I’ve been talking a lot lately to folks who are pushing hard towards their dreams.
They’re working the equivalent of two full time jobs to break free from the one they’re sick of to change their whole lives. They’re courageous folks. But then, she goes out for drinks with a sister who ends up getting a whole bar full of dummies to mock her dream. And his family spends the holiday calling them absolutely crazy for bending over backwards to give their kids the world, literally.
But you know what I’ve decided? They’re right. All the naysayers. They’re right.
Living your dreams is dumb.
It’s unrealistic. It’s ridiculous. Why would anyone in their right minds give up the status quo? It’s so easy. So comfortable. It makes so much sense.
Here are five reasons you should give up all of those dreams of long term travel and just stay home.
If there’s one thing that long term travel is, it’s one long parade of sleepless nights:
The first night anywhere is a tough sell. Add that to mosquito ridden jungle nights with that infernal drone outside your hammock, and the sweltering nights in concrete rooms with bars on the windows but no screens, and the parade of couches and floors that we’re so very grateful to collapse on and, well, you get the idea.
Just stay home in your soft feather bed. Sure, you won’t have the fantastic beach picture, or that story about howler monkeys and jaguars screaming around you in the darkness, but you’ll also probably live longer and you’ll definitely be better rested.
Don’t believe me? This night in Mexico; prime example.
Who in their right mind gives up a warm house with a full kitchen, a bathtub, an easy drive to the grocery store and a flat screen T.V. for backpacks, long bus rides plagued by diarrhea, ocean crossings spent leaning over the rail, green with sea-sickness or pushing a bicycle with broken spokes for miles until she finds a repair shop.
All of the critics are right. It’s nuts. It’s too hard. It’s smarter and safer to stay home. Of course if I have to die of something I’d rather it be adventure than boredom, but that’s just me. Listen to the blow-hards in the bar who’ve done exactly *nothing* with their lives and follow the status quo, their lead is clearly the one to follow, over your heart’s
Crossing the Mediterranean redefined uncomfortable.
If you stay home you can happily pretend that the whole scope of human experience and expression is wrapped up in your particular section of the Bible belt.
You can comfortably assume that poverty is defined (and taken care of) by the welfare office of your particular state. You can avoid the unpleasantness of naked children with flies dotting their inner eyes. You can happily believe that “our way” is the “right way” and that everyone, everywhere else clearly just needs to be set aright by being exposed to our clearer way of thinking, or believing, or governance.
If you stay home, you can pretend that “they,” whoever they are, don’t exist; or if they do exist, you can continue in your fantasy that you understand them perfectly. You’ll never have to be brought to your knees by a pile of skulls, or experience the fear of swimming in a dangerous political demonstration, or ask a few seminal questions about the wisdom of the drug war from the point of an AK 47.
Just stay home, it will be easier to continue in your delusion. Because when those walls are broken down, and you have to come face to face with “them,” you have to come face to face with yourself.
The best part of giving up your dream and just staying home might be that you’ll never know what you’re missing.
If you haven’t ever cycled into the yard of complete strangers only to find that they’re chosen family for a lifetime, you’ll never know that wonder. If you’ve never heard your six year old utter the words, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” as he stares up at the Eiffel Tower, then you won’t know how much you want that moment to happen again, and again. If you’ve never stepped onto a brand new continent and felt the rush of the world expanding exponentially, you won’t miss it.
Listen to that harpy who tells you that you’re ruining your life by reinventing yourself. She’s right. There’s nothing on the other side that is better than living life between walmart, the office and the Elk’s lodge on Saturday nights, nothing you know you’re missing anyway.
It’s a serious downside to living your dreams, you know exactly what you’re missing. Instead of staying home, we redefined it.
Seriously, if you stay home, you’ll be happier.
Once the travel bug bites, once you let it get a grip on your heart, you’re going to yearn like you’ve never yearned before. For places you’ve been, for places you haven’t been, for the home you left, for people you miss, it’s one big black hole of discontent.
You’ll buy a mango in Wisconsin and whine that it’s not as good as the one you picked from a tree you were camped under in Puerto Arrista. You’ll be sitting on a perfectly perfect beach on the Andaman Sea and be ungrateful enough to wish you could get a decent glass of southern sweet tea. You’ll be that jerk who can’t get through a dinner conversation without saying something about, “When we were in Africa…” Your kids will come to blows with “normal” kids in the park over the veracity of their camel stories. You can trust me on that.
Find joy in what you’ve always known. Create community. Build a legacy in one spot for generations of your family. It’s a beautiful way to live life, and you won’t suffer with continual delirious night dreams of gibbon song and that lobster dish Lana served the night you left the island off the coast of Belize.