to travel or settle down?

May 2nd, 2017, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
Dogeared-I actually broached this subject with a friend today, and it was funny to hear the response on various ways in which I could have chosen to be free of the 9-5 grind. Could have, but didn't. It was interesting to realize that my chosen path was the one that potentially offers a little more material comfort and security, and so I must pay the price.

I didn't find the entrepreneur analogy too helpful, because as in so many situations which involve people, similar efforts under seemingly similar circumstances may end up with very different results (due to differences in vision, etc). For every success in any profession, there's no lack of the opposite.

The very necessary focus you describe to achieve your goal is what I called fortitude It's also what the OP will have to put forth (as have I) to achieve his/her heart's desire once that is finally determined.
Femi is offline  
May 2nd, 2017, 05:54 PM
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There is no reason this person can't: travel now, get more education or training or find a job after the trip, and settle down.... or not. They are not mutually exclusive.
suze is offline  
May 3rd, 2017, 01:59 AM
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"While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we’re willing to risk, the more alive we are. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took."
crellston is offline  
May 3rd, 2017, 02:49 PM
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I don't think that is necessarily true. I have a friend who didn't work much, took chances, did things that interested her, and now she is retired with no money. It's a scary situation to see someone in.
suze is offline  
May 3rd, 2017, 04:40 PM
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OP here...So I want to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts. I didn't expect such a varied, interesting responses so, appreciate that.

I have news...I booked!

It was getting to the point where I felt that I just need to make a decision so I went ahead and booked a return ticket for just over 2 months. Not that long so I've got over that now.

I'm now in a slightly strange phase where I'm sensing whether or not I'm going to get bored within that period, whilst worrying about crazy bus drivers and how tough Bolivia might be to travel. Anyway, I am planning to spend at least a month in Cusco so I do need to find something I can do there, a voluntary role so I can be somewhat productive. You see, I don't get how some people manage to go backpacking for 7-8 months or longer with no real plan or purpose other than travel. It seems so long to spend without a set routine at least for some of the time.

However, I am still feeling that slight guilty / uneasy feeling of "should I really be doing this at this age?"

Sure, maybe early 30s is not too old to make a change and start over (in terms of work/career) as some of you have noted, however like you say suze, I don't want to take too many chances like your friend. No-one wants to end up in a situation where you can't support yourself. Truly, I do want to settle down and create a future for myself. I want a partner, family and just a sense of direction and stability. Travel will always be a huge part of that but I do feel a sense that I need to work. I am feeling the need now to re-train and gain extra qualifications (as some of you have suggested) but just have no idea what that would be in. I am thinking of spending some money on seeing a career coach when I'm back (they are expensive though!).

I do want to enjoy this trip, improve my Spanish, volunteer hopefully and just reflect on what I want to do with my life. I just hope I won't feel guilt or listen to the voice in my head that keeps telling me "you're unemployed with no plan, you shouldn't be travelling in your situation."
shorttermnomad is offline  
May 3rd, 2017, 04:47 PM
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Volunteering is not always that useful. If you want to do something productive, enroll in Spanish school, perhaps one of the full immersion outfits where you stay with a local family. If you post on the South America board someone is likely to have pointers.

Tell the voice that you are gaining useful experience in navigating foreign countries, which you can sell in a job interview.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 4th, 2017, 04:04 AM
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I agree that 2 months won't change anything. However, the question then is how many times will someone say, 'it's only 2 months'. Some people are quite capable of avoiding making a decision, forever.

Woinparis, I always laugh when people trot out the 'you could be hit by a bus tomorrow' (or 'dead next week' as you phrased it). That is one of the most unsupportable reasons man has ever come up with to justify something.

If you are going to use DYING and 'what if you die' as a criteria in making a decision about something, then you must follow through with that reasoning. That means you have to counterbalance that with 'what if you DON'T die?' And guess what, the balance always falls on the don't die side of the scale. You are far more likely to NOT get hit by a bus tomorrow. Using dying as a criteria to justify something only works if you DIE. It works when you know you have say terminal cancer and only 6 months to live. In that case, go for whatever you want!

Crellston, whoever you are quoting, was paraphrasing a well known quote by Mark Twain which is often used in travel forums to justify packing in a job and going travelling.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

However, like anything else, it is subject to interpretation and people will interpret it the way they WANT to. Mark Twain was not suggesting that people take stupid risks or act irresponsibly in any way. He was simply saying don't be afraid to take a chance on something if you think it has a reasonable chance of success and will advance you towards your goals. He was not saying, quit your job and don't worry about tomorrow.

What's more, I for one disagree with his suggestion that you will regret what you did not do. It is in fact impossible to regret something you didn't do. You can only regret something you did do. Think about it. People may often say, 'I regret I didn't do B.' But in fact, what they actually regret is having done A.

Shortermnomad, 2 months will not change your life. I see no problem with you going, as long as you realize all you are doing is avoiding the decision of what to do with the rest of your life. As I wrote, some people avoid ever making an actual decision about that, they just let change happen to them. Not all regret that in later life, some do as suze has indicated regarding her friend.

Remember, making no decision is in fact making a decision. A decision to be a victim of change rather than the architect of change in your own life. It's entirely up to you.

What I hear the voice in your head telling you is that you are smart enough to know something is wrong. Now the only question is, are you smart enough to do something about it.
Dogeared is offline  
May 4th, 2017, 07:57 AM
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You need self confidence. Hopefully taking this trip will help you overcome all the self-doubt.

Try to stop second guessing yourself every step of the way. You booked the ticket, why can't you just trust yourself and start planning the trip? Encourage and support your own decisions!

And fergoodnessake please stop worrying about you "age". 33 is hardly on your way to the old age home.

I would not do the volunteer thing unless you have a specific passion for something in particular. I wouldn't do it just to fill up your days.

It would benefit you much more to (as already suggested) take a language intensive, do a home stay, or a cooking class.

I always think I'm going to do this on a trip, but once I get going it NEVER happens, because I'm too busy traveling, having new experiences, enjoying each day unfold.
suze is offline  
May 4th, 2017, 07:57 AM
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I'm guessing dogeared is male.
suze is offline  
May 4th, 2017, 10:21 AM
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Dogeared owns a yacht in the Bahamas. Managed a bar on Rhodes. And lives in a garret in Toronto. And only travels via Google.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
May 4th, 2017, 11:49 PM
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Dogeared - I am impressed that you claim to know the what was in Twain's mind when he wrote those words! I lifted my quotation from a far less exalted source -Kelsey Grammer's final words in the last episode of Frazier.

I was not using that quotation to justify anything, merely to point out a fact that many people fee this way at some point in their lives, regardless of what decisions they make.

In the context of this thread, the quote could just as easily be used as justification NOT to travel. i.e. Stick are ou do and seek more interviews.

Your assertion that "it is impossible to regret something you didn't do is clearly, just wrong. Many, if not most people will regret not doing something or taking chances at some point in their lives. I know I do, and I doubt I am the only one.

Shortermnomad - great to see you have made a decision. South America is an incredible continent in which to travel. There is a huge amount to see and do so start planning now! For detailed planning, do click on the forums drop down above and go to the South American forum to ask specific questions and I am sure you will get lots of answers.

A word re volunteering- Thursdaysd speaks wise words on the subject. Short term volunteering generally does more harm than good. I agree, if you want to improve your Spanish , look for some Spanish immersion programmes. We did a month studying with a school in Cusco which was run by an NGO who employed unmarried mothers ( ostracised in Peruvian society) as teachers. Again ask all the questions you want on the SA forum.
crellston is offline  
May 5th, 2017, 03:35 AM
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So...I am actually leaving rather soon, 11 days to be precise! Flying into Lima and working my way all the way down to Santiago. I thought as I'm not working and have no other plans, why wait until later and increase my period of unemployment even further which will make me more unsettled. Flights were reasonable so I thought I'd go for it. I have done plenty of planning already, been spending most of my time doing it and nothing else. As I said SA is a place I've wanted to visit for many years and 2 years ago infact I did some initial planning but decided to go to Japan instead.

Anyway, some further interesting thoughts. I do think we can regret what we haven't done in the same light of regretting things we have. I usually hate cliches but the one cliche that life is too short does resonate. I think how my 30s are already flashing by and now I'm almost in my mid 30s!

When I look back on my 33 years already I can genuinely say that my most memorable moments in life have been the travel experiences I've had...because I guess, sadly in a way, it's all I have. You see if I asked others they might say when they got married, the day their children were born, owning their first home, getting that dream job/promotion. I've never had any of these things and that's not my choice because I DO want those things, of course, but alot of the time those same things are not always in your control. As much as I would like to settle down with a partner that I love (and travel with / have a family with), secure a decent job, home etc. it hasn't happened for me. So what's there left for me to do? I guess do the one thing that I have always been passionate about -
something I can control.
shorttermnomad is offline  
May 5th, 2017, 03:48 AM
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Wishing you well on your adventure! When you get back, instead of having an unexplained gap in your resume, you can list ‘international travel’. Can’t see how that will harm your job prospects. Good luck!
eliztravels2 is offline  
May 5th, 2017, 05:59 AM
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Thanks. Well I think I need to focus just on what I want to do long term but I've never had much idea to begin with so not sure if this trip is going to answer that question really. Almost 8 years ago I went round SE Asia for about 6-7 weeks thinking I might have this epiphany - didn't happen.

Crellston and thursday, why do you say that short term volunteering i.e. a few weeks is not really worth it? Just curious because if you advise against it then I will think about changing my return date.
I've booked Spanish classes in Arequipa (cheaper than Cusco) but I have ample time in Cusco to do something else.
shorttermnomad is offline  
May 5th, 2017, 07:21 AM
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Crellston, while the quote is attributed to Mark Twain, it is in fact questionable whether he ever said it or not. It is not found in any of his written works.

But the meaning is quite clear. People tend towards the safe and secure. But it is when we take risks that the greatest benefits are derived. However, that doesn't mean taking stupid risks, it means taking reasonable risks.

It also doesn't justify running away from anything, as in, 'I'll decide later what to do with my life and for right now, I'll go travel.' Many people interpret it as justifying that when in fact it does not at all.

I agree that it could in this case mean just the opposite for the OP. Instead of the OP doing the easy, familiar and SAFE thing which is to go travel, the alternative would be to take a risk and try starting to take control of her life.

That is where the risk is, in having to come up with a goal and work towards it without knowing if it will be achieved or not.

Shorttermnomad you wrote, "I guess do the one thing that I have always been passionate about -
something I can control."

That's the easy answer. Do what I've always done before.

You also wrote," I've never had any of these things and that's not my choice because I DO want those things, of course, but alot of the time those same things are not always in your control. As much as I would like to settle down with a partner that I love (and travel with / have a family with), secure a decent job, home etc. it hasn't happened for me."

There is only one word in all of that you need to think about. The word is 'happened'. If you wait for it to 'happen', guess what that makes you, a victim of change and not the architect of change.

I'm not trying to beat you up here or anything but you are asking yourself questions and so I think it is worth taking the time to answer those questions for yourself. But to do that, you have to understand how what you write indicates how you think. If you expect it to just 'happen to you', you've made a choice to not control what happens to you.

Most people take the easy path which is to simply let things 'happen' to them. They never even ask themselves any questions and they never realize that they let things happen rather than making things happen.

You write, "Well I think I need to focus just on what I want to do long term but I've never had much idea to begin with so not sure if this trip is going to answer that question really."

Well I can tell you now that this trip will not answer that question for you. A trip can't answer anything. Only YOU can answer that question and only by sitting down and making yourself work out an answer. You can do that anywhere as in where you are right now. It just isn't easy to do. Going travelling again is much easier to do isn't it.
Dogeared is offline  
May 5th, 2017, 08:34 AM
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I hear what you're saying and understand. My remarks may indicate that I'm waiting for life to happen, as you've implied.
What I'm saying is that there are things in this life that we cannot control, like, love for example. Practically speaking, say you want to find love and a partner, you can go out every night, join every dating site etc. hoping to meet someone but that does not necessarily mean you will. Or like me (as described in my OP), you keep applying for work and jobs that are suitable but for reasons you can't control you aren't successful...

BUT you have tried, you are making things happen, you are doing what YOU can do. So I guess that's why it took me so long to decide to go on this trip. I was thinking I should keep persevering to figure out my future but the more I thought about it the more disheartened I became. So I thought maybe this trip might not give me the answer to that question, but perhaps it will give me a lift and boost my motivation for when I return home to try again.
shorttermnomad is offline  
May 5th, 2017, 09:44 AM
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Just take your trip!!!!

and don't expect an epiphany that will solve your future life plans.

With 11 days to go, I'd let this post rest.

Start your trip planning in greater detail. Start packing. Get everything in order for your funds, paperwork, etc.

If you don't know what you're doing once you arrive, buy a hard-copy or download a guidebook and read it on the plane ride to SA.

¡buena suerte!
suze is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 05:28 PM
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Dogeared: Nice job on another well thought out response.
Femi is offline  
May 7th, 2017, 01:52 PM
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Posts: 2,302

Well, laugh mate.

I was last month with old friends. Their daughter was killed in a car crash last year aged 22.
I also was a volunteer in a pediatric oncology department. You want the list of the kids I knew and who died, and their age at death ?

So I cannot be bothered to change other people's life. Not my job, and not sure I would do it in a great way. Apparently you have decided you can do it. Great for you. Everybody does what he/she wants/can with his/her life. And can get helped by close friends/family/psysomething.

Who am I to tell a perfect stranger how to lead his life ?

But you're welcome to laugh. It just rings hollow in my ears. Like in a cemetery.
WoinParis is offline  

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