The Q & A
Q: Why France?
A: Why not?
Q: What will you do there?
A: Not sure.
Q: What do you do that you can afford to take three months off?
A: I basically work to save up money so I can travel.
There you have it. The answers to the three most-asked questions I received before my three month trip to Europe. Of course, those that have known me for a long time don’t bother asking: they already know my answers–or lack there of.
My boyfriend, Michael, however, has different answers to the last two questions. He spent our time in France doing what he’s been doing since the day I met him–he can work from anywhere that has a high-speed internet connection because he has mastered the art of location-independence. I am an aspiring student of that way of life.
Less Stuff. More Travel.
“It must be nice to have so few things that you can just up and go,” a friend said the other day. Well, yes, indeed it is. I lack a mortgage, a car payment, kids.
Oh. Wait. She meant “stuff.”
Well, I used to have a lot more of that. But on 7/7/11 I took off for a year–after giving away or selling as much as I could, and leaving the rest stored in my parent’s barn. (I haven’t seen most of those belongings in three years. Might be time to get rid of them.)
My mother says I have the least amount of “stuff” of anyone she knows. I know people with less. And I envy them.
The Many Ways to Travel
Before you think I’m a little crazy (oh wait . . .you already do), let me say that getting rid of all your stuff is not a pre-requisite to travel. In fact, there are lots of ways to travel.
- There’s the traditional take-a-week, hop-a-plane, see-the-sites, come-home-to-so-much-work-I-think-maybe-I-never-should-have-left kind of travel. Very popular in the U.S. (Or not–it was predicted that, in 2014, forty-one percent of Americans would not use all of their paid time-off. The Europeans I’ve met think we’re insane.)
- There’s the job-that-takes-me-around-the-world-but-I-never-have-time-to-see-anything type of travel. Popular among the corporate America set. You can identify these folks by the suits they wear and the speed with which they get through the security check-points at the airport.
- There’s the I-just-graduated-college-and-need-to-postpone-taking-a-soul-sucking-job-to-pay-off-my-debt types. These folks are usually Americans, as the Canadians and Australians I’ve met in my travels don’t have college debt to worry about. Nor health insurance. Identified by their enormous backpacks, these American young’uns have a hint of that do-it-while-you-can philosophy. I particularly like it when they realize they can actually pay off their debt by working some pretty awesome jobs around the world.
- Then there are the work-to-save-enough-money-to-quit-and-travel types. I believe you all know at least one of those.
- And then there are those that have mastered location-independence. I’m dating one of those. Next best thing to being one.
Your Life. Your Choice.
Here’s the thing: I don’t care what your preference is for travel.
- Some friends like the security of their cubicles and their paychecks. I’m fine with that, as long as they realize the two are not inextricably linked, and neither keep them from doing however much (or little) travel they want.
- Some people don’t care to travel at all. No problem. As long as they have determined that by choice, and don’t think it’s fate.
- Some folks have seen all they want to see. Ah, now these are some great folks. Took advantage of the see-it-while-you-can philosophy, have reached 80, and said, “You know what. I’m good. Glad I went when I was young(er).”
Honestly, travel or don’t travel. I don’t care. Just don’t think you can’t travel because you have a mortgage/family/job/home. Because there are plenty of people that have all those things and DO travel. Maybe they don’t stay in a Hilton after flying First Class, but I’d rather arrive at a budget accommodation after an economy flight than never arrive at all.
We live in a country where nearly anything is possible. Traveling is no exception. So if that’s your goal, get out there. Go. Now. Before you’re dead. (You do realize we’re all going to die one day, don’t you?)