School. Work. And Traveling Forever.Posted on Nov 28, 2011 | 16 comments
Thinking back, there were really only 2 great days of every school year.
There was the first day of school. This was the day when life started again. When friends returned from a 3 month hiatus with new clothes, new haircuts, and new personalities. This was the day when kids and adults of all ages realized just how much can change in 3 months. Old friends came back to life with new looks and new stories. School was a welcomed change after a long time away.
Then, of course, there was the last day of school. This was also the day when life started again. When you left your friends, your routine, and your homework and headed off into the unknown. Summer was a break, but also a forced leap of faith. Who would you meet? What experiences would you have? And wouldn't it be great to share them with everyone a few months down the road.
School wasn't always great, but the opportunity to change that it offered was amazing. New classrooms, new teachers, new summer jobs, new seats, new classmates, new teams, new camps, new experiences, and all of this every year of our lives.
And then of course school ends and we "grow up". Some of us begin working desk jobs that won't change for the next for 40 years. Some of us buy homes that we hope will stay in the family for generations. We surround ourselves with the same people and places. We develop a new routine. We forget about summer vacation. We forget about change. And as time passes there seems to be many fewer stories of summer enlightenment to share.
The adult world most of live in is not a big fan of change. It doesn't want to have new offices, bosses, or co-workers. It hates summer vacations and relocating. And it sure doesn't want you swapping desks all the time.
But who says it has to be this way?
A while back I found this story about a prominent businessman/designer, Stefan Sagmeister, who decided that every 7th year he would shut down his offices and travel the world. His purpose in traveling was not to merely to take a break or vacation, but instead to stimulate his creativity. He wanted to find new worlds that would help him generate new ideas. And then, after a year or so, he would return to work and start fresh. His slate would be clean and his canvas full.
People like Stefan are unique in their approach to business and creativity, and yet the approach Stefan has taken is one we were all raised on. As kids we locked into routine and did our work, and then we left to refresh, grow, and change, only to come back and share what we had learned.
Why did we ever stop this process?
Why as working adults to we insist pushing through the monotony and creative lulls in our life instead of just stepping outside of ourselves for a little perspective?
Why The Goal Is To Travel Forever
I have tagged our journey, for better or worse, as the "Quest to Travel Forever". To be clear, this doesn't mean that we wish to be on a train for the rest of our lives or crossing borders every week. It doesn't mean we never want to settle down or own a home or send the kids back to school. To be so absolute about traveling forever would be pretty much the same as committing to an office chair for the next 40 years, and no one here wants that.
What we desire is the ability to travel forever. The ability to change. The ability to step away and find some perspective.
I can't imagine our situation is much different from the rest of you out there. The only people I knew before I started this website were pretty much tied to a few weeks vacation each year and the hope of a Christmas bonus, but for me that is just way too boring a concept to attach to my life. I need my summer vacations. I need my 7th year off to get away. I think we all do.
Obtaining and developing a school-like routine as an adult requires a lot of time and effort, especially when you're all ready locked into to the adult world, but if we learn how to travel forever and change our ways of working and playing, than surely we can settle down a bit at some point and still have the ability to travel when we want.
We are looking to re-educate ourselves through the change that travel brings. We are going back to the beginning. We are re-learning how to change classes, environments, friends and teachers. We are going to try and travel forever. Learn a new system. Forget the Christmas bonuses. And see what perspective that road brings. And maybe someday we can settle back down and have the ability to take summers and winters off to travel the world.
OK Escapists, that’s it for now, but make sure you come back and check in on our progress in our quest to travel forever. We promise we’ll put everything we’ve got on the table for you. If your really looking to plan an adventure, take a look at our 52 Steps To Travel.