It’s a question that has entered my brain as we prepare to set out on this grand adventure of ours. Why should Ashley and I get to gallivant around the world with no cares and little responsibility while everyone else at home has to work a boring 9-5 job and raise a family? Is there resentment there? What about the people we “take advantage” of along the way.
Therein lies the beauty and paradox of choice. In this ever connected and globalized world, Europe isn’t as far from the United States as it once seemed, but it is still a world away. We are allowed the freedom to choose our own path. But in a life full of complicated relationships, are we taking advantage and jeopardizing them along the way?
Well, let us look at a few examples, namely family and friends.
Ashley and I have decided to travel Europe for a year, and in doing so shed many responsibilities in the process. For close family this means they do not get to see us very often and can be taken as a show of disrespect for our relationship. After all, if we loved them, we would want to be near them right?
For parents wanting to see their children grow up, all this talk of a gypsy life could signal immaturity and recklessness. This is not a trait that parents (by marriage or otherwise) want to see in their children. As a parent you want your children to feel secure and safe. Adventure Travel doesn’t appear to provide that on the surface.
Don’t even get my started on children. Yes, we want them. No, we don’t want them now.
Everywhere we have gone and plan to go we make friends. That is a big draw for us as we travel. We want to visit little towns and big cities across the world and develop meaningful connections with individuals there.
But in moving around frequently, our hearts get broken a little bit each time we have to say goodbye to dear loved ones.
So long, see you again someday, I hope.
In China, India, Thailand, Nepal, Oregon, Washington, California (innumerous places to count) we became friends with so many people. The hope was to stay in contact over the years, but then entropy kicks into the relationship. We fall out of contact, we have less in common, you can only ask “what’s up with you lately” so many times before it feels forced.
Soon you learn to distance yourself and remain standoffish in new encounters. It is harder to make relationships in as meaningful way as you once had.
Still though, it is nice to have friends around the world that you can stay with whenever you are in town. Often these relationships pick up right where they left off, and as the old adage goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Protect Your Relationships
Every real relationship is messy. You will make mistakes, you will screw everything up, and you will repair damage done through laziness or neglect.
But as you adventure around the world, keep in mind your purpose. What good is the journey if you do not enrich and interact with humans around the world. You can’t do that if your personal walls are up so high that no one can peek over to glimpse your soul.
Share, care, give willingly and generously. Call your parents and family regularly. Let them know how you are doing, and that you love and miss them.
For more casual relationships, it’s always nice to check in a few times a year. I find that a quick casual email exchange is often more than enough to keep the friendship warm. Don’t feel the need to write extremely long emails or even very often.
With a little extra effort, you can be sure to protect those important relationships in your life, and maintain others as you adventure travel the world.