With my 40th birthday looming on the horizon I’ve got my eyes to the future, albeit briefly, as I make my next moves in life. People often say you need to stay in the present, and I agree, but looking ahead helps you decide where the best place to move to is. Maybe one day I’ll be happy where ever I am no matter what I’m doing. But until that day I’m gonna have to choose which path I follow. And as I choose, I’m gonna have to look at what options are available to me, or, as is often quite fun, create my own options.
It’s no secret that I like to travel, and that I like to change my country of habitat frequently. I don’t think anyone is confused by this lifestyle choice of mine, at least that’s what numerous Facebook posts lead me to believe. Truth is, though, there’s a few drawbacks to this way of life, but you wouldn’t know it from the smile on my face.
You see, living out of a suitcase gets old. Honestly. I can’t buy anything. I can’t own anything. If I do buy a hoodie, I have to throw one away. A new pair of jeans? Toss another pair. Hallowe’en costume? Don’t spend too much money. Everything I own must fit into my luggage, and if I absolutely need to keep something I don’t have space for, I need to post it to where ever I go next. This is do-able, and it makes me proficient at international postage rules, but ask my mom how much of my crap is in her basement. Sure, it keeps you living a minimalist life, and that seems to be trendy and all the rage right now, but a small part of me, the pack-rat part of me, lives deprived.
Switching jobs and friends every six months also becomes exhausting. I try to maintain friendships. All over the world I meet amazing people who I’m so happy I crossed paths with, but when the time comes to leave, as it always does, people’s lives go on as they did before. Staying in touch is easy at first, but soon you’re just liking photos on Facebook, commenting on statuses or wishing them happy birthday. Sure, you’re happy the social media world at least lets you peak into their world from time to time, but people slowly slip away and that intimate circle you were once so graciously allowed to penetrate slowly forgets your footprint. It’s rather lonely.
Trying to choose the best place to go next is like walking into a candy store when you know you have an insatiable sweet tooth. Honestly. Where do you go next? Where’s the best job? Do you return to somewhere you’ve already been? Or do you pull up your courage and walk into the unknown? You probably don’t think of this as an issue. Who doesn’t like sweets? And you’re right, it’s not really an issue. Most people I know only have to do this a couple of times in their life, and it’s usually a job down the road in their same town. For me it involves visas and airplanes and postage and apologies to mom for putting more crap in her basement. Again, not really an issue. As the holder of two passports it’s nice to have large parts of the world open to me, but this gypsy life means I don’t really belong anywhere. I skip from town to town, country to country, but apart from mom’s house, I don’t have a home-base.
Boo hoo, right? My friends locked down to mortgages, and dedicated to turning little people into human beings might drop their jaws at my lament, but let’s be clear. You chose that life. And I chose this life. They both have their pros and cons. You’ll be turning 40 wondering when your house will be paid off, whereas I’m wondering if I’ll ever live in a house for longer than two years.
I’m looking ahead. My body is tired, and my mind and soul are telling me they want to do something else – not necessarily do something new or go somewhere new, just something else. It’s not even about it being more fulfilling or more in tune with who I believe myself to be in some spiritual journey. Nope. I already feel fulfilled. I already feel in tune. As I approach 40 I’m thinking it’s time to re-evaluate the size of my suitcase, enrich and refine my circle of people and maybe get my things out of my mom’s basement. Living a life like mine isn’t always about being transient and seeing what the world has to offer. It’s also about knowing what the world does offer and knowing when it’s just what you’ve been searching for all along.