A month ago, I did something that might sound, for some, unthinkable. I decided to not renew the contract to my job in order to spend a year of wanderlust. For many of my friends and family members, it was a perplexing decision. There I was, considering to leave up a nice, stable, and well-paying job to spend a year living out of my backpack without an income. Of course, I had been saving money for this trip, but still, I would be unemployed and would not have a job waiting for me when the year ends.
To explain my thought process on why I did this is difficult but I shall try. In some of my travels in the past, I had met others who had done what I’m going to do. They had quit their job that they had grown frustrated with, packed a backpack, and started traveling. When I had met them, they were months into their trip, and all of them had the same thing to say: It was the best decision they had ever made.
And so, there I was, sitting on my couch on that random night when I had a lightbulb lit up above my head. I realized then that it was the best time for me to do something that was this reckless. I had enough money saved up, had no other responsibilities, and was not in a hurry to fall into the stereotypical middle class trap of finding a wife and paying for a mortgage that I cannot afford.
For whatever reason, people believe that there is only one template to live our life, especially for those of us from western developed countries with copious opportunities for different paths. That template is to get a nice job, find a significant other, date, get married, buy a house, have a kid, adopt a pet, get another kid, drink beers with the friends, talk about how their kids are growing up too fast, possibly divorce, possibly remarry, find themselves losing their hair, kiss their grandkid’s forehead, and die. Out of all of the possible path we can take in life, why are so many people in the rush to get old and follow the same old boring pattern? Did our parents sacrifice so much so that we can just follow in their footsteps without seeing more of what’s out there in the world?
As I sit here, at the Incheon airport in Seoul, Korea, on April 1st, 2015, I will say ‘not me’ to that template. There are many templates in life, not just one. There are others who will follow the template that I described above and that’s okay. But that template is not for me. My template is a blank canvas. It is out there in the world. I will travel it (I wouldn’t even call what I’m going to do ‘traveling’ considering I’m not really staying in a place long enough to know of its culture and people like when I was in Barcelona or Korea, but alas, the world’s too big and I want to see all of the countries), I will experience it, and hopefully, I will come out on the other side a little bit more cultured, educated, and most importantly, happier. Life’s too short to not be happy with what you do, so always do what makes you happy. My first destination of my trip is Taiwan. I’ll write a blog post after I’m done with it. Until then, wanderlust safely. TTP out.
- Do you travel with morals?
- Year of Wanderlust Summary