I’m not the type of person who *finally* quit her miserable 9-to-5 job in favor of life on the road. There are lots of those types of people who write travel blogs and, while I applaud the courage it must have taken them to make that leap, I’m pretty sick of reading about it.
It’s always the same story, the same complacency with life that motivates people to go somewhere else and try something new for a while. I’m super happy those people made the change they apparently needed to make, but it sends the message that there’s something inherently wrong with the conventional lifestyle and something inherently right with the unconventional one; when in fact lifestyles aren’t objectively “right” or “wrong” but are maybe “right” or “wrong” for YOU at any given time in your life.
I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong about working a 9-to-5 job, settling down, getting married…you know – living the conventional way. That type of lifestyle definitely has its benefits (um hello financial security! and maybe love, and being able to afford things, and having a little routine that you like) and it suits certain people very, very well.
I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong about living unconventionally: on the road, on a commune, alone in a delapitated school bus in the wilderness of Alaska…That type of lifestyle has its benefits too (adventure! new things! self-discovery! cultural ethnography!) and it suits certain people very, very well.
I’m just so sick of coming upon travel blogs with “about me’s” full-on bashing the conventional lifestyle OF ITS READERS – all “I’m finally free, it was a huge risk and I was terrified but now things are perfect! You’re wasting your life if you think your conventional lifestyle is fulfilling! You’re missing out!”
Like that effing movie, Eat Pray Love.
Oh, as if.
Elizabeth Gilbert and the people who made that movie make it their mission to romanticize travel into some sort of magic life elixir. Just go places and you’ll feel better about everything. Go to Italy where all people do is eat pasta; go to India where all people do is practice yoga; go to Bali where you will undoubtedly fall in love because it’s the beach and it’s perfect so obviously.
As travelers and writers I think we need to stop perpetuating the belief that travel will fix your problems. Chances are, your problems will follow you wherever you go. Or actually, you’ll likely encounter new problems while on the road. That’s what’s good about travel though: it’s challenging. And you grow in the face of those challenges.
Honestly, if there’s anything I’ve learned from traveling, it’s that there a million different ways to live your life. None of them are any righter than the others. It’s finding the balance that works for you as an individual. So go quit your 9-to-5 and have an adventure! Or not! The real “magic life elixir” is being able to know what’s right for you in any given present moment. That’s your key.