why you should travel around the world during a quarter life crisis
You’ve been the good girl your entire life. You’ve lived by the bells of a school, took whatever 9-5 came your way out of desperation and fear that you'd never quite land a "dream job" (you know, the ones Marie Claire make sound so easy to attain), and spend your weekends wearing two faces just to keep up with the Jonses on Facebook. Am I the only one that thinks this trajectory is a crock of you-know-what?
When did we become pod people? Was it when the news anchor on the television started screeching on about the plummeting economy or could it have been more subtle? I mean, this is just what people do right. How dare you complain or run against the pack of suited-up zombies whose sole purpose in life is to make love to their romance-less relationship with their cubicle! I’m not advocating for a complete abandonment of responsibility, but can I ask you if this is really making you happy? Not secure, or stable, or fine- but freaking jump on your bed, laugh until your sides hurt, dance in your bedroom happy? If you are in the same boat as me, you may be a bit fed up already. Here are some signs for a self-diagnosis of the completely overhyped but nonetheless justifiable quarterlife crisis:
- you dropped out of school like a clever fool once word spread through the grapevine that it was a bit pointless for the sake of jobs, only to end up working retail from your teens until now
- you thought heaven parted ways just for you when [enter fancy private college here] welcomed you with open arms, graduated cum laude, only to end up in debt and also working retail, or at a bar, or as a "valued intern" that promised growth and opportunities
- escaped this tragedy by the skin of your teeth via a blog you pen on the side which you claim is for creative soul discovery but is more like "the thing you hope will make you Paris Hilton famous"....yeah, remember her?
- devour companionship to the point where you submit to a dead-end relationship the same way you do a dead-end job, because honestly, why the hell not...mediocrity begets mediocrity
- you suppress the need to face your emotions and desires by binge eating and stocking up on fast fashion or designer brand names since somewhere, someone said it was a good cure bullshitting your way through life happily
- you spend about 50% of your time working, 20% of your time on Facebook, 10% of your time being jealous, 5% of your time being bored about something while utterly distracting yourself with a remaining percentage checking emails incessantly, tweeting, texting, tv marathoning, clubbing, bar hopping, searching for new jobs, applying for new jobs WHILE at work, dreaming of new apartments, wishing for a better partner, et cetera
- you know life is about either being comfortable or taking a risk, and you never entertain the thought of risky business, all the while envying those who do and cursing them under your breath for having good connections, more money, better looks, yada yada
- you catch yourself saying things like "I want to travel around the world" or "should I quit my job?" or "where should I travel to?" almost on a weekly basis and read inspiring blogs by other twenty somethings like Wanderlust Project, Neverending Footsteps, Adventurous Kate, or Twentysomething Travel...but still think they have something you don't to make a simple adventure come to life
- but mostly you can conclusively diagnose yourself if you're here because, well, you googled the term quarter life crisis
First of all, having a quarterly crisis is perfectly normal, especially when you realize it's less of a crisis and more of an opportunity that you keep ignoring. You are no longer a naive little child and yet, the world is awfully big and scary. There are voices screaming at you to start a career, make something of yourself, save up for a house, and get rid of those damn college sweats that you have spent the majority of the past four years wearing out into public. (Although I have to agree, it’s time to get rid of those!) You feel a lump gather in the back of your throat as people throw around words like “retirement plan.” Admittedly, some people find their dream job, their perfect house, or just like the comfort of home. But some of us don’t. More specifically, I don’t feel that way. And although I would like to assert that my life has been a perfect trajectory of success of upward mobility- it just isn’t who I am or need to be anymore. I am messy and audacious and, quite frankly, it is time that I accepted that about myself. Since clearly, moonlighting as a lady who lunches got me nowhere.
So, what are YOU going to do about it? I decided that I needed to make some changes in my life- changes that were more than skin deep. I had spent years trying to be someone that I wasn’t and, while I might have looked put together on the outside, my internal daydreams were itching for me to get with the program and stop ignorantly filling a void with frivolous fashion or redecorated apartments. I have never ever taken a vacation. Between interning, to quitting before I get the chance, or being boss at my own fashion magazine and just never having the luxury of paid benefits like corporate big wigs, solo and independent travel has always alluded me (then again getting only 14 days out of 365 hardly seems luxurious don't you agree?). So now, I am about to embark on a journey and travel the world for free (yes, for free, because money doesn't grow on trees but being resourceful is regenerative!). Will I find all the pieces of me along the way? I guess I will find out. But I already feel better getting rid of all the excess junk that has no place being in my possession. I can’t travel with the closet full of clothes I don't wear or the brand new vintage vases I felt were a must-have, and that’s okay. I doubt my sorrow for lost décor will be on the forefront of my thoughts as I am walking down the terminal to catch my flight to Greece. Plus, the whole point is to shatter this notion of being a realistic, normal, "responsible"
person drone like everyone else.
Slow travel helps you to reflect. If you are in a minor life crisis and can’t see yourself staying in your cramped metropolitan shared apartment, it might be time to consider some around the world travel. Slow travel- that is. I’m not talking about saving up all your pennies to splurge on a resort with all the whistles and bells recommended by Conde Nast and Spa magazines. Slow travel is about cultivating an experience somewhere else that ends up feeling like home. Stay long enough to meet new people, fully embrace new cultures, and have a place to hole up and journal. It might be scary at first but it is completely possible. Do you really want to be stuck wondering “what if?” for the rest of your life or did you just plan to wait until the ripe age of 65 when social security kicks in? Take a chance and give yourself the space you need to figure out what it is that you want to be for the next large chunk of your life. I am not an expert when it comes to living life to the fullest. In fact, I have spent most of my life trying to do just the opposite. But you know what? I am done. I want something new, simple, and different. I am not waiting for tomorrow anymore. Tomorrow is already today after all.
PS- If you have the courage and the adrenaline and the only question left is how to travel around the world, don't worry, that's coming up next! Just leave me a comment if you want to know how exactly I plan on travelling around the world...for free as a
broke frugal fashion blogger!