When I graduated high school a few years ago, I soon had my first one-way plane ticket in hand. I’ve pretty much been on the move ever since.
A few months here, a couple months there. I don’t think I’ve stayed at a single address (or country for that matter) in years. Until now, that is. And it has me wondering, am I still a traveller?
My Globetrotting Story
Shortly after graduation, I set off on my first long leg of travelling leaving my home in Canada behind. It was extremely exciting (and, yknow, mildly terrifying) and all I can say is I can’t imagine how different my life would be had I not gone.
I spent 3 months in Los Angeles, followed by an additional 3 months overseas in The Philippines. I remember so much of that 6 month period being extremely emotional as I’d never been separated from home for so long, yet I was also already planning ahead to go on a new adventure shortly after.
I’m sure every traveller can relate to that backwards way of thinking! You can be so exhausted and emotionally drained, yet the thought of returning home for longer than a few months feels daunting somehow.
Landing home for the summer to save up money once more, I was off again in a couple months to head to Australia. I spent 3 months participating in a film course, falling in love with the city of Brisbane and also the man who is now my husband, who was in the accompanying acting course.
We both wanted to continue travelling (he had spent the last few months in Japan) but also had the desire to build upon our newfound skills in filmmaking and acting.
We were offered the opportunity to head to Quebec (the French part of Canada, on the opposite side of the country from where I’m from) and to help build the film and acting courses there for the first time. We jumped at the chance and packed our bags.
After I’d taken yet another quick pit stop at home over the winter to save up more cash before moving to Quebec, we arrived there for our next journey with little idea of what to expect.
We initially planned on staying long-term and settling down, committing to stay for a period of 2 years, but after the first course had completed we found ourselves with little work to do, and both of us unable to earn an income.
6 months in, the love of my life asked me to marry him, and we were faced with yet another decision to make – where to live?!
We couldn’t see ourselves staying in Quebec – living without an income and where neither of us spoke the language. So it was really a matter of my home in BC or his back in Brisbane.
It was easy enough for me to choose the adventure of living in a new country that I loved so much, but also extremely difficult to accept that this choice would also mean a more permanent separation from my family and loved ones.
We both headed to our respective homes to work and save up for our wedding and my move, and within 4 months I had my boarding pass in hand and a whole lot of unknowns in my head.
My in-laws were kind enough to allow me to stay with them as I searched for work and a prospective place for us to live in together after we got married. Unfortunately as the months passed my job hunt was extremely unsuccessful, and the rent prices too high to live off a single income.
After our wedding and a few more months of searching, we took a leap of faith and headed to a small country town a couple of hours away, in which we both had successful job interviews.
By some miracle, my husband and I both found work in a small country town with a fairly high unemployment rate. And, being a country town, the rent is far more affordable so it was a simple process for us to find a place that we could easily afford.
That said, we’ve since signed a lease, purchased furniture, and are settling down for the first time in years.
It’s something we’ve been striving towards for most of 2017, but it’s a strange feeling.
To see us, a minimalist travelling couple settle in like this!? Don’t get me wrong, this is a million and more prayers answered, but it’s made me ask this question quite often:
Am I Still a Traveller?
I’m sure every avid traveller who’s found themselves at a standstill has asked themselves this. We look back on our “glory days” where we seemed to be on a new adventure every other week and wonder what’s changed.
Are we settling? Forgetting our dream? Becoming old and boring?
Unless you’re stuck in a dead end job you hate with no goal in mind, I’d have to say no to those questions.
While I still love and miss travelling regularly, I’ve decided that I actually really enjoy the fact that my husband and I have a cozy home base during this new season.
We also have been in an intense saving mode for my Aussie spouse visa which has hindered our adventures. Once life settles down a bit, I’d love to do more trips and explore more of Australia, but until then I’m enjoying the nesting process.
And you know what – there’s no guilt or shame in that. I know that at least for myself, I can often feel like I’m not a “real traveller” (whatever the heck that means) if I have a solid address and a suitcase collecting dust. But in all realness, that’s a load of crap. You can still enjoy the process of settling down somewhere, and keep travel incorporated in your lifestyle.
Travellers Guilt When Settling Down
I’ve noticed a lot of talk on the internet, in various travel blogs especially, going over the concept of the “right” way of travelling versus the “wrong” way.
However, I’d say the majority of travellers are speaking up and reminding the travel community that there isn’t a right way that applies to everyone. And I couldn’t be more relieved!
I had a pit in my stomach when I first really started blogging here about a year ago. I knew I didn’t have any big trips coming up, or a cushy budget to allow me to do extravagant tourist activities around town either. It made me feel like a phoney, and even a little panicky that I didn’t have any big trips on the horizon.
But eventually, I started to realize there were tons of other bloggers out there in a similar situation to me. And that expat life is an adventure in itself, even at times like these where I’m more or less adjusted and life is at a bit of a standstill.
I’ve also discovered so many little joys that I’ve missed so much that come along with having a home base again. More on that in a later post, but the gist of all of this is to say that I’m going to make the most of this new season, and also hold onto the reminder that my travelling days are NOT over, and that expat life is its own adventure for now.
That’s all my blabbing done for this week, but now I’d love to hear yours. Have you ever been in seasons where travelling hasn’t been as prevalent as it once was? How did you feel? What did you do? I’d love to chat with you in the comments below!