Today I am lucky to have endless possibilities. I can find jobs online, rent an apartment on Craigslist or Airbnb, hop on a flight, find my way in most cities with GPS and make a living anywhere on the globe.
Sounds easy. So, I just gotta choose, right? In the process of choosing and searching I have encountered many memorable moments, a few challenges, and most importantly, I’ve grown.
The fact that I have not lived in a permanent place for the past three years is puzzling to my parents. They consider it highly inappropriate for someone my age to go back and forth between the U.S. and Costa Rica for extended periods of time. They say :”When are you going to grow up? Quit this silly yoga gig? When will you think about your 401K, settle down somewhere?”
Other people say:”Travel as much as you can. Now is the time. The experiences you gain from traveling are priceless.Don’t ever pull back from an opportunity, or pursuing further education just because you think it’s “too late.”
Some of my friends have settled now. They have kids. They no longer go to Burning Man, they don’t book vacations on a whim. Some of my friends have responsibilities, real stressful jobs that they need to be accountable for. They look at me with a hint of jealousy.
So why is my life so different? Am I just not getting the memo? Am I affected by the Peter Pan syndrome and don’t want to grow up?
The Responsible Thing To Do
Sometimes I wonder if I should quit my precarious yoga wages and get a grown-up job at Google. One where I wear a formal -and slightly sexy- outfit for the interview and spend hours on a resume and cover letter. Finally get some health benefit like an adult.
But what’s not what I want!
I have goals of building my yoga career and pursuing more travel. The only thing is, not living in one place has been translating into precarious financial means. You see, in this world, in my parent’s eyes, and hell, in mine too, money is success. If you have money, you have something to show for it.
And now that I’m young, it’s okay, that I live out of my car. It’s fun, that I crash with friends. But at what point does it become a little pathetic?
The one thing that keeps me going is the conviction that hard work and hassle always lead somewhere.
But sometimes this conviction gets blown out of proportion from my catholic background.
I hear voices in my head that say: don’t enjoy things excessively, don’t ask for more. You don’t have the funds to live a life jet setting around. Don’t dream too big, be content, says my mother.
Does that mean I should just settle in one place? Go on vacation once a year like everyone else, deal with cold weather, put away savings, finally buy a Vitamix? All the Lululemon pants I desire?
But then I think no. The hell with that. I’d trade all the Anthropologie items for the freedom to travel. If there’s anything the U.S. has taught me, is that anything is possible. There are people who create jobs building apps for dating. There are people that build a career out of selling yoga pants. If you can think it, you can make it happen.
I CAN study pre-law and then switch gears to become a successful yoga instructor. I CAN be good at any job I choose while traveling. I CAN work in Costa Rica at my dream place. I CAN sell out international yoga retreats. I CAN have it all, just not all at once.
Because in my case, it’s either stability in a more ordinary life, or uncertainty and freedom.
Meanwhile, I’ve made progress mitigating these two extremes.
I wanted to live everywhere; Israel, Argentina, Belize, Mexico, Arizona, France, Croatia. I thought: “Visiting a place for one week doesn’t do it for me. I need to live in it to really experience it.”
Then I realized that traveling all the time was exhausting. So I started narrowing down my destinations. I’ve sized-down my expectations and I started making lists of priorities.
I reflected about what I need and want. I realized that despite my craving for travel, I thrive on routine and stable relationships. But when I have those, I get antsy.
I look at Instagram and see pictures of Miami, Hawaii, Joshua Tree, and the grass all of a sudden becomes SO green on that side. I get restless and want to throw my stuff out the window, reach for my passport and book the first flight somewhere.
But I’ve realized that travel and stability can both be achieved if I only spend longer times in my chosen destinations. And if I keep going back to places where I already have connections.
Who said it’s not possible?
I learned not to give social media too much weight. I realized that Miami, Tulum, Sedona aren’t better than San Francisco,just different, and not necessarily easier.
Two years ago I didn’t pay my credit card. Now I’m paying it every month. Two years ago I wanted to live everywhere. Now I want to live in Costa Rica and the U.S. That’s progress. My mom doesn’t believe me, but it is.
I have faith in myself, in my abilities and that everything is going to work out. So I keep on moving, experiencing, and every month miraculously making my credit card payments.