By , August 14, 2011 4:05 pm

When Mike and I finally transitioned from “we should really travel some day” to “we are definitely going to do this thing,” our first step was to break the news to our friends and loved ones. We were a little nervous about telling everyone, because we weren’t sure what their reactions would be. Now, more than a year later, we’re introduced to new people as the couple that quit their jobs to travel the world.  And we’ve pretty much got the reactions figured out:

“So you’re traveling, eh?  That’s…”

Excited1.  “…exciting!” – Most people seem genuinely happy and excited for us when we tell them about our trip plans.  They wish us well and that’s that.

2.  “… incredibly interesting.” – While this response is tied closely to #1, some people are so intrigued that they want to know every detail… Why did we quit our jobs?  Why did we decide to do this?  Was it a hard decision?  InterestedWhere are we starting?  What’s our itinerary?  Why don’t we have a solid itinerary?  How long will we be gone for?  Will we come back at all? And so on, and so on.  We may not always have the answers, but since travelling is pretty much all that we think about lately, neither of us mind going on and on about the trip.

3. “…something I’ve always wanted to do” – It seems that the majority of the population have considered travelling long term at some point in their lives and many still haven’t given up on their dream.  Having said this, many Always Wanted Toalso seem content to live vicariously through our travels (or at least, so they say).  I’m actually surprised by how many people I meet that have done one-year stints in various countries, and yet don’t consider themselves to have traveled much.  Personally, I think spending a year working in a single foreign country is still traveling – it’s just slow traveling… the best kind!

Just Like4.  “… just like my friend/cousin/niece/nephew/daughter/son” – Everyone we talk to knows someone that is currently traveling or has recently traveled for at least a year.  Like #3, most of these travelers have spent a year or more working in a foreign country.  The biggest theme among these travelers?  They all seem to be 18 – 24 years old… which kind of makes me feel old.  Better late than never, I guess!

Scary5. “… scary!” – The prevalence of this reaction kind of took me by surprise.  I had no idea there was so much fear of new places out there.  A lot of people view travel as a series of beach resorts and have a genuine fear of what’s beyond the tourist path.  Whether it’s the latest violence in Mexico to hit the headlines or a story about friends that traveled to Colombia a decade ago and found it too dangerous, there’s no shortage of fear out there.  And we hear all about it.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are a lot of scary places out there.  But some of them are in my own neighbourhood… there are areas of Regina that I wouldn’t walk through alone at night, and I’m sure there will be areas of cities or entire regions that it won’t be safe to travel through.  I’m not going to be stupid, but I’m not going to let fear unnecessarily limit my trip either.

Crazy6. “…crazy!” – Sometimes people flat out tell us we’re nuts and other times they express it with more subtlety.  Some of the people we know can’t get over the fact that we left our debt-free lives, sold our house and belongings, left our stable careers with pensions, and are traveling this young.  Others think we should be committed for wanting to spend a year or more living out of a backpack and staying in hostels.  Regardless of how “crazy” it might seem for others, this is the right time for Mike and I to travel so we have no regrets.

Jealous7.  “… great for your guys.” Hmmm… I could probably use a SarcMark here.  You know… the punctuation mark used to emphasize a sarcastic phrase.  But I’m not sure if it’s Linux compatible.  So, instead, I’ll just point out that this is a sarcastic response.  Sometimes we encounter people who are downright jealous of our plans.  So jealous that they can’t help but point out how not everyone can afford to do what we’re doing and we should consider ourselves lucky.  But luck has nothing to do with it.  We’ve worked for what we’ve got and made conscious decisions to save the necessary money.  Sometimes it’s the little decisions that count… like choosing not to eat out even though we don’t feel like cooking or telling yourself you don’t need that new shirt, DVD, CD, etc.  And traveling doesn’t have to cost a fortune – you can travel to the same city (for example, Cancun… our starting point) and spend a few dollars on accommodation and food or spend several hundred in the same time frame.  I refuse to feel bad about my travel plans and I refuse to admit that we are where we are in our lives because of dumb luck.

Sad8.  “… sad : ( ” This response often comes after the others and, to be fair, was quite expected.  I’d be a little concerned if no one I knew felt a little bit of sadness about my departure for an undetermined length of time.

Regardless of whether the people we know and meet think we’re fascinating, exciting, inspiring, enviable, certifiably nuts, or reckless, the one overwhelming response is support. SupportWhether or not they agree with us and our reasons, our friends and family are incredibly supportive of our plans (or lack thereof).   I truly feel loved and know I have a great group of people to return to.

What do you think of our decision?  Or, if you are traveling or have traveled long term, how did people react to you?

10 Responses to “Reactions To Our RTW Travel Plans”

  1. Ange says:

    I think you guys are living the dream, nothing wrong with that. It’s a fantastic opportunity and it’s great that you two are enjoying yourselves so much. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to travel for a year or more or not being able to. I almost went to China for a year when my mom was very ill and going through chemo, it was one of the smartest and best decisions of my life to not go. It’s rare that timing like this happens and the time is definitely right for you guys. Hope you both continue to have loads of fun.

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      Thanks Ange, we are still having a blast, and it was definitely nice how things worked out for us. I hear you’ve got your own little adventure growing at home.

  2. Jodi says:

    I might be biased, but I believe that any travel related dream should be made a reality! Travel is awesome, but those of us who decide to do it, sacrifice a lot most of the times. People don’t always understand, but if this is what you dream about almost every night, you need no other reason. Do it! Happy Travels!!

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      Well said, now that I’ve been on the road a little while it astonishes me how accessible travelling is. It really is amazing how far you can go with just a few dollars. That said, we do miss our family, friends, and cat. An income was nice as well…

  3. Mike Hehn says:

    Yeah was alittle saddening, but dude you guys will have uber adventures and have stories to share as you go and when you return/visit eventually.

    i wholly expect awesomeness to continue and the odd awesome trinket

    continue to journey on my friends, and skirt the edge but never fall off, cause i really dont want you to discover the bungie cords hidden on you along with the Gps 8^P

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      Hmm, I hope you didn’t hide the gps in my water bottle, because I lost that…

      I’m not sure when we’ll be back to visit, but it’ll happen.

  4. Kyle says:

    I am a number 2. I would totally drill you with questions. Buuuut, to be fair, I’m that way with everybody, not just those who travel. I enjoy learning all about people’s life stories 🙂

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      I liked number 2’s. I could talk for days about our upcoming trip to anyone who would feign interest. Nothing like being a man with a one track mind.

  5. Megan says:

    I had some really bizarre reactions to my trip…one ‘friend’ actually lectured me on how selfish I was being and how I was ruining my life and would come home with no friends etc etc. Glad to hear that you’ve mostly been supported in your decision!

    • Mike Lenzen says:

      That is bizarre. I don’t think anyone referred to us (at least to our face) as being selfish. I guess they really didn’t want you to go.

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