From a very young age, we have all been formatted to think that travel can only be consumed a few weeks a year. All throughout our school years from the moment, we start to the moment we finish university or college we got half terms breaks, term holidays, summer holidays, Christmas holidays etc. So naturally, we utilize them as much as possible to go on holiday or take a break from our 9-5 / normal life. The same applies once we go into the working world, in the UK we get 4 weeks a year to take a break from your work and go on holiday.
Four weeks a year. Until you retire. That’s over 920 days for the rest of your life – this is something that doesn’t resonate well with me!
WHO is to say this has to be the case? WHO exactly? Your boss? Your principal? Your teacher? Your parents? No, only you can tell yourself what to do – it is your life not theirs after all!
This is not something I have always felt but recently I have been pondering over how we are all programmed to live this way and it has started to bother me! It certainly wasn’t something I thought about when I was younger.
I haven’t always wanted to travel.
That maybe a strange statement coming from a person who loves to now travel and is always planning her next trip. As child I was quite content, I was happy, I came from a small town (well, people would describe it as small, I still consider it to be quite large!) a beautiful town – There was a point in my teenage years that I thought I would live there forever, why would I want to leave? We have the best beaches in the world!
Then came the internet, I would ‘Ask Jeeves’ everything! (remember that!) Photos of these stunning worlds appear as if it was another world but it wasn’t, it was our world. And seeing these photos of people living there ‘normal’ made me want to experience their normal! I wanted to see it I needed to get out of my bubble and see it!
Skip to 18 years of age and – I choose to study tourism at university. It felt like a natural subject to study since my home town’s whole infrastructure was tourism based. Plus the naivety and the childish side of my youth led me to think if I got a degree in tourism I could travel and see new places! Let’s just call that 18-year-old logic – right?!
You don’t need a qualification to travel you just need to have an open mind and willingness to break out of your normal.
I spent my younger years spending all the money I had going on holiday to new places seeing new cultures and in-between all this going back to university attending a few classes a week or work as it later became. After my short adventures away, I was back to sitting at a computer googling the next new adventure.
Then one day I thought why does it have to be this way? Why do I have to work for a few months and save up for the next trip that lasts less than 5 – 14 days? Because it is the society’s norm? Because that is all the time off university or work you can take? I am not a robot to society, I don’t have a switch in the back of my head – I can do as I please!
So with my boyfriend, we made the leap – we were off to travel. My boyfriend’s family was from New Zealand so we thought we would travel through South East Asia into NZ, we traveled on the move for six months. I was the best six months of my life.
It was at that point that I felt like I didn’t need to follow the path of society when it comes to travel.
Since then we have traveled to over 24 countries together and never let work, an employer or money get in the way of us traveling. I certainly have learned more traveling than the 16 years I spent studying and I also know we are very fortunate to be able to continue to travel like we do.
There is a slight stigma when you tell people you are a traveler. They question why you don’t have a normal job, a house, a routine all I can think is that they haven’t experienced this way of life yet – it just like anything though you could tell someone over and over again that it is incredible to jump out of a plane, however until they have experienced it for themselves they just don’t understand what it feels like.
Vagabonding is the answer.
I recently came across a book called Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, I had heard the term vagabonding before but not really put much thought into what it means but as I was reading the book I felt this overwhelming sense it was describing the life that my and Isaac have and are creating for ourselves.
Vagabonding is all about taking time out of your normal life to travel on a long-term basis. The travel doesn’t have to be long, 4 weeks, 6 weeks to 4 months would suffice. The traveler doesn’t even need to live like a nomad, they can have a home that they use as their base when they are not traveling – sounds slightly normal doesn’t it?!
Rolf’s book is all about preaching a different mindset, a mindset that has all been installed in us from the moment we were born without even realizing it and when you realize there are ways around this you do start to think differently.
Vagabonding isn’t a means of living like a nomad permanently it is working towards a goal of being able to go away to travel as and when you feel like it.
So, our goal in life is still to have the house, the job, the norm but to actually create our own freedoms, so we are not refrained to just 4 weeks a year to travel – after all, I simply ask you, isn’t life way too short for that?!