I can’t decide if I love or hate that the first question people ask me is “so when are you leaving again?” As family, friends, and coworkers are making small talk and asking me about my post-graduation plans, I cringe thinking about how I’m going to tell them the least of my plans as possible.
Am I over-thinking it or would it be a little weird to say, “I’m going to North Carolina the day after I graduate for a week to visit friends. Then I’m going out of town for a bachelorette party. The day after I get back from that, I’ll be in Europe for a month visiting 6 countries. I’m coming home for another bachelorette party and 2 weddings. Then leaving for Thailand and India for 6 weeks. A month after that, I’m going to Arizona and New York. And I’ll probably go somewhere after that.”
I would never say that. It just feels wrong and braggy, even though they asked about it. As much as someone tries to act excited for you, I can see right through it. “Are you like…super rich?” “Shouldn’t you be saving money for your future?” “Traveling is so dangerous!”
There’s some truth to those things. The odds of getting killed in a terrorist attack is 1 in 20 million while the odds of dying in a car accident around the corner from my house is 1 in 113. Looks like that one isn’t gonna stop me! While there are reasons I shouldn’t travel, I should be chasing my dreams, finding myself, and learning about other people and the world.
It’s pretty often that people say they wish they could afford a vacation. Or they say “where do you get all of that money from?” Well, I often work 15 hour days. And I go straight from the gym to school to 3 different jobs without going home in between. I work my butt off, but I don’t brag about that either.
I also choose very carefully what I spend my money on. If a friend wants to go out to lunch, I say that I would rather get a $2 Starbucks tea and go for a walk. I eat pretty much only at home. I have a car that’s 14 years old, and I love buying used clothes. I’m also extremely grateful for my family because I still live at home (so I don’t have to pay rent), I didn’t have to pay for college, and they support my traveling by giving me money or traveling necessities for my birthday and Christmas.
“You don’t have to be rich to travel, you just need to travel smart.”
I’m very lucky, I know. And I’m doing my best to do what I think is best for me. If you’re a traveler, you know that you don’t have to be rich to travel, you just need to travel smart.
People also don’t get why I’m spending all of my money. They’re right, I probably should be saving for my future home and children, but right now, I need to do what’s important to me. I want to chase one of my dreams of becoming a successful travel blogger. One day I hope to make money by living my dream. Plus I’m a career-confused college student who has no plan for my future besides traveling anyways.
Last but not least, so many people think traveling is dangerous. My parents don’t like that I choose overnight layovers so I can go explore another city for a night, or to meet up with an old friend I’ve actually only met once before. They don’t like that when I don’t have anything to do in a city where I don’t know anyone, I use my handy dandy Tinder app. Although I haven’t done it yet, I would be okay with hitch hiking. Or staying at a stranger’s house (wait, I’ve actually done that one already).
Of course traveling can be dangerous, but I will do my best to be smart about it. And you telling me that you’re going to be worried about me is nice because I know you care, but I also feel guilty about making you feel that way.
The reason I don’t want to tell you that I’m traveling yet again is because I just don’t want your rain all over my parade. I don’t want you to kill my vibe. I don’t want any more haters in the building. Because honestly, I am so stoked on my life. I cannot explain to you how much I love and am thankful for my life. And when I tell you about it, you’re probably not going to understand. Unless you’re a fellow traveler, then you totally get me.