I have met many well travelled blithering idiots.
The kind that think your life is worth much less if you didn’t move to America for a summer, travel the Asias with a caboodle of college buddies. If you didn’t enlighten yourself mid train ride across Western Europe, country by country growing ever wiser. The kind of folk that did will remind you with an insightful quote under a picture of their arse on a beach in Australia that Life is a book, and if you don’t travel, you read only one chapter. And to be honest, that’s simply untrue.
Your currency is not worth less if you are happy where you are, or unhappy where you are right now but can’t yet manage to get out of there. Screw the pressure to fuck off to Canada for a year. The pressure to go far, for a long time. The pressure to prove to nobody in particular that you are moving around, doing something exciting, living. The pressure that makes you feel boring for just going on a city-break or down the country for a night. That pressure is what makes us say or believe or think things like To travel is to live. If that is true, I feel very concerned for humanity; both the people who do not travel, but especially those who do and believe that they are not truly living unless they are lepping around from one place to another. What do they do with the rest of their time? Surely to Christopher they can’t be hibernating except for the odd break to sift through their agglomeration of pics in beautiful dresses with their feet kissing the shore line, sandals in hand looking off to the distance, to choose one and to post to instagram Me looking for my next trip like.
It’s not that I believe you shouldn’t travel either. Or that’s not important or that it’s not a part of life. I just mean that it’s not the be all and end all of it and you don’t have to be doing it right now. Maybe the same way our parents and their parents got wrapped up in marriage and kids at a young age, we are getting wrapped up in the opposite; go away, do your thing, travel, escape. And do it while you’re young. Or else… Just as they felt the urge to settle down, we feel the urge to pack up. Recently my cousin told me she was met with shock when she told her colleagues that this year she’d be spending a week in Lisbon with a girl friend, and that actually, for a sharp minute, she felt a twinge of defeat. You’re always off on a big adventure, they not somewhat applauded but mostly backhandedly pitied her. The trooper who once road tripped around the West Coast of America, now stripped of her daredevilry in the name of one trip to somewhere just hot, just to relax. Even though she’s done all that, and I do reckon people do it so they can say they’ve done all that, Portugal is low in the travel-worth food chain. It’s below somewhere less touristy and more hard to pronounce like Ptuj in Slovenia, but definitely above London which barely even counts since it’s across the pond.
The point is that often the pressure to do something like completely uproot yourself, spend a summer in dilapidated huts dotted across a continent or go get pissed under the sun for a week after schools out, is often more charged than the actual desire to do it.It’s the right of passage-y-ness of it all that we get wound up in, rather than asking ourselves
“What do I really wanna do?”
I beg you not to place your worth on the tally of cities you’ve scored off, on whether or not you’ve lived abroad by the time you’re 30, or if you’ve got a snap of yourself facing the Eiffel Tower, head turned as if to say all nonchalant C’est ma vie. You have time, go for it when you can, at whatever point in time suits you, and most importantly, if you want to. Often finding yourself has more to do with staying put, rather than running off.