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…”
– 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?
Where 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
also 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!
4. "... 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!
5. "... 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.
- 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.
7. "... 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.
8. "... 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.
Whether 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?
When Mike and I finally transitioned from "we should really travel some day" to "