Yesterday while planning my trip to The Borderland with a friend over Skype, I found myself apologizing for the way I like to travel. Mid-sentence I realized what I was doing, but by then my mouth was a train wreck of it's own. I blathered on about how I enjoy traveling a certain way, and made excuses for not being a true-blue backpacker. Then I felt I had to assert myself and went on a speech about how I will travel any damn way I please.
Honestly, he hadn't even asked. [sorry Brooks :P ]
The comparison game
Truth is, since I packed my bags and left home five years ago, I have on some level been comparing myself to all the other travelers out there. My goal was to design a life of my choosing, and yet I end up giving myself grief because I don't like many things that other travelers like. I know, I'm baffled as I write this.
I'm not a building person. When I get to a new place I have three goals, to taste their food, have a nice drink and meet their people. For the most part I almost never do any research on the place I'm about to visit. Ask me about important landmarks in a fancy new city, and I probably won't know it. I've been to New York City many times but have never visited the Statue of Liberty.
I'm almost always not dressed for the weather, which frustrates me and prompts mental notes like, "Geez Hani, Google the damn weather why dontcha?!?!"
In fact, as I write this, I'm sitting in a cute coffee shop in Madrid. I'm staying with a friend for a few days before heading to Barcelona and I haven't bothered to check out the sites. I kinda thought about it, but went, "Meh!" To some people this is a waste of travel. Blasphemy. Why go to all these places if you're not going to check out the city, right?
The trend these days seems to veer towards having a life that has the least amount of work and a lot of sitting on beaches or traveling non-stop - or else you're not doing the whole lifestyle design-thing right. I know plenty of people who just want a simple life which involves liking their job, having more time for their family and friends and taking more vacations but are ashamed to admit that they want that. Or a friend who confided in me that she liked checking in her luggage but felt bad because she keeps reading about travelers who seem to look down on checking in luggage (FYI, I check in luggage). Instead we seem to think if we're not lugging a backpack around the world, sipping piña colada on some beach in the Philippines and blogging about the amazing time you're having then our dreams aren't worth it.
In our desire to break free and be able to design a life of our choosing, we've gotten ourselves stuck in another rut.
I've been coming to terms with my likes and dislikes lately and consciously creating a life that is truly my own design. It might be the same as yours or completely different. More than anything else, I am - starting from today - not going to apologize for my choices. That is the true freedom of designing a life of my choice.
What is your lifestyle of choice?