Social media is full of beautiful, inspirational photos of mountain ranges, sandy shores, and smiling happy people amidst the sunset. The owners of those same photos have an about me section that might say ‘addicted to traveling’ or ‘professional nomad’, to which I cannot help but gag.
This ‘nomadic movement’ I’ve witnessed on social media has targeted a young and broke crowd. It’s advertising an attractive illusion that traveling full-time and posting photos of all your adventures will give you a thousand followers and makes you a fascinating, independent adult! Essentially, pics or it didn’t happen. But that sure is easy to fake, too, apparently.
Don’t get me wrong, imagining my cute toes peeking out a camper parked beneath nearest mountain range is enough to make me want to leave work, but I have to save up my money long before a trip. This means I don’t ask my parents to fork over the dough on a plane ticket or cruise just to prove I don’t sit at home all day. There’s a reason why people say “work for the life you want”, because your life is not simply handed to you in a nice packed bag. A child gets handed things, an adult works for them.
My own experience and listening to others perspective on what they want to do in the future have molded this idea, too. To put what all I’ve heard into one sentence, it would go something like: “I want to move far away and live in the mountains, quit my job and forget about this city!” Followed with something like “I’d be so happy doing that.” It hurt to hear something like this every time, too, because I’d say, “You don’t know that, you just want to believe it to forget about where you are now.” It’s hard being realistic and not sound pessimistic, so I would always get a negative reaction because it’s not what they wanted to hear. They don’t think about how much it sucks to move (I’ve moved 18 times in 23 years), or the friends and family they wouldn’t see anymore, or the cost of living in those mountains.
It is a great reprieve to daydream, but this thinking got to the point to where I saw others becoming unhappy with their situation and resentful of being unable to travel. Such a childlike urge to run away from lifes problems is common; but if you want to travel to escape your current life, then be ready to face other, new problems down the road. A problem free life is one where you can’t get stronger from your mistakes or experiences, where you can’t understand the extent of your creativity to solve problems, and is inevitably one that is unexciting. . . and bland.
As for my experience, I was able to get funding for a trip to Europe in highschool. I think of it as a blessing for ‘nipping the travel bug in the bud’ at an early age. Of course my parents helped me pay for food, but since then I’ve funded trips on my own or split with friends, gas money and all. Dependent or not, I’m definitely not against traveling of any kind. I’ve have taken trips to Reno, took my first snowboarding trip in Vancouver (I should really call it my first ass-kicking), and have been mountaineering on Mt. Shasta. Traveling has guided me on how to take care of myself emotionally and financially, leading me towards becoming an independent adult, and the reason I still want to do it today.
But until then as I save up money for another trip, I ask myself this simple question:
Why not create a life you don’t need to escape from?
Declutter your space, donate old clothes, sell some unused outdoor gear online, that untouched bike, or even rent gear to try something new in your hometown! Lots of wanderlust enthused people find the idea of freeing themselves from their possessions appealing, and that’s because you are selling away some responsibilities. Starting a minimalist life is a freeing endeavor in itself, and it could be the first step in molding your life into how you want it.
Whatever you decide to do though, a change of scenery or getting out of your comfort zone can create new opportunities, memories, and experiences. I believe this is the reason people love traveling. Even soaking in the view of a different spot from the same place is refreshing, like when I found a beach about a mile from where I live. Still, exploring the same city doesn’t always soothe my restless soul.
So, what I am saying is, don’t travel to compare your life to others, and certainly not to turn your social media profile into a competition for the raddest life ever lived, (Alex Honnold has already taken that spot in my opinion). Save your money to see the world for yourself and begin creating a life you don’t want to escape from, so that whatever it is you work for is everything you’ve hoped.
– The Curious Climber
Editors Note: The Curious Climber runs one of our favorite climbing web-sites, if you’re searching for a unique and fun site that focuses on climbing, then you should definitely check it out. With a great mix of stories, ideas, and quirky lore, The Curious Climber comes correct. The Curious Climber
– The Dihedral