Travel Envy in Your Eyes

April 23, 2013

S812 - Green with envy

One of the reasons I always balk at trying to re-establish a life for myself in the states is the reactions I receive from people when I tell them where I’ve been, what I’ve done, the people and cultures I’ve seen. It’s not that I don’t have confidence in the direction I’m going at the time, but when I come across friends who stayed behind all these years, who seemingly have everything going for them – marriage, job, place to live, income – I can still see the envy in their eyes. They want to travel, to be where I am: no responsibilities or attachments. And if they, who have what I think I want, want what I already have, why should I try to be more like them?

To be sure, I am awesome. I’ve marched as a samurai warrior in Japan, wiggled my toes in the hot water beaches of New Zealand, seen poverty in Haiti, and showed visitors to the US around the Golden Gate Bridge. I have enjoyed living in the present and appreciating what travel and life has thrown my way. The thing is, I’m sure the same is true of my friends with green in their eyes; it’s not like they’ve put everything on hold while I’m abroad, only dreaming of the day when they can hop on that plane. My existence, staring them right in the face, seems to mock their progress as stable individuals.

There’s no one rule to making it in life. Nor can we stay on the same path for 10, 20, 30, even 60 years and be guaranteed happiness. A few years ago, I was (and still am) one to internalize a lot, to thinking I need to work things out on my own, no help from the peanut gallery, and that included family and friends. I brushed off anything that resembled life coaching: books, blogs, personal stories. I just trusted that because I was living an enviable life – it was obvious even then – and was doing so without the help of others, that when the time came to transition to something new, I would be just as awesome and independent.

It’s been more of a struggle than I thought.

Success is this way

Going at it alone works… for a while. Especially if you’re Batman. But your needs change, and what was once simple as an individual becomes rather complicated with others. You can’t marry or have kids with yourself. All the money in the world can’t buy friends (real ones, anyway). I like to think of it in terms of the “last man on Earth” scenario. Before 2009, I can honestly say if I had been the only human being alive on the planet (and assuming transportation still worked), I would have been living the same kind of life: I took care of myself in Japan, went for walkabouts in New Zealand, and generally didn’t rely on anyone or anything too often.

I’m not green for those who stayed behind, but no longer am I as confident in my choices. I need to find a third option, a middle path. One that incorporates my experiences on the road and the stability that finding one’s passion would provide.

3 Responses to Travel Envy in Your Eyes

  1. aurea on April 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    wow. how do people like you in America not have a job but still be able to travel? The world at that! I’m from the Philippines and it would be impossible for us to to travel within Asia alone without a job! travel envy in my eyes!!

  2. Self-Portrait at 30 | Once A Traveler on April 29, 2013 at 10:16 am

    […] annually), yet still felt like their jobs were weighing down their souls, reminded me once again of travel envy: here were people from identical educational backgrounds still struggling with the idea of […]

  3. mongoosecd9 on May 4, 2013 at 3:46 am

    Feel you on this one, the need to find the middle road.

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