To buy, or not to buy
So you might be thinking, this is an odd title for a travel blog, and even more so from a guy who gave up his old life and everything that came with it, to put on a backpack, and travel.
Well, the devil is in the details, this is a post about why you shouldn’t travel, not me.
I have often found myself shaking my head when an advert comes on telly selling something you need to make you happy. Buy this telly and it’ll change your life, use this face cream and you’ll look 10 years younger, take this pill and never again worry about your performance, take out a home loan with us and you too can live in a splendid house with an adoring wife and adorable kids, ad infinitum (or nauseam).
I have for years maintained the idea that TV adverts and shows, radio, posters, movies, songs and people, are always trying to sell us things which will supposedly make our lives better. I have always tut tutted the notion that a product could manage to do such a thing. Then I had an epiphany, actually I have had a few epiphanies, albeit all related to the same subject. The first is that I, and many other travel bloggers and travel non-bloggers, are guilty of the very same thing.
Mostly I think it is an unintentional outcome of talking about the thing which has become our passion.You can’t help, when passionate about something, but to be vocal and/or emphatic on the subject, and most travelers I have met or read, are passionate about their lifestyles. Unintentional or not, I realize that we are telling people that if they throw away all their shit, save their money and hit the road, they will be happy, and this is just not the truth.
It ain’t always a bed of roses
Travelling long term. is for most, not all sugar and honey. There are times when all you want is your own bed, a big TV, and the familiarity of home. Getting sick is never fun on the road, and cultures other than your own can sometimes be more difficult to deal with than fun to embrace. Carrying a backpack full of desperately-in-need-of-a-wash clothes, bus queues, airport waits, rip off taxi drivers, dirty and noisy bedrooms, hit and miss meals and a dozen other little issues can wear you down and make you miss the simple pleasures of home. Then of course, aside from a lucky few, you sooner or later have to think about making an income, and although probably not a 9-5 affair, work can still be taxing when your relying on random internet connections, plug outlets and trying to deal with a client from halfway across the world!
It’s not all bad though! The things I mention above are not constants, and in some cases actually make the adventure that much more adventurous. There are a thousand reasons I have mentioned before as to why traveling is amazing and worthwhile. The main one for me being the freedom to do the things I want, and more importantly, when I want. Travel for me represents freedom, aside from the other cool stuff, it is the ability to live the life I want, which makes this so satisfying for me. There-in lies the point of this post.
Travel is what I want from life, out of all the things I can imagine myself doing and having, travel is the most rewarding of the lot, for me.
It may not, and probably is not, the thing which will make you happy. No different from the TV’s and face creams, travel will only give you fulfillment if you are doing it because you want to, not because it seems to be making someone else happy.
This is the hard part, sorting the muck from the good bits.
You see, I have realized that although the advertised life and products of day to day living do not make me happy (not all of them anyway), there is no reason they couldn’t make you happy, and even give you more satisfaction than traveling the world might. As long as you can seperate yourself from the influence of the worlds advertisers, and from people like me in every facet of life, as long as you can dig down deep and figure out what it is that will truly make you happy.
You might find that the big screen TV’s,
“Visibly smoother skin in 10 minutes or your money back”,
A career in the corporate world,
Caring for those who can’t help themselves (very proud of you Taunee),
Or making your home a beautiful place and watching the kids you brought up find their way in life, are enough.
And not only enough, but exactly what you, unique and individual you, need to be happy. At the end of the day, it is not the telly or the travel, it is not the creams and cars. It is pushing aside our evolutionary desire to have the same or more than others, and exercising the freedom to have and do, whatever the hell we want.