Whenever we meet new people on the road, inevitably the conversation comes around to how long we’ve been traveling, how long do we plan to do it, and how are we supporting this lifestyle.
For D, this is easy to answer: I own an online business.
For me, I fumble around with variations of “oh, I saved up and quit my job to travel.” I guess even in these fleeting moments with strangers, I don’t want to come across as someone whose boyfriend supports her glamorous lifestyle. I find myself trying to justify it… I was an engineer before. I had a really respectable job. I saved a bunch of money. I do work online now too. I write.
Oh that’s cool. Like for an online magazine?
Errrr no… Just for my blog.
I don’t mention that I don’t actually get paid for it and then I quickly change the subject.
The truth is that D does support our lifestyle. I’ve mentioned it a bit here and there, but I’ve been scared to publicly state this before… as if admitting this would no longer make me an inspiration for those also wanting to live a life of travel. Because what kind of inspiration would I be if I didn’t create this life through my own hard work? Sure, I have savings and I use that to help pay our expenses, but that is finite. D is the one who works hard everyday so that we can be well sheltered and fed, and keep on traveling.
I don’t know how I got so lucky. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve all of this.
And what do I do all day? I eat. I take pictures. I watch TV. I play Candy Crush. I do laundry. I read. And I write, though my folder of many half written drafts prove that I’m horribly unproductive.
And I spend an embarrassing amount of time playing puzzles on the Magic Puzzle app on my iPad (I’m secretly like an 80 year old trapped inside a (late) 20-something body). It’s cathartic. I love the way you start out with a blank canvas, and slowly fill in the pieces, and when the last piece clicks into place, a complete picture emerges.
Not to brag, but I’m good at this. I see shapes, colors, and patterns clearly and easily find where each piece belongs. But I cannot piece together the pieces of my life to form a complete picture – a purpose.
One thing I’ve been struggling with more and more is the lack of purpose. When I started this journey, I felt so alive. I was living a life that most people wish they had. I was happier than I ever thought could be possible. I thought I had unlocked the purpose of life: to live it to the fullest.
But after coming off that initial high, I realized that I don’t live in a fairy tale and real people do things with their lives. Surely, I could be doing more with my life?
At what point is just traveling no longer enough?
The fact that I don’t contribute financially (with income) to our life makes me feel like a useless human being. Back when I had a job, I didn’t particularly like it, but at least I was contributing to society and supporting myself. In my new role as traveler and girlfriend, I’d like to think that I take care of D. But the truth is that he takes care of me.
Some days, I feel like I’m just simply drifting through life, getting dumber and dumber. I don’t live more than a day into the future. I’m no longer sure of what my future plans look like. When you’re no longer required to do things – to work, to put on makeup, to socialize, or hell, even to wake up – you, well, stop doing things. And the less I do, the less I motivated I become.
Don’t get me wrong, I still wake up everyday and can’t believe that this is my life now. This is difficult to write about because I don’t want this to come out as ungrateful. I don’t want it to come across like, “All I do is travel to all these exotic places and I don’t have to work, but I still want to earn money. Poor me!”
I guess really I’m just searching for a greater purpose, whether that involves earning income or not. I would like to believe that I still have value even without a respectable job. And I would like to believe that I still have something to offer the world.
I wish I could now offer up a neat little resolution. But I don’t have one of those today. I’m still searching. But one thing I do know: I may have stumbled into this life, but I don’t ever want to take it for granted. I’m incredibly blessed with freedom, and I will not while it away doing nothing. So I will continue to explore, and learn, and write, and maybe along the way, I’ll pick up the pieces to complete my life.