Some people don’t seem to understand my desire for travel, especially the extended trips and slowly moving around a place. They see it as a vacation or a short break from “normal life” and don’t quite get when I say that I want the travel to be the “normal life”. I offer the following metaphor as explanation.
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Imagine you have a person you love dearly. A child or a partner. Then imagine that you are only allowed to see them a few weeks a year. You get to see pictures of them, playing on the beach, hiking in the mountains. They are just having a good time, but you can’t see them due to a job.
Certainly there are people that do this. They only see their loved ones every so often, but think of how hard that is. Then imagine what it is like to have a manager hmm and haw about giving time off to spend time with that love or a company say “no, sorry”. Of course, this happens as well.
Travel is more than just a time to “vacate” from normal life, but a time for me to reconnect. Reconnect with myself and my interest in the people and places around me.
Travel is our children
Ali and I established very early in our relationship that neither of us was interested in having children. That experience is just not one we want to get into. To quote Eat Pray Love, one of the motivation movies we have watched recently, “having a child is like having a tattoo on our face, you need to be fully committed.” We aren’t, so there is no reason to go down that road.
The act of travel is what has become our children. We just want to spend time traveling. We spend our money to make the travel a happier experience. We learn from the travel as I imagine parents learn from their kids. Maybe different things, but still that is how we want to learn from the world, by traveling in it. I try to travel with the child-like wonderment as much as I can.
By the way, I am in no way saying that it is either/or with travel and children. There are plenty of people that travel with their kids and good for them. Seriously! Children need to see the world and be taught to not fear it and others. Travel just fills the role of children for our lives.
I don’t remember when I first ran across the term “furkids,” but I like it. The idea that pets can be like children. I wonder if “tripkids” will ever become as popular? Probably not, but oh well.
If we had organized our life to have free time to spend with children and family, it would likely be seen as a wonderful thing. But building a life around travel and freedom to go elsewhere somehow draws questions. Are we seen as selfish and irresponsible? I have no clue. I don’t really ask, but it does make me wonder what others think about us.
I have pictures of my tripkids on the cube wall at work. I write blog posts about how wonderful trips went and how I am learning so much from them. I am happy to share pictures and stories from tripkids with others. I don’t think I would be a good parent of human children, but of travel I think I am a fine guardian.