Why Plan? Just Travel!

The biggest decisions you have before you take an extended holiday is where to go and how long to travel.  It is also important to consider your desired direction in life once you return.  Many people travel for an extended period time, not to see the world but to get away from what they are stuck in.  What they don’t realize is that when they return they are right back where they started.  I have received many questions as to why I traveled and why I resumed my previous career once I returned.  Many people wonder why I returned to NYC and are interested to see why the same life that I previously left is now so much more enticing. 

My original life expectations were to go to school, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids and work work work work work.  You then hope to make enough money so that you can retire around the age of 60 and begin to do everything you’ve always wanted to do now that you have free time.  Now this may not be the plan laid out for everyone, but this surely is the way that most people’s lives are laid out these days.  My travels may have gone against the grain of this original plan of mine, but it certainly changed as I traveled. 

When I first left to embark on my adventure, I planned out the 3 months of my Euro trip.  After those three months, I was to head to Australia for a few years and live the dream.  What was so different between my original plan and the new one besides adding an extended holiday and working in a new country?  What I came to realize was that the change I needed wasn’t my career or location, but the way I viewed my life and approached what I truly desired. 

My second week in Europe I met a travel agent who sat me down to discuss this master travel plan of mine, and he changed my life with his views on how I should engage it.  He asked me what the difference was between these travel plans of mine than the previous one that made me leave home.  So my answer was “I’m breaking away from my norm, I’m doing something that I’ve never done before!”  He looked at me and said “no you’re not; you’ve got everything laid out in front of you.  What is so spontaneous about that? So you’re going to see new places, but what if you fall in love with one destination?  What if you meet some great people and want to spend more time with them.  This is no different then your last life, just in a different place with different people.  When you go home, you’ll be the same person only with new stories to tell in different places.” 

I thought this guy was nuts, he wanted me to cancel my plans and wing my holiday?  I threw out this idea of his because there was no way that was going to happen.  That wasn’t me, I like to have it all planned out because that’s what I was comfortable with.  But then again, I left my bubble in NYC so I could change the way I looked at life.  So what was my reason for traveling now, quitting a job just so I could party in different countries?  Sounds cool, but then again I could just go to Vegas for that.

A week later I met a group in Croatia who tried to convince me to head to Slovenia and Serbia with them to go canyoning.  Interesting idea, but I would have to cancel Malaga and Ibiza as well as reduce my time in Barcelona to three days.  That’s not happening, can’t break my master plan!!  So I flew out to Barcelona, but as I sat in the hostel that first day I began to wonder why I made this trip.  Now don’t get me wrong, being in Barcelona is nothing to be upset about, but that’s not the point I’m getting at here.  I took an extended holiday so I could chase my dreams, yet I’m following an itinerary that got me in my mess in the first place.  I am traveling around the world to learn how to break out while learning more about myself and other cultures.  At that moment, I realized that we don’t need to travel in order to reach our goals, we just need to execute exactly what we want.  I grabbed my bag that night, flew to Slovenia, and canceled my next 3 months to allow my life to take its course.  The agent I met in Croatia changed my life, not because I experienced two new countries or disregarded my plans, but because my plan is to now live every day how I want to live it.  You don’t need to be backpacking the world to see life this way; all you need to know is the direction you want to go in. 

When we arrive home, we are faced with decisions on how to proceed with our lives.  We still may not love our careers or love the area that we live in, but we have the opportunity to take this new mentality and make the most of our position.  Travel to see the world through non-biased eyes, learn about new cultures, experience things you would have never done in a million years.  But remember, one day you’ll need to go home.  And when you do, you have a choice to either mope around because you miss traveling or you can bring that lifestyle home with you.  “We’re Never Going Home” was a punch line we had because we felt at one point in time that traveling was the only thing that kept us happy.  I now realize “We’re Never Going Home” had nothing to do with traveling but was our mindset of how we viewed life.  Life has its way of throwing obstacles in our path, but if we enjoy these obstacles why not run with them?  Because it doesn’t fit in our plan we previously set up for happiness?  Happiness is right in front of us, all we need to do is let the next steps fall into place.   

We’re Never Going Home!