If travel is being recreationally uncomfortable in a controlled environment ― I chose the opposite. I’ve spent half a decade being cozy in a very volatile environment. I nested hard on a few acres on the side of a mountain. I run a four-season livestock farm alone.

Kind of a fluf piece, but this lady has some valid points about finding what actually makes you happy and all that. People that committed to such an unsusual (for me anyway) lifestyle have always intrigued me, that's why I like watching that crazy dude on YouTube that bought an island in Panama and is building a "fortress" on it.

What are your thoughts on this kind of lifestyle? Settling down instead of travel?


Well, I think she's spot-on about the looks you'd get if you told someone you don't want to travel - amongst my peers, it's pretty much a universal goal.

Some of her points depend on the type of traveller, though.

    Whatever the itinerary it’s understood there’s a safe hotel room booked, plenty of cash set aside for meals, and soon they’ll be home again to explain how the temperature of beer served in restaurants varies based on country.

Not everyone travels like that. Some have wildly irregular itineraries and often don't have somewhere planned to set up their tarp and hammock at the end of the day.

But I think she's bang on with this:

    Finding what you want out of life and working to keep it is the trick, without being sold any fantasy as salvation.

I have to confess that, even as one of the many people who want-to-travel, I possess an unrelenting hatred of The Travel People. A particular gripe of mine is the pursuit of the 'real' experience and the blatant condescension toward 'tourism' as distinct from 'travel'. For example, people going to Dublin and not wanting to drink in Temple Bar because it's so touristic - they want to drink in a real, local bar. But the thing is, the sentiment behind both is the same; it's just their idea of the authentic that differs. They still both want to go and experience another place and people - only the Travel People seem to feel the need to distinguish their own desires as somehow loftier. That's what bugs me, really: the unreflective pretentiousness, not the desire itself.

I'm basing this on some friends and FB posts that I come across. I don't mean to be too vitriolic, and obviously not everyone who travels is like that. But, for example, a very close friend of mine went to Spain for three years, and from the way he talks you'd think he was Christopher Columbus himself discovering the Americas. Every sentence started with "In Spain..."

Maybe one reason why he particularly irritates me is because years ago, home for a weekend from Spain, he turned to me and said "What have you ever done?" with the meanest look of condescension I've ever seen. Which really cut into me at the time. I've since confronted the bollocks about it, and he denied ever saying it. But I'm veering off on a personal tangent. Back to the article.

It reminds me of a guy I stayed with in Connemara named Gearóid, and a conversation we had about another man who is no longer alive. This man was one of the reasons why Gearóid's wife Heidi learned how to speak Gaeilge - she was tired of only being able to talk about the weather with this man, who had virtually no ability to speak English (there are very few such people alive today).

"Now, this man had never been outside the country," said Gearóid. "In fact, I don't know if he ever even set foot outside of County Galway".

And yet, when Heidi told him she was from Austria, he ended up having a long and detailed conversation with her about the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the First World War. Gearóid made the point better than I can, as he tapped his temple with two fingers:

"It's not where you go in the world, it's where you go in here."

I think it largely comes down to the old "you do you" sentiment. If you want to buy a few acres of land and grow organic beets - cool, dude! And if you want to hitchhike to Burma - also cool! The author is right about fantasy not being salvation, just as some others are about safety not being life. You might never be happy if you run after either and let it dominate your life.

There's no right way to live, anyway. I've met some people who moved to the southwest coast to make a small living gardening and growing, and thought that was awesome, as much as I think it's absolutely rad when I hear of someone converting a van into their home and gunning it to Budapest (actually that sounds class).

Oh by the way if you go to Dublin, avoid Temple Bar, it's expensive and touristy (yeah), there are way better and cheaper pubs sixty seconds away.

posted by elizabeth: 394 days ago