‘When are you going to settle down?’ is something I get asked a lot by people who have generally settled down themselves or live the sort of existence that society expects, e.g working 9-5, taking 4/5 weeks holiday per year etc…
So with only a couple of weeks to go before I head away again I thought I’d list some reasons why it’s difficult to settle down when you have a portable career.
1) Escape the winter
I am now convinced I suffer from SAD, perhaps not to the extent that some people do but if the skies are dark and when the days are short I am usually feeling pretty down. Even in the summer I have experienced this, made worse by the fact I have been living in the UK in a region that has it’s fair share of cloudy days! Nothing feels me with more positive energy than a sunny day.
2) Live in paradise
Paradise for many people is somewhere they go on holiday for two weeks e.g. a sun-kissed beach, tropical islands. Some will try and stay on and work there but will often find they are doing very long hours for very little pay and it becomes uneconomical and paradise is lost. Being able to choose where you live and still be able to work as much as you like is addictive and makes a 9 to 5 existence look like a prison sentence.
3) Financial reasons
As the cost of living goes up all over the World there is a huge advantage of living somewhere cheaper than your home country. Most places I visit are considerably cheaper than the UK for day to day living. Even living in nice hotels is cheaper than renting at home, but when you start searching for longer term apartments and living like locals then you can really make some serious savings.
4) Doing things I love in new places
Passions of mine include anything outdoors such as surfing and hiking. Luckily the UK has great National Parks and coastal areas with good surf, however part of the fun for me is discovering new places to surf and hike as I tend to get bored of doing the same walks or visiting the same break. I also prefer to be outdoors when it’s warm so year round destinations appeal more.
Although I usually travel on my own I never find it hard to meet new people and I particularly like making friends from far flung places. In my travels I have made many friends of all ages and from many different countries. Having wanderlust is usually enough in common to be at least temporary friends. Also getting to know locals is cool too and having friends in different countries can be a real bonus and act as a mini support network.
6) Discovering new cultures
One of the real pleasures of long term travel is exploring new cultures that are totally alien to what seems normal. Although the UK is very multi-cultural it’s not the same as going out and discovering new cultures for yourself. Such is the diversity of the world I don’t think you could possibly run out of new cultures to discover! The more you see the more you want to discover.
7) Not quite fitting in
A strong push reason and one that I have become more aware of over time. UK society and culture is very much about consumerism. We are urged to get into debt and in many cases spend beyond our means. Owning a house is an obsession, even if we can’t afford them, which is often the case.
I have always lived within my means and apart from a few gadgets I am not materialistic at all. Government’s want you to spend your money and make life difficult if you are not willing to play their way by inflating away any savings you have.
8) Falling in love?
One thing I agree with is that you are far more likely to meet someone with a similar personality when you are happier and doing the things you have a passion for, such as travel.