Yesterday, I read a blog post by a fellow travel blogger and freelance writer, Susan Shain, entitled, “Same Country, Different Planet,” that resonated with me.
The gist of her post is that due to family circumstances, she and her boyfriend have decided to settle down in a city rather than move abroad for the umpteenth time. They have a lease and have actually “settled down” for the time being. She discusses how she’s trying to balance two desires that have always been part of her personality: The urge to travel the world, and the urge to settle down.
Yep, this piece definitely tugged at my heartstrings. Those are two sides of myself that I’ve always been aware of, too. It’s a constant internal battle.
Many readers know that I’ve lived in multiple cities over the past four years–six cities, to be exact. Three countries, two U.S. states, and six cities in four years. All that to say, I love to be on the move.
Now my husband is in graduate school, so we will be living in Athens, Georgia, for at least TWO YEARS. Two years in one place?! That’s madness! Thankfully, we’ve agreed to move to a new apartment in July, so at least I’ll be moving someplace. Even if it’s just across town.
Yes, I love traveling. But being in one place for the past six months, as well as knowing there’s much more time left here, has me thinking about “settling down.”
Actually, maybe I’m already in the beginning phases of settling down! Two years in one place? My husband going to school for a legitimate career? Getting a dog? These are gateway steps to full-on adulting!
Part of me is happy.
As much as I’ve always wanted to be a strong, independent woman who won’t become stagnant just because she’s married … Taking the next steps of adulthood calls to me sometimes. I like perusing Zillow for houses I could one day buy. I want to be a homeowner. Kids freak me out now, but let’s face it, I’d like to pop a couple of those suckers out one day. I like building my savings account. I like saving for retirement. That’s right, I’m a fancy, grown-up woman with an IRA!
And I think being married has started to shift my desires more toward that “settling down” mindset. I want to build a cozy life with my husband.
Not to mention, I turn 26 in a couple months. Granted, 26 is still young. And I feel like I’m 12. But as an almost-26-year-old married woman, I don’t think it would be absurd to start considering when I want to have kids and what kind of house I’d like to buy. Right?
But there’s this whole other side of me that just wants to travel the world and never stop. There are so many places I want to see and things I want to do before I have kids and lock myself down with a mortgage, it’s overwhelming! In fact, the sheer number of things on this list sometimes makes me think, “Egh … maybe I should just write off having children or buying a home. Maybe I have to choose one path or the other.”
Here are a few things on this list:
- Spend time in Western Canada (Thank goodness, that’s in the books for this August and September!)
- Hike the John Muir Trail
- Visit all 59 National Parks
- Return to New Zealand
- Backpack around Eastern Europe
- Go to South America
- Take a cruise to Antarctica
- Live in France
- See the Middle East
- Travel all around Australia
- See Egypt
The list goes on. You get the idea. It’s out of hand. And I can’t decide if I’m being ambitious or simply immature.
And let’s face it, I will never do all of those things, regardless of whether I “settle down” or not. Maybe I should just be grateful for the experiences I have already had.
The bottom line is that regardless of what I do with this life, I want to stay true to myself. I know that is cheesy, but it’s how I feel. I don’t want to think about what I should do as a traveler or what I should do as a “good wife” or “responsible adult.” Because the truth is that very few people care about which path I take. I am the only one putting this pressure on myself. Even The Husband is fairly chill about if I decide to get an office job vs. if I fly off somewhere without him next month.
So how do I balance these two sides of my personality? Can I have the best of both worlds? Probably not. How do I have just the right amount of both worlds?
Do any of you have these same desires? Especially you travelers who are married, have kids, and/or have a career. I’m looking for insights!
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