They say a picture paints a thousand words. The picture above paints a thousand feelings for me. It captures that complete euphoria, that energy, that life I feel when I travel and explore. This one photo says it all for me. Standing way up high above a beautiful old European city as the sun casts its colorful evening glow across the skyline. There is a slight breeze as I look out at the fantastic nearly 360 degree view below me. Standing atop an abandoned castle wall, exploring and laughing with two friends I met earlier that day, I open my arms out wide to take it all in.
Freedom. Joy. Fulfillment. Joie de vivre. This photo captures it all for me.
I recently moved to L.A. and started working at a “real job.” I’m honestly really grateful for this opportunity because I get to work with a really great team of people and I’m enjoying the city so far, but I’ve felt like something is missing. Nothing in my life sparks that level of joy for me anymore. I know, complaining about the monotony of the 9-5 lifestyle is nothing new, but it is currently my reality, and it is a reality I’m struggling to understand. I’ve lightly whined to a few individuals here in the city, about the structure or the lack of vacation days in the U.S., and most of them respond by complaining about all of the things they haven’t been able to do in the past due to their job (trips they wanted to take, for example). What’s strange to me is that rather than be sad about the fact that this is the way things are and then do something about it, they presented it to me more matter-of-factly. As if it is just something we have to get used to.
I was on the phone for a long time with my bank the other day and we started chatting about life, interests, travel. I mentioned my post-grad backpacking trip. The customer service rep. responded by preaching to the choir about how great it is to travel, especially at “that time in your life.” I agreed, thinking to myself that traveling is great for you at any time in your life but letting it go. Then he absolutely broke my heart with an off-handed, “It’s just something you have to get out of your system.”
I was speechless. Seeing as he was just a man trying to help me with my bank account I didn’t berate him for hours for his sheltered ignorance. I know, that’s a little harsh. I upset easily about these things, but a friend kindly suggested that some people just haven’t had the opportunity to travel the way we have, so perhaps he just doesn’t know the true value. Okay, fine, so I won’t take it out on him. But where can I direct my frustrations?
Traveling is not “just something you have to get out of your system.” I implore you to see it differently. It is a uniquely transformative experience that should be a constant presence in your life. Not just when you’re young or financially stable or when you “have the time,” but always.
You should discover new places, learn new things, and understand other cultures and what makes them tick. You’ll be surprised by what you will learn, both about the world we live in, and also about yourself.
A global nomad with a passion for adventure and learning.
I am desperate to recapture that feeling you see in the photo above. I’m not willing to accept that getting a job and having a “stable” life means giving up the things that make me feel alive. F stability. Excuse my French, but I want to support myself AND squeeze in a little adventure. Why can’t we do both?
I’m still working on what that looks like. I’m worried the only answer is magically becoming a famous travel blogger or Instagram star overnight and I haven’t managed to track down my Fairy Godmother about that yet. Will keep you posted.