to travel or settle down?

Apr 26th, 2017, 05:39 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2017
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to travel or settle down?

I'm in my early 30s and having just finished another contracted role at home (in London) about 6 weeks ago I'm out of work now. I've been in this position many times before. Right now I'm trying to make a decision whether to stay in London and keep looking for work or go to a part of the world for 2-3 months that's been on my heart and mind (S America).

Having had four interviews in the past 6 weeks, all of which I felt I did well in but still no success for my effort despite coming very close to getting one of them (the one role I was very keen on). So I could just stay here and keep looking for work but to be honest my confidence is dented a bit after these setbacks. I feel I'm not as motivated as well after 4 interviews that haven't been successful. This month has been a washout as I've spent the majority of my time researching S America! Maybe that's why I've seen it as a sign that I need to do this trip to re-energize myself and have a break from this place.

Why I'm hesitating though is because I'm afraid to have another break without working. At this age and stage of my life the feeling that I need to settle down with a permanent job/career, family etc. is pretty intense. Yet I have none of those things, no responsibilities as such so in a way, I'm free to do as I please. But here's the thing - I DO WANT those responsibilities but life for various reasons that hasn't quite worked out for me in that way. Been unlucky with love, not successful with pursuing a career. So what more can I do? If I had something to come back to that would help along with a partner (who I thought I would have met by now).

Secondly, in addition to that concern, I'm also hesitant about travelling solo...for about the 100th time. Not for safety/security concerns but rather because I know how loneliness and solitude can cause me more harm than good. I've done some travels with others/friends but have been on far more trips on my own. It has been special in its own way and I've seen amazing places but at the same time, part of me is fed up with it too. I feel I'm at the age where I should be doing all this with a partner and yet the reality is I'm still alone. I've done enough self-reflection and analysis, people watching in cafes, sitting on hills admiring beautiful views. I want to experience all this with someone else. The ideal I guess for everyone is seeing the places of your dreams with the person of your dreams. Even so, another voice echoes inside me, encouraging me to still pursue my dreams, with or without anyone. Afterall I can manage 2-3 months. Any longer I think would be a real struggle.

I guess this was more of an inquiry into finding out whether there are other people in my age and stage of life and similar circumstances that feel the same??
shorttermnomad is offline  
Apr 26th, 2017, 07:04 PM
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I'm a lot older, but my advice is to forget the "shoulds".

And if you've spent most of the month reading about SA instead of treating the job hunt as a full time job, that's probably what you really want. The question is, can you afford it?
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 26th, 2017, 08:40 PM
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I'm older too and in a lot of instances in the same boat as you.

I say travel while you can. When (we have to stay positive, right!) you find that right person you may not be able to travel as much.

I know this will sound like a cliche but - you only live once. If you can afford it then go, experience SA. You won't regret it!
cassiectrin is offline  
Apr 27th, 2017, 03:07 AM
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"And if you've spent most of the month reading about SA instead of treating the job hunt as a full time job, that's probably what you really want. The question is, can you afford it?"

I think you've summed it up right there. As I've spent more time thinking about it, it's the indication that that is what I want to do at the moment.
I can afford it, I've saved up enough having worked and lived at home so it's the ideal time to go.
shorttermnomad is offline  
Apr 27th, 2017, 03:15 AM
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I think you should just go for it if that's what you really want to do. You never know, you could meet the love of your life in SA!! As cassiectrin said 'you only live once'. Cherish the fact that you have the opportunity to go and travel- I would love to do this right now.
TravelMojo is offline  
Apr 27th, 2017, 04:34 AM
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If you can afford it I would do it. I took early retirement in 2000 so I could travel before I got too decrepit. This year, for the first time, my health is preventing me from traveling. I am so glad I didn't wait until "retirement age"! (And accidents can happen at any age.)
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 27th, 2017, 11:01 AM
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Do what YOU want to do. Trick is figuring out which that is.

For me that would be solo travel. No question about it.

But YOU seem conflicted about the "need to settle down".

Do you really want to that? Or it's just that you think that's what people do, what is the norm, and expected of a person?
suze is offline  
Apr 27th, 2017, 11:02 AM
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No that is NOT the "ideal for everyone". You are buying into a lot of stereotypes and expectations.

You don't have to do that.
suze is offline  
Apr 27th, 2017, 12:55 PM
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Go to a place where you can find a guy you want to return to ;-)
WoinParis is offline  
Apr 28th, 2017, 11:13 AM
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There's your answer!
suze is offline  
Apr 29th, 2017, 08:36 AM
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Why not travel with an eye on what you could see/do that might help you when you return? "Purposeful" travel is a great way to overcome the "shoulda woulda coulda" blues.

- Visit South America but focus on your career field/goals to see if it's done differently there. We don't know what your field is, but it probably exists on both sides of the Atlantic and equator. Anything you could learn?

- Sign up for an immersive Spanish language course. I can't think of a field where being multi-lingual is a drawback.

- Do you have any hobbies or passions? If so, look for travel opportunities with like-minded people. Photography? Wildlife? Cooking? Mountaineering?

And be mindful that 2 or 3 months in the scheme of things is peanuts.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 29th, 2017, 03:27 PM
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Hi, thanks for your replies. So I guess most of you are saying I should just go for it.

I guess I'm just concerned with my work prospects in general as I'm not really in a particular field. I don't really have a career as such as I've only done contract work/temp jobs. As I said I was ready to settle back into work full time and commit to it but I wasn't successful with those interviews and now I'm back at square one I feel. I'm thinking maybe I need to re-train in something else? Just not sure what that would be though and I feel 33 is pretty old now.

In addition, my parents aren't too pleased either and essentially trying their best to put me off going, emphasising the importance of finding work, fearing that I might be in trouble in years to come if I don't have some stability and of course mentioning how I might get my bag spiked with drugs.
shorttermnomad is offline  
Apr 29th, 2017, 04:20 PM
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You are too old to be letting your parents influence your decisions like that.

That said, it *does* sound like you might need to get more education or training so you are more easily employable since you can't seem to land a job. At 33 you likely have MANY more years to work, so you might as well get yourself situated to be able to better support yourself in the long run.

Oh please! You really believe that is going to happen? That's truly a concern of yours?

You don't have to go to South American for 3 months OR just stay home. There are about a million possibilities in between those two ideas.

Take an easier trip if everyone (you and your parents) are so afraid. Go to Paris for a few weeks and get your travel chops down so you are more confident. Fly to the Caribbean and lay on a beach for 10 days. Spain? Greece? Those are all easy things to do that don't require any experience or particular savvy.
suze is offline  
Apr 30th, 2017, 04:22 AM
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Thanks for your reply.
Oh yes you're right, they've been like this for years. They said the same thing before I went to SE Asia. They've always been paranoid, over-protective and controlling especially my father. One thing at 17 but at 33, it's kind of embarrassing. He needs to let go but the co-dependency is too strong. I'm finally standing up to it now. So whatever.

What bothers me though is how this will harm my future job prospects. I need to become qualified in something, just not sure what though. I've been out of work now 2 months so can another 2 months make a difference? I'm weary though the longer the gap, the more difficult it can be. S America is my choice because I've always wanted to explore countries like Peru and Bolivia, improve my Spanish.
shorttermnomad is offline  
Apr 30th, 2017, 08:26 AM
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Some wise person once said, 'You can be the architect of change or the victim of change, what is certain is that change will occur.'

You can find all kinds of links to articles using that basic idea and relating it to all kinds of things in life.

So here you are at 33 having spent your adult life so far pursuing no career path and interspersing periods of work with periods of travel. So far, you have allowed yourself to be a victim of change, always taking the path of least resistance. Right now, going to SA to travel is the path of least resistance. Particularly if you are feeling discouraged about your job prospects. Some people go through their entire life being a 'victim of change'.

But here's the good news. YOU are asking yourself questions. YOU have recognized something is not going as you would like it to go and something is missing. Most people never even ask themselves those questions!

You now have a choice you can make. I believe that everyone has until their early/mid 30s to do as they please. But somewhere in our 30s, we either make a conscious choice to take control of our life or we do as the majority do and let that opportunity slip past and remain a victim of change.

I had my own 'epiphany' at age 35. I realized that I did not want to work till retirement age and then drop dead on a golf course perhaps 2 years later. I wanted to be free to travel and enjoy life AND not have to work for a living. So I asked myself how I could achieve that AND state. The answer of course was not to run off to SA for a few months.

Instead, I sat down and figured out how much income I would need to live my life in the way I wanted to live it. Then I figured out how much capital would I need and how would I need to invest it, to insure I could generate the income I needed and not have to work ever again. Then I figured out how I would amass that capital in a acceptable period of time (I decided 10 years was the maximum acceptable period of time). Then I asked myself what kind of work for pay would get me that amount in that time. In other words, I came up with a plan for financial independence. I then worked to that plan until I achieved the goal. I did it in 7 years.

Everyone's path and goal is different. You have to decide what your goal is and what path will get you there. You hear people say that 'you can be anything you want to be'. That statement is both true and false. Not everyone can be an Olympic gold medalist no matter how much that is what they want to be. It takes certain things to be true to start out with. The basic skills/aptitudes etc. in place to start with and then the one thing people hate, having to work to achieve it.

So first, the goal must actually be achievable given your basic skills/aptitudes and then it's doing the work required to achieve that goal. That's what separates the architect from the victim of change.

So now you have asked yourself the question which really is, 'where is my life going and what am I going to do about it?' That is as I said the good news. It is also the bad news in that if you don't decide to take control of your life, you have to realize that a 'non-decision' is in fact a decision. It is a decision to be a victim of change.
Dogeared is offline  
Apr 30th, 2017, 01:40 PM
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You could be me at 33. Here is another perspective.

I spent my 20s and 30's (and beyond) travelling and drifting with the wind. I have wonderful memories, but meanwhile my friends were studying, pursuing their passions to become doctors, nurses, artists, social workers or scientists. As for me, every time I was faced with anything hard, I'd take off for someplace new.

If I could go back and do it again, I would find my passion, study hard and make it my career. Working at dull jobs just to make a living isn't that appealing when you're older.

Thirty-three is in no way "too old" to re-train to do something that inspires you.

You mention that you could afford to travel partly because you'd been "living at home," and wrote:

Is it possible that your parents are hoping for an empty next, and a fledgling has made a nest of its own? They must love you very much, and want fulfillment for you.

It sounds to me as if you're ready for something more than the travelling you've been doing. Sure, never give up your dreams! But "carpe diem" can also mean finding what you really want to give to the world, and getting the education to pursue that.

Dogeared and Gardyloo have excellent advice.
January is offline  
Apr 30th, 2017, 02:37 PM
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2 months or 4 months is not going to make a difference. I do think you need to get more education or training or something so you can get steady employment.

I don't see any reason you can't take this one trip before doing that though. I think the dynamics with your parents is a bigger hurdle you need to get under control.

After your trip, maybe you could move away from London? Go to school somewhere else? Win/win... get training for a specific job (only you can figure out what makes sense there for you) and cut the apron strings.

33 is not too old to train for something that "inspired you" or from my point of view find a field with a high need and decent pay and train for that.
suze is offline  
May 1st, 2017, 04:11 PM
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This has been one of the more intriguing posts I've come across in a long while. It seems a lot of us have wrestled with the same question. Dogeared's response stayed with me the longest for a number of reasons, one being the admirable amount of fortitude required to see the plan through.
Femi is offline  
May 2nd, 2017, 07:56 AM
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An interesting choice of word Femi. I never thought of myself as having to have fortitude to achieve my goal. I would say I just thought of it as having focus. There really wasn't anything difficult about it.

I think though that it is something like I once read about entrepreneurs. They simply don't see problems in the same way as most people. A problem that most might see as a roadblock, they see simply as a small bump to either drive over or around.

"But what sets successful problem-solving entrepreneurs apart is that they often see problems as little more than another item to be checked off the list."

I didn't achieve my goal through entrepreneurship, but I think my thinking process was much the same. Part of that was going from an 'either/or' way of thinking to an 'and' way of thinking.

So, not 'should I travel OR settle down to work and earn money?' to 'how can I be free to travel AND not have to work to earn money?' That starts you down a whole different path.

If you CAN'T see a roadblock, it doesn't exist. Simple as that. So it doesn't require fortitude, it requires an attitude.
Dogeared is offline  
May 2nd, 2017, 09:20 AM
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Some psychanalists here.

So OP, here my advice : you can be dead next week, next year, so if you feel like you need a break or would welcome a break just do it.
2 months is nothing.

After that you may want - or not - to chznge your life, get another education, job whatever. Ask your parents, they are probably over-protective but they know you better than we do, don't they ?

You can also spend a fortune on psychanalysis, something I cannot comment on, being a good European, these things are quite foreign to me and most people I know.

Is there a french word for entrepreneur ?
WoinParis is offline  

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