Adults

“So how long have you been traveling for?”

“About 7 months now.”

“And when are you planning on heading home and growing up?”

Ouch. Like a stubborn child, I’ve again forgotten that traveling is for copouts. For failures. For those of us who couldn’t make it in the corporate world.

I’ve been openly judged for being on this adventure more times than I can count. Like I’m cheating the system and not paying my dues, despite the fact that I’ve paid my own way the entire time. In fact, I’m currently working 6 days per week to make ends meet because my bank account decided it no longer wished to maintain a balance recently.

What exactly does this so-called act of “growing up” entail? Will I be a grown up if I get married? What about if I buy a house and start a 30-year relationship with a mortgage?

Maybe I need to make lots of money if I’d like to be a grown up one day.

Or perhaps I just need to start complaining about the job I don’t like, the relationship I don’t want to be in, the weather I refuse to appreciate, and that coworker I just can’t handle any longer.

No.

Spare me a moment to explain my side of the story.

My life used to be easy because I was in control. I lived with people I liked. I drove a car I could rely on. I had a normal job doing normal things for normal people. And they paid me well for it. I knew my city and I owned my time.

My life appears easy now, but appearances can be deceiving. The only reason things are working out in my life these days is because I’ve got a rich Father. But that’s another story for another day.

Staying home is easy. Getting a normal job is easy. Conforming to society is easy. Being abroad is not.

Traveling, or living away from home, rather, is one of the most challenging lifestyles a person can undertake. You’re out of your comfort zone. You’re living on mere dollars per day. You often cannot communicate with those around you. You accidentally offend someone every single day because you don’t understand their culture. You’re ripped off, constantly. You need to figure out a new way of life every few days because the parameters have changed. Again.

So let’s make a pact, shall we? I won’t judge the way you tackle life if you don’t judge the way I do. We can both follow the paths set before us and “grow up” in our own unique way.

And one day, we can share stories. And we can learn from each other’s experiences. And maybe, just maybe, we can appreciate each other, too.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” —George Bernard Shaw