Ever since I started travelling a lot more in college, I’ve had insane wanderlust. There’s something so magical about being immersed in a new culture, in total novelty. But, the downside is, it’s become a lot harder for me to not dream about a nomadic life.
Here’s how I see it.
Novelty. Total and complete novelty. I love being immersed in something completely foreign to me. There’s something so inspiring and awe-inducing about going somewhere for the first time. Because of this, I really think that travelling helps you get outside of your comfort zone and continuously forces you to practice expanding your mind. Different places have such different ways of living and seeing the world. I love learning about and experiencing this.
Language. I also am fascinated with languages. I would love to spend some time learning the language of whatever place I’m in. I’m super curious about how different languages may affect the way you think/see the world. Every place I’ve been so far has been such a unique experience.
Practical. I’m not going to lie to you guys. A lot of the reason that I want to travel and travel now is because I do feel some kind of lurking timeline. I don’t have any specific dates in mind, but I do feel like I should get out there now when I have little to no responsibility.
Freedom. I love being spontaneous. Wanting to go somewhere and just going. Being able to pick up everything at a moment’s notice. I experienced this a little bit when I was studying abroad in Paris and all of Europe was so easily accessible, but I feel like working remotely brings a whole new level of freedom. You control your schedule, your timeline, your life. I also love how travelling helps detach me from physical things. I usually travel with just a backpack or a carry-on suitcase and I’ve found it’s so freeing to not have a lot of stuff. Even though I’m the reason that I have stuff in the first place, man is it nice to just not have it.
People. I love meeting new people. I love learning from the new people I meet. I feel like everytime I make new friends it adds such a cool new dimension to my life. The more people I meet, the more I feel that we are all connected. On a base level we are all human beings and feeling more connected to some greater existence is actually kind of nice.
Loneliness. Although I’ve never travelled long enough to reach this point, I feel like it is inevitable. Humans are social beings and even with meeting new people all the time, I feel like I would really miss having a “squad”, a home base of friends who always have my back. I’ve toyed with the idea of having an apartment somewhere as a homebase and alternating between living a “normal” life with “normal” friends and travelling like crazy, but this seems somewhat wasteful and impractical. I’ve also thought about trying to convince a group of my friends that we should all travel around together. This idea was surprisingly well-received and while logistically complex, would be such a cool experience.
Career. I’m just now entering the work force full-time and I don’t really know what I want out of my career yet. I don’t really even know what success means to me. What I do know is I really like working with people in-person. Company culture is so important to me and I really value working with a good team. It doesn’t seem likely that an entire company would ever travel around following my every whim and nomadic inclination, although that would be the dream.
Stuff. I know this was also a pro, but it’s because I’ve been really conflicted about this recently. I’ve never been one to like an excessive amount of stuff, if anything I have an obsessive tendency to declutter. That being said, I do like stuff. I like cooking and having all the ingredients I like. I like having an unnecessary collection of hoodies. I think most of all I just like having my things organized. It gives me a sense of stability. Then again, if I had no stuff there would be nothing to organize. Writing this out and thinking about the material things I value the most: my mattress, my cast iron, and… that’s pretty much it makes me question if this really deserves a place on the cons list. Hmmmm. Let’s save this whole minimalist discussion for another day though.
Obviously, I’m extremely luck to have had the opportunity to travel as much as I have. And on top of that, I’m lucky that I can even explore these types of ideas. But even just as a thought exercise, I’m very conflicted. I’ve started realizing that the people in my life are so so important to me, so the only con I really care about is being lonely. Not because I don’t think I could cope, but because I want to have a lot of special people in my life.
My original plan after graduation was to solo travel as much as I possibly could for two months before entering the “real world”. Since the covid-19 situation has made that more-or-less impossible, I’ve been trying to explore in other ways. Exploring ideas, exploring my mind, exploring myself. I’m trying really hard to stay grateful and stay entertained, but I can’t help but think of travel every now and then.
If any of you find yourself in a similar mental space, I would love to chat. I think it’s so interesting that our generation has developed such a strong inclination towards a nomadic lifestyle. On that note, I’ve been thinking we all have a very unique opportunity to explore the possibilities and limits of nomadic work right now with this whole quarantine situation. Since I’ve never really tried it, I don’t even know if I would like it. So do I just try it? I’m thinking of booking a one-way flight to Hawaii and never looking back…