I would never write anything about traveling to discourage it from anybody, ever. The benefits of experiencing something outside of your norm is phenomenal, and it awakens you to so many possibilities. However, I was floating around the globe for almost 3 years, and assimilating back into society… Well, let’s just say I wasn’t expecting to be this dazed and confused.
A dirty backpacker comes back to society
When I tell people about my wanderlust streak, I’ve often been greeted with, “That’s so amazing! You’re so brave” and “I could never do that even if I wanted to.”
Not to be Joe, but to be frank, I don’t know what they be spittin’. Personally, traveling for me was a slice of pie. A piece of cake. A fun diddly-doo that didn’t really take much work, it just took a little curiosity, a bit of research and the capacity to be able to handle all that magic without combusting into confetti. Anybody with a little faith in themselves could do it.
I know, I know, to each their own, a girl can respect that.
But seriously, I just saved up a bit of cash, bought a ticket, and poof, the adventure began.
However, when I meet people my age, in their 20’s, and they share with me they have an apartment, a car, a good credit score, the newest iPhone, a leather couch, a blender; I’m pretty damn impressed, clueless and intimidated by all of that stability talk.
I don’t want to paint the image that there is no hardship in traveling. There’s hardship in everything. However, it is a different kind of hardship.
So, here’s what traveling didn’t prepare me for.
1) What the hell is a credit score?
Don’t you dare chuckle. This is serious. Is it potential stupidity? Potentially.
However, I am just going to go on and say I am just uneducated on the matter; there is a difference, thank you very much, reader.
You see, I dropped out of university in my second year (that’s not why I’m dumb) and flew straight into Thailand, and that was my next 2.5 years of life. So, I only had a travel card, which was debit. I never had to loan, nor have I had any debts because I saved up my own paper.
So, when I came back to America, and my friend and I started discussing renting an apartment together, he asked me a question that might as well have been in a foreign language, “What’s your credit score like?”
I just looked at him with glazed-over eyes with just a bit of dribble hanging off my lip for what felt like an eternity, “My what?”
His eyebrow instantly raised, he put a hand on my shoulder and sat me down for that dreaded talk we all know and dread.
“Wait, so you’re telling me, I have to loan money, even if I have my own money, then pay it off, just to prove that I’m a reliable.. what is it, consumer?”
“Well, sort of. It helps you get better rates, it’s easier to rent an apartment if you have a good credit score, if you ever want a house..” and on he went. The world zoomed in, sounds no longer existed and all I could hear was the protest of my heart, telling me to go disappear into the mountains and become a sage.
Okay, it’s not that bad, but seriously, to my unaccustomed child-like ears, I thought it sounded ludicrous.
“Doesn’t it show I’m reliable if I have my own hard-earned cash with zero debt? Why do I have to borrow?”
He continued to explain things like; it’s not technically borrowing, this is what impacts your credit score, you need to get a credit reading, hard and soft hits… Jesus, I just couldn’t grasp it.
Maybe it’s just me who thinks the idea sounds twisted, I don’t know.
Is it just me?
It probably is just me.
But is it?
Forming and maintaining relationships is extremely difficult when you’re on the road for so long.
This isn’t true for everybody, but in my case, it definitely was.
As I sit here now, I can’t say I have friends around. Yes, actually, I would like some cheesecake with my pity party.
Okay, okay. No party is being thrown around here, it’s just a fact of long-term travel.
I can’t say I have one friend I’ve known for ages and still talk to. Traveling has pretty much been my whole life, and distance tends to warp any form of a relationship after a while.
Don’t get me wrong, the number of people I met traveling was the most amazing, sound specimens I have ever met. We would connect so quickly and then we would end up traveling together for a good while, creating priceless memories.
However, travel teaches you all things come and go. So after a few weeks, you’re constantly saying goodbye to these newfound friends. It’s an interesting learning curve about life, without a doubt.
And in terms of romantic relationships, I’ve never really been a relationship girl throughout my life. But you do tend to find love on the road, and the same thing goes. It’s a strong connection, it’s respectful, but time dwindles, and you have to carry on.
It can be hard. Probably one of the more harder aspects of traveling around all the time. You begin to crave longevity. Begin to feel a little lonely. You want those people in your life. You don’t want places and people to go away anymore. But, as life would have it, it can’t always be the case.
However, you can hold those precious people in mind and heart, and whenever you find yourself back on their block, they are always more than happy to rendezvous, which is a really nice aspect to it.
Spending almost three years on the road and then coming back with the idea of ‘stability’ in mind is a bit of a reality check.
Just after a couple months of staying in a single spot, you begin to get itchy feet. The idea of staying in one spot is just so, so foreign, and it begins to make you question if it’s something you even want, or if it’s something you even know how to do.
Shuffling through a grocery store on a weekly basis is now weird. Driving a car is also weird. Putting clothes in a dresser is even weirder.
So, stability from the eye’s of a vagabond like me is a hard to goal obtain. So, good job to all of you guys who built something sturdy for yourselves. I’m sure you’re thinking the opposite. The grass is always greener, eh.
Now, I’m left with very little foundation at the moment, and I don’t think traveling around for a long-ass time is all that employable.
However, there are options, thanks to the internet.
But yeah, stability. Throws me in a loop.
What’s your take on stability? Do you like it? I think I might. At least for a little while.
There are a few other things travel didn’t prepare me for.
Like financial everything, assimilating back into society normally, blah blah.
Yet, I wouldn’t change it. It did make me do some ballsy stuff, I’ll tell you that much.
Sometimes you get lonely, feel out of it, struggle with staying still or knowing what to do after your trip has ended.
But in terms of perspective, I can imagine the list “What stability never prepared me for” would be like. It’d be interesting to get insight from the other end of the spectrum. I’m sure there would be similarities.
I wonder what life will bring next.
Or do I have to bring it next?
Well, I guess I am life, technically.