Dear Traveller, how do you explain your wanderlust?
Have you ever heard any of these questions from the people back home while you were travelling or before you set off on an adventure?
- Don’t you ever want to settle down, get married and start a family?
- How many times do you have to go and find yourself?
- When will you get a serious job?
- Explain what you are doing with your life?
Have you ever heard any of these questions? Of course you have.
And I always struggle to find the right words to answer these questions…
See, when you are in your early twenties it’s easy to shrug your shoulders, laugh it off and utter things like “gap year”. People accept this answer, because everyone’s a little bit confused at that age. A gap year at that age is an encouraged activity – it’s a time to experiment, explore and to find yourself. It’s okay. But you are in for a surprise if you think you can get away with that answer a few years down the road…the older you get the more you have to explain your wanderlust.
Those questions which were asked out of curiosity a few years ago are now served with something other than genuine interest. You pick up on a different vibe, a different tone.
How do you explain your wanderlust? How do you put into words the uncontrollable desire to never stop exploring? What do you say to people who don’t get it?
Getting asked one of those questions in one of those tones saddens me. It’s so easy to judge, it’s so easy to put someone in your little box of what he or she should be like. And it goes both ways.
But from a traveller’s point of view I actually want to say that…
It saddens me that a steady job, a house, a fancy car, a spouse and children are seen as the benchmark of success.
It saddens me that “settling down” can’t be seen as something that you can do while living the nomadic lifestyle.
It saddens me that “finding yourself” is known as a once in a lifetime event.
It saddens me that constantly changing, evolving and meeting yourself on different levels are not encouraged and that we don’t allow each other the space and time to do so.
It saddens me that there is this notion that you only get one “that’s it” or one new beginning.
It saddens me that starting over, moving from one country to another, hopping from this job to that job are seen as signs of a midlife crisis (even when you’re still young).
It saddens me that there is so much pressure to perform.
So how do we answer those questions…
Do we shrug our shoulders and laugh it off? Do we get into heated arguments defending the not knowing of where we’re going?
Or do we handle the situation with an attitude of carpe diem? An attitude to make the most of the moment. An attitude to ignore the condescending tones in the questions. An attitude to not hide behind the smile but to truthfully proclaim – not defend – the wanderlust within.
“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.” ~Tony Robbins