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What are you doing right now? I don’t mean sitting around in your underwear reading this post, I mean what are you doing right now in your life? You might be living in the suburbs with your family, sitting in a café in Paris, staring absently at your work computer screen in a halogen lit office or unpacking your bags, happy to be home from a long holiday.
No matter what it is you’re doing, I hope it’s what you really want.
So often my friends will see photos of my travel and say, “Wow, you’re so lucky”. Truth is, it has absolutely nothing to do with luck. It was my decision to save, leave my job and travel and I made the whole thing happen, well… Matt & I made it happen.
It is so easy to fall into routine and fall victim to pressure. Your parents warn you about peer pressure, they tell you that it’s going to happen to you at high school and at some point you’ll feel pressured to have an underage drink or try a cigarette.
What they don’t tell you is that it continues to happen throughout the rest of your life.
Growing up I had it in my head that the ‘right’ path was to finish high school, go to University, meet a guy and get married, move to the suburbs and start a family. That isn’t an ideology that came from my family. My Mum and Dad have always been supporters of my love of travel and making my own choices.
This ideology comes from the world around us, but just because it is a social norm it doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone.
Matt and I are moving back to Australia and we both know that when we get home we’ll be asked when we’re going to start a family. Even though we’re engaged and slowly getting a wedding plan together, that isn’t something that’s in our immediate future at all, simply because we’re not ready yet.
That doesn’t mean that it’s right or wrong, in fact I don’t believe that there is a right or wrong when it comes to choices about your own life. It’s the path that we’re choosing for our life together, so how can it possibly be wrong?
It takes a lot of strength to break away from what other people expect from you. When I was travelling a few years ago I met a girl who was a kindred spirit, a ‘soul mate’ as I like to call her.
At the time she was in a long-term relationship and had bought a house with her boyfriend, but her heart didn’t fit into the puzzle the same way all the other little pieces did. It was easy to sign the paperwork for the house and it was easy to lead that life, but it was extremely hard for her to admit that she wasn’t happy and do something about it.
Fast forward a few years later and she has travelled around the world and is currently living about as far away from her family as possible, working as a bungee instructor and she has never been happier. Why? Because she was honest with herself, went through some hard times and made the best decision for her life.
When you get comfortable and in a routine it can be easy to watch time tick by and it can be easy to start following the milestones that society sets for us. But just because they are there, doesn’t mean that they are right for you.
Call me crazy, but having the freedom of travel recently has given me a lot of perspective and inspiration. If you’re not happy with where you are right now, then change it. Do something about it.
I’m not saying it’s easy and I’m not saying you need to do something drastic, but start enriching your life with the little things that you really want and need or start planning toward the big things that you really crave.
Before we began travelling a friend of mine told me that he thought I was doing the wrong thing by travelling. He expressed that he was concerned Matt & I were making a mistake and that we should settle down, marry and think about having children. I’ll always appreciate the advice my friends give me, but it’s important to respect those who make a different choice for their life.
My point is that there is no right and wrong answer when it comes to your life and your happiness. My best friend is very happily married with two children and she wouldn’t change it for the world and I wouldn’t ask her too, because that’s what makes her happy. The friend I mentioned earlier is probably going to travel forever or until she meets a man who can keep up with her amazing life and that’s perfect too.
No matter what choice you make, be sure that it’s the right one for you. Don’t be afraid to challenge the ideals or do something different, it’s your life and your choice.