So a bit of a controversial headline perhaps. But let me explain.
Today marks 300 days of unemployment and about 8 months of travel. Since deciding to quit my job, my life in London and hit the open road I’ve constantly been told by people how lucky I am to be travelling. But luck to me suggests something that was handed on a plate, a lifestyle without sacrifices or choices.
Yes I am irrevocably fortunate to have been born in a part of the world where I have access to good education, employment opportunities and the chance to earn a good wage. Meeting so many cultures and communities who don’t have this opportunity has made me ever more aware of that. The “white man privilege” is something we all take for granted. But none of that fortune came without the personal choice to enhance it with studying hard, moving to London and working relentlessly for years and actively saving as much as possible.
More importantly and more fortunately is that I have good health and also that my family and friends are of the same situation, allowing me the freedom to step out and explore without commitments or worry. I know not everyone shares this opportunity. For that, I am lucky.
But travelling for so long was a choice and there are of course things I have given up or compromised. Any traveler, especially over the age of 30 like me, must make tough decisions. Firstly, choosing to ignore the social pressures that do still exist to settle down, stay on the career ladder, start a family. Leaving the career I had built for years was a tough call. And I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked ‘but don’t you want children?’. I’ve had to choose to delay these things with the risk that they may or may not work out in the future. At the least it may take a lot of work.
I also chose not to invest my savings in a mortgage or business and instead to invest them in living in the moment. I don’t have the future proofing that many of my peers do, which is certainly a risk. But it’s a decision I made to live the life I want to live NOW.
Finally, I took the risk to be truly alone, a million miles from family and friends, after going through a really tough period in my life. And of course at times it has been hard as f**k. I’ve felt sad and happy, lonely and loved, bored and exhilarated and have questioned what the hell I’m doing on a weekly basis.
I’m by no means saying this is a tough life. I’m just saying it isn’t as easy as running off and enjoying the world like it was a prize won on some TV game show.
For me travel is much more about chances and choices. So take advantage of the opportunities made to you, carve your own path in life and get out and explore this beautiful world.
Peace out, Kat out of Hell x