I have hosted a lot of travellers in my couch. Yes, I am a couchsurfer. I have experienced the best of both worlds of being a host and a surfer. But I am more of a host.
I have hosted Ksenya, a Russian from USA, who left her life in Portland for a spiritual journey around the globe–we are talking of 60+ countries. I have hosted Stuart who left his comfortable life in Missouri to teach kids in Surat-Thani, Thailand…full time! And there’s the Argentinian couple who left the posh life in Buenos Aires to break the barriers between the East and West. Not to mention my recent guest from Vietnam, who quit his 8-5 job as a sports journalist to practically travel.
How about being an expat? I have my own set of friends who are now in UAE, Cuba, Australia, UK and Canada.
I am a bit envious about their stories. I want to see the world like them. I want to experience being immersed in a culture for a long period of time…where time is never a problem.
Upon reflection, I realized that it would be very possible for me to travel the world (even twice), but not as a full time traveller like my couchsurfing and expat friends. Here are the main reasons why:
1. I have an awesome job. Yeah! Even though I consider my job as one of those 8-5s, it is a cool 8-5. I get to meet cool people, get to see local places, get to talk a lot, get to inspire people, get to see people getting richer, etc.. And the best thing about my job is that I get to serve the country, even in my own little way. Though my job cannot really fund a long term travel, I can still save a few bucks for short term trips. Bragging aside, In the span of 3 years being with the best government agency ever, I was able to travel half of the Philippines, explored 5 countries and expecting 3 more countries in the next few months. It’s cool. If you think you have a cool job, why quit? Some 8-5s are undoubtedly good.
2. I am an only child. Yes, what a crappy reason right? But for me, it means a lot. I’m coming clean: I cannot leave my parents for a long term travel. Probably this is the side effects of growing up as a spoiled brat. On the other hand, I am not forced to be with them. It’s just that I love them and they are more important than my travels. At the end of the day, it will always be family; it will always be relationships. Last year, my parents bought some backpacks and traveled with me in Cambodia and Thailand. Can you afford to leave such cool parents? Not me.
Sometimes, I just can’t organize my thoughts. I say things out of the blue. “Mom, Dad, I am going to work abroad. I don’t know where, I don’t know how, but life is getting harder everyday. My work cannot fund my travels. My friends are all out there. I am 23 and I need to go on with my own life. Blah. Blah. Blah.”. After saying it, I feel horrible. It doesn’t feel right. I think its because life is not really that hard. I am lying to myself, or probably trying to compare myself with friends who are out there, having the best time of their lives.
Don’t go with the flow. Listen to yourself. You have your own story to tell.
Probably my travel story would be unique. I don’t know. It’s going to be a surprise. But for now, long-term travels is not for me. See you in Hanoi this September!