly, it just makes me exhausted. Once I hit the sixth week, I started to gaze at my backpack and say softly, “I hate you.” I do not envy turtles, friends.
Don’t get me wrong – I love traveling, seeing new things, eating amazing foods, and basically fulfilling one of my long-held dreams. But I also could not be more excited about finally having an answer to someone asking, “So, where do you live? What do you do?” I want to be able to unpack my kitchen stuff and my beautiful mixer. I want to own furniture! I want to do all the stupid things you do when you have a fixed life, like work out more and join book clubs and go to happy hours. I want to establish friends and relationships in a place that I won’t be leaving in a couple of weeks/months.
So many people, especially long-term travelers and travel bloggers, worked long and hard in order to shed themselves of the so-called American dream. They saw their cubicle jobs and their mortgages as things that were holding them back, rather than fulfilling any actual desire in life. And so they planned massive round-the-world trips, sold their furniture and their houses and their cars, and live a life of nomadic grace while being (in my opinion) a little snobby about people who choose to go back to the “normal” life. How boring.
I knew I would go to a fixed life, that the life of being a nomad isn’t for me for many reasons. I also don’t see going to work for “the man” and actually having a real, live home as something that is holding me back, but rather something grounding me and helping me maintain sanity. It also helps that in most of my past jobs, I’ve had some fantastic coworkers and exciting projects that don’t make me completely hate what I do – and I can’t wait to get back to that.
And even though I’m going back to a so-called routine, I’m still anxiously aware that there won’t be anything routine about it. You guys, I’m going to be an adult. I have to figure out how to make friends, and handle retirement funds, and sort through how insurance works, and at one point probably file my own taxes. And this is so excitingly scary to me.
To steal a phrase from my old job, I’ve been spending the last year breaking out of the ordinary. That’s all well and good, but I think I’m ready for a little bit more ordinary in my life now.
Plus, I know this isn’t nearly the end of the K10 Travels. Who knows what’s next: USA roadtrip? Australia? The Balkans? All this and more, ready to be explored.
One thing that is DEFINITELY next: