So When Are You Going to Grow Out of Travelling?
When are you going to get bored of travelling? Don’t you ever want to settle down? Do you think you’ll grow out of all of this?
These questions, among others, have all been thrown my way in the last year. More often than not they come from friends or family and most are asked with the best of intentions. Nevertheless it becomes frustrating answering them; justifying responses as if trying to explain away a heinous crime. The crime committed is simply one of not quite fitting in with the perceived norm. I thought I would answer these questions here, as much for myself as for the questioners. I don’t want to sound grumpy or angry about these questions though, they are questions that I actually ask myself sometimes. Do I think I will always want to be ‘on the road’? Will there be a place I fall in love with and suddenly get that sense of settling down that others have? What will happen when we get older and haven’t got the money saved for our old age that people who have stuck to a safer career path will have? These are some of my own inner battles, but I tend to come up with these answers every time:
1. I feel at my most settled when I am somewhere new. I think I am wired to be that way; fortunately so is my husband. I find out so much more about what home means when I have a new experience of what home means to others. Southend, Essex, UK will always be our hometown but ‘Home’ can be found anywhere and everywhere you let a place become part of you. When we touch down in a new place Steve and I get that buzz that can only come from new discoveries and it doesn’t take long for me to miss that again.
2. I suspect deep down some of the most ardent questioners secretly wish they were leading a small part of the life we have chosen for ourselves. Of course being location independent or location flexible is not a choice for everyone and that is just as well – our hospitals and schools would suffer a lot! There are definitely some people who live vicarously through other’s dreams though and I never want to become one of those people. Life is too short for those kinds of regrets. It is not an easy journey this one, but it is one I love.
3. A pet peeve is people assuming that wanting to travel about equates to some kind of immaturity. Not choosing the 2.4 children-white-picket-fence life does not mean I still need to work through childhood issues (a very happy childhood thanks!), that I need to find a sense of purpose or that I lack the skills to be an adult. One thing that this privileged UK birthright has given me is the choice to be flexible, I am not gloating about that but for me travelling and learning about new people and places seems a natural response to my blessings. We are blessed to then be able to go out and bless others. I also get frustrated with how selfish society has become in the UK, I have grown so much through seeing the selfless ways others respond to their communities. We have so much to gain from other parts of the world. I am still growing and learning and hope to always feel like that. I also know people who have found that peace and that challenge in the UK without travelling….and that is very cool for them! We all have our own ways to move forward.
4. One of the hardest things about planning our September move to Sierra Leone is leaving behind family and friends that we love. This is truly difficult and something we do think about seriously. We also know that true friends will still be there for us, just as we will still be there for them.
We also live in an era of great communications technology so embrace that!
5. We are not judging others for not wanting to travel or experience other cultures. We simply ask that this goes both ways. As Christians we feel God calls people to live and love in all kinds of places. Some of us will contribute to that for our whole lives in one place and some of us were meant to travel about like birds free on the wind. So next time someone asks me why I travel I will reply ‘probably the same reason you stay’. We are all created differently. I for one am so glad this world is full of so many unique and beautiful people.
what’s so great about growing up anyway? Copyright to photo with http://www.lauracookphotography.net