7 Years Of Travel, 7 Burning Questions

Posted by:     Tags:      Posted date:  May 17, 2011  |  17 Comments
Insert Drawing :)

May 15, 2011 was my 7th anniversary of leaving New Zealand, to go traveling “for a bit”. I haven’t been constantly on the move however, rather I’ve been nomadic. This migratory pattern has been based on a combination of access to work visas, whim and the price of local beer. So for the last 7 years, I’ve spent 6 months in USA, 2 years in UK, 1 year in Czech Republic, 2.5 years in Canada and most of the rest on ships.

It’s been fun. The great thing about slow travel is you build a base, meet people and you assimilate into the culture. It’s a bit like living a parallel universe version of yourself where you’re exotic. Cruise ships have been fun too. You also have a base and you experience a variety of travel. It’s also a bit like living in a parallel universe, where you lead a simple life, get drunk everyday and most of the women have mysteriously vanished.

Ultimately, every anniversary I seem to ask myself these same questions:

1. Am I doing the right thing?
Sometimes I’m not so sure. It’s liberating to have no roots but it’s also hard trying to stay grounded. I don’t want to end up being some weird hippy who talks to his seven cats all day and lives in a van.

2. Am I still happy?
I think I’m a pretty happy guy. Happy enough to smile at strangers but not so happy that it’s nauseating. Although when people express concern that I’m single, I get concerned that I’m not concerned. Or maybe I’m concerned but don’t know it. That’s concerning.

3. Shouldn’t future security be more important than present happiness?
There is so much emphasis within the travel community about living in the moment. But what about money for retirement? Admittedly that is a genuine consideration.

4. Shouldn’t I get a house, wife, 2.4 kids?
Family and friends tell me I need this. Maybe I do. I guess no one wants to be old and alone. But being young and stuck in cubicle sounds pretty sucky too.

5. Why can’t I just pick one place to live?
I don’t know, because it seems mediocre. Plus I get country ADD. I wish there was one place I could say with conviction that I want to live in forever. But there are too many interesting options to choose from.

6. Have I traveled for too long?
When you go traveling for 1-2 years people envy you. When you go traveling for 3-4 years people are impressed. When you go traveling longer than that people wonder what’s wrong with you. May I have traveled for too long, but I guess I just haven’t found a good enough reason to stop.

7. What am I trying to find?
This is a a question I get asked a lot. I’m not trying to find myself or love or even enlightenment. If anything, it’s to recapture that sense of wonder we had when we were children and when you see something new for the first time.

This time around, there’s a fair bit more doubt in my heart. Perhaps this will be my last year of nomadic travel. We shall see.

What questions to you ask yourself when traveling?

About Me

In 2004, I sold everything I owned and left New Zealand to go see the world. In that time, I've run with bulls in Pampolona, watched the Man burn at Black Rock City, volunteered at a special-needs summer camp in New York, hosted & couchsurfed with 100+ people, taught English in Prague, trained with Muay Thai fighters in Phuket, worked on 5 different cruise ships, hugged strangers on streets in 7 countries and this one time, I even hitchhiked naked (but that was back home, so that doesn't really count). I moved to Vancouver, BC in 2012, to embark on new adventures. It's nice here, I think I may stay awhile! Let's connect: @roymarvelous, facebook & RSS.

  • GreenTravelGirl

    I have wondered about retirement with a life of travel, how do people handle it? I'm not all that concerned with it right now, but maybe I should be hmmm. I did learn in an economics class that you should save money when you are younger so it confounds into more and more over time.
    My recent post First Day Working on a Cruise Ship

    • http://www.cruisesurfingz.com cruisesurfing

      Exactly. I do have some savings but not nearly enough I'm "supposed" to have!

  • http://advtraveladdict.blogspot.com Annj

    Great questions.. I find myself asking those questions a lot too, especially when it's time to return to 'regular' life and my mind starts to race with country ADD yet again.

    I think when you have felt the high of travelling, it's quite difficult to assimilate back into regular society. I've tried over and over again, and seem to fail each time, leaving for yet another destination. The key is perhaps to find someone who wants a similar lifestyle, that way some of those questions can be scratched off the list.
    My recent post Being an Independent Traveller – its really no big deal!

    • http://www.cruisesurfingz.com cruisesurfing

      Yeah I think that's it!

  • http://twitter.com/WalkaboutC @WalkaboutC

    You probably already know this but don't let what others think is the "path we are all supposed to follow" and their projecting that on you determine what is right for you. They ask those questions quite possibly out of their own fear. or thier desire to do the same thing you are but try impose those fears about doing it on you. If they can convince you of those fears then they can feel ok not doing it themselves….

    • http://www.cruisesurfingz.com cruisesurfing

      You're absolutely right! Just once in a while, I stop and think "what if they are right?" But then I just do what I want to do anyway :)

  • julesfredrick

    i tend to "search" for meaning, or enlightenment, on many trips, and the more i search, the more i realize that it isn't "out there". it's "in here". it's a tough pill to swallow for some of us.
    My recent post Wordless Wednesdays

    • http://www.cruisesurfingz.com cruisesurfing

      Yeah I agree. Enlightenment really is from within – but new experiences do seem to help contextualize it.

  • Robyn

    what are you doing to celebrate?

    • http://www.cruisesurfingz.com cruisesurfing

      traveling some more….ha!

  • http://www.cruisesurfingz.com cruisesurfing

    I think that's a pretty good philosophy – I hope so too :)

  • http://www.pinayonthemove.com Grace

    I'm where you are right now. I think I want the white cottage with the hubby, the dog and 2.5 kids but not until I finish traveling the world. Is that too much to ask?
    My recent post 8 Things I Love &amp Hate about America

    • http://www.cruisesurfingz.com cruisesurfing

      Perhaps. White cottages are harder to keep clean…

  • https://www.facebook.com/people/Zlatka-Palkovicova/649877223 Zlatka Palkovicova

    Funnily enough, I have plenty friends who are questionning their 'normal' life… so as it seems to me, it's just about questionning… I would say as long as you feel happy, things come in the right time. And the timing is so individual thing…

    BTW long time ago discovered, that best is not to listen to people's opinion about life if they're not happy with their own life… If they can't handle theirs, I guess their 'advice' is not really valuable. So I sticked to listening to people happy with their life… And they I decided what's best for me :P

    And about saving… in the world of internet, bonds, etc, why you just choose some 'stable' country and open some saving option over there? Just in case ;)

  • dave

    You really think this will be your last year of nomadic traveling?

    • http://roymarvelous.com Roy Marvelous

      I dunno. Most probably!

  • Kay

    Well, I think you never really truly get over been a traveler.

    I traveled for 2 years and now, 10 years on when I have a house and a “proper” job I dont really feel settled, as strange as it sounds I only feel at home when I am miles away with my backpack on and not a care in the world