Settle down or travel? I have posed this question to myself many times over the past few years, and even more recently, every day.
I have been travelling full-time for three years now. Every six months, I’ve packed up my possessions and moved to a different city or country. As I type this from my extremely squeaky bunk bed in a room I share with another person, I concur that settling down is definitely the more comfortable option. One house, one city, one bed- life is simpler, it’s easier, less stressful. Or is it?
Is easier always better?
I look at these twenties settlers and envy that they are so easily satisfied; it can be, at times, exhausting always wanting to see, feel and experience more.
Travelling is excessively romanticised; from the glossies that boast pristine Photoshopped beaches void of tourists to that friend’s Instagram post looking far off into the distance in a European city. The challenges of travel aren’t often taken into account.
Travelling has a lot of challenges. There is the inevitable weight gain after months of gorging on junk food because it’s easier and cheaper.
No one is around to take care of you or drive you to the doctor when you’re sick.
There is the responsibility to remedy any unfortunate situation you find yourself in all by yourself.
And then there’s travelling solo; the times when loneliness envelops you and you wish that you had someone there to squeeze your hand with words of reassurance after a day that didn’t quite work out how you wanted it to.
The sacrifices for travel
I do sometimes worry that I’ll miss out on some amazing guy because I’ve decided to travel, and if the day comes I’m in a wedding dress I won’t have taut mid-twenties skin.
I liken travel to yoga. While Sally from Instagram makes anantasana pose look like a Sunday sleep in, the reality is it would have taken Sally months of agonising stretching to flex her body in that way.
In other words, don’t be fooled into thinking travelling the world is going to be pretty. Travel will test your character like never before. It will open you up and it will toughen you up.
I’m of the opinion you learn the most about yourself when you are faced with the toughest challenges. You do not grow by standing still. While I sometimes envy those that are settled, I also feel sad for them. They haven’t climbed to the top of a waterfall in Hawaii. They didn’t witness the sadness in the eyes of American democrats when 2016 election results were announced- they haven’t met the amazing, beautiful people I have met.
This is why I am choosing to travel over settling down.
New experiences trump comfort
My verdict is this: while you cannot travel the world at any time, you can always stay in one place at any chosen time.
While some may disagree with this, in my opinion it is far easier to travel the world with less commitments.
For now, I choose to travel, because I know this opportunity won’t come up all to often.
I know that one day, when I have one house, one city, and one bed, I will yearn for the days when I had very little responsibility. I will also know in my soul that any ‘what ifs’ I may have had would have been answered.