(11.9.12) It’s 10pm, a Friday night and I’m wide awake trapped in my single bathroom-less room. I’m trapped because this entire city shuts down by 9pm and so does my guest house. Although I’d prefer my freedom of deciding when I want to go home there isn’t really anywhere else to be. So as I lay here trying to get my body on a different sleep schedule I can’t stop my brain from thinking about a conversation I had with a British friend on the top of our guest house in Varanasi and I feel like sharing my rant…
Traveling has always been a dream of mine as well as many of my friends. Before I went on this trip so many close friends, work friends, people I barely knew were saying “I’m so jealous of you Tor, I wish I could do that.” And I’d always reply “you can,” and from there it’d go yea my job, my career, my rent, my blah blah blah. I know I can’t force anyone to actually book a ticket out of the American bubble we live in, but I hope to Shiva, Allah, Buddha, Jesus, whoever I can motivate you to.
In the past five months, I have learned more than my four years at Mizzou. I was terrified that I was making the wrong choice to quit my uninspiring job and leave my oh so perfect world I made myself in Chicago. What if I can’t get a job again, what will companies think of me for going off to travel, what if this trip just delays my “career” and I’m only set back farther. What if. All these thoughts make me realize this is how our society wants us to think. When you graduate college you MUST get a job even if you hate it, you MUST put your time in to work up that corporate ladder. Oh and don’t forget about savings because one day you’ll need to put money down on a house so you can forever be stuck in a mortgage. And yea you can have 2 weeks of vacation, but don’t use them all at once. Oh you want to travel? Well in 10 years maybe you’ll have a whole month of vacation but you probably still won’t get to use them all at once. For most people in the corporate world this is your life. Most European countries get 4-6weeks!!
I’m sad how many times I get “you’re the first American I met” or “yea you don’t find too many of you guys here, you all stay in your country and don’t you have some pathetic % of how many people own passports?” And I reply “yea, I was one until this past February.” When they ask what I do, I explain what I did and they can’t believe the lack of vacation we’re allotted. It just wants me to pick up our entire country and shake them and scream there is a whole world out there go out and see it. I can’t say every American is like this and I can’t say much because one year ago I was one and I’ve only just begun my journey, but I’ve fallen in love with this country that everybody thought I was crazy to visit and I just want everyone to experience it.
So if you get anything from this, please realize that the other side of the world isn’t so far away. And it really isn’t scary. I mean sometimes I don’t love the squat toilets, the bucket showers, the wild dogs howling and fighting all night (currently going on) but I promise the most exhilarating experiences are when you’re out of your comfort zone. A job’s just a job but your life is YOUR life and you’ve only got one. If traveling is something you’ve desired forever like me then stop making excuses and figure out how to do it. I promise once you leave the country the world will open up to you and you’ll realize anything is possible.
When I told my older brother I was saving to travel, his response was “so you’re just gonna go and waste all that money you made.” No brother, I’m going to live, and that I do. End rant.
Sweet dreams, Tor