Why Would Anyone Want To Travel Forever?Posted on May 28, 2012 | 32 comments
Tonight I find myself in a hotel. The kids are wiped. The parents are done. All is well.
We just spent the past weekend in the woods with friends. We swam. We cooked by the fire. We ate cheap food. And we saw snakes. We had a wonderful time.
People ask why we want to travel. Why we choose to give up our seemingly secure and privileged life for a taste of the unknown, unsettled world.
Well, it's pretty simple. Every time we travel, every time we head away from home and just go, our family finds a common ground. By the time it's time to go home, we all realize that home is just not where we want to be.
Now some people might say this means we're running away from something.
I've heard this before.
Maybe you guys just need to make some changes to your work schedule. Maybe if you take some time off you'll be able to focus. Maybe if you just be patient. Maybe if you mix things up a bit. Maybe if you start exercising more. Maybe if you eat better. Maybe if you watch less sports. Maybe if you read this book. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
The truth is that our home is fine. It always has been. We're happy there. My children have had wonderfully happy childhoods and their parents have had a wonderfully happy time raising them. Happy, happy, happy, but not happy enough.
Let me ask you something.
When you go into an ice cream shop and order an ice cream, what flavor do you choose?
I choose peanut butter and chocolate, or maybe something with brownies, or maybe dulce de leche. But sometimes they don't have those flavors. Sometimes they have peach, or vanilla, or black raspberry. I don't really prefer peach ice cream, but it's alright. I eat it. It makes me happy, but not as happy as chocolate peanut butter brownie - not even close.
Traveling with my family is like eating chocolate peanut butter brownie ice cream every day, and without the weight gain. And to add to that, every member of my family loves it just as much as I do. In our house, we argue more over ice cream than we do over travel. We know what we love. We know what we want. And yes, we are "happy" doing what we do now. It's a great life, it's wonderful, but it's vanilla. We want PB & Cocoa.
Are We Selfish?
Yes! Of course! This is my family - you bet I'm selfish. I want the best for me and everyone else. Plain and True.
Do you buy TVs? Cars? Dishes? Dresses? Shoes? Do you buy things you don't need, but that make you happy?
Great! So do I. I buy travel. I buy time. I buy the opportunity to expose myself, my wife, and my kids to the many lenses of the world. I buy the chance to help, grow, and change. I buy fun moments. I buy working for myself. I buy an alarm clock that goes off when I really want it to. I buy 3 months living and working 10 hour days on a farm in Nicaragua while my kids learn humility and Spanish. I buy learning to live on half of what we are used to living on. I buy less, and with less I buy so much more.
Is it selfish to want to be happy? Yes. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
What Makes Us Happy?
A few years ago I couldn't have answered this question. Maybe I still I can't, but I'm getting there.
What makes us happy is doing what makes us happy.
Now I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's not.
What makes me happy is learning, actively spending time with my family and friends, being able to really help someone else, being creative, seeing new things, playing competitive sports, and eating chocolate/peanut butter ice cream. I know the things that make me happy, but rarely have I done these things in my life. I've spent most of my days over the past 15 years in meetings, or running errands, or wondering what makes us happy.
Then a few years ago my wife and I just basically said 'screw it'. We don't have to do anything. We're smart. We're responsible. We're hard workers. We'll be fine. Forget the vanilla life. Let's do what we want.
This post is part of a group project. When people get the itch to travel or do something different, they can't help but wonder if they're doing the right thing. Are their motives pure? Do they want to travel, or are they just tired? Are they running to something or running away from something?
I was tagged for this project by Talon at 1 Dad, 1 Kid. Talon is exploring the world with his son, and I think we feel similar about this whole travel thing.
"I was running to a better life, a life I dreamed up and created, a life of spending more time with my son, working less, teaching my child to appreciate what he has instead of constantly setting his eyes on the bigger and greater next “thing,” a life where I could truly live more."
Well said Talon!
And now I tag my friend Gabi over at the The Nomadic Family.
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