It’s never a “good time” to travel.

4 Oct

I’m extremely frustrated right now.

There is and endless supply of movies and books out there with the theme of “Follow your dreams! Ignore others and do your own thing!” yet all this is just platitudinal dribble. It’s extremely hard to do that in real life. What’s harder still is when the thing trying to hold you back is well meaning people such as family and friends. Almost none of my friends/family are enthusiastic about my plans to leave the country. They’ll grudgingly wish me luck, but none of them are excited about it like I am. It really hurts to be the only one passionate about something and to have to constantly endure the people in your life either showing no interest or going as far as to shoot you down. The resistance is like trying to walk through water and it takes every ounce of your effort not to give in and stop fighting for what you want.

The most recent way in which I’ve run into this resistance is in regards to a trip I’m planning to Alaska.

One of the things I’ve wanted to see for a very long time is the Aurora Borealis, the northern lights. I want to see them before I leave North America in a few months. Trying to get from the southern hemisphere back to the northern hemisphere, to a location high enough in longitude to have a decent chance of seeing them would be a massive pain in the ass, extremely expensive, and completely out of any direction I’d normally be going. I have a much better shot of making my dream come true while I’m at least on the same continent as where I’m trying to fly to.

Not surprisingly, I get just about nothing but reasons why I shouldn’t go. There are always reasons not to do something. I feel that most people waste their entire lives away because of all the reasons they invent for themselves not to experience things. Job commitments, social commitments, soccer practice, errands, fear of the unknown, fear of the work and effort to plan something out, the list goes on. Point is, you can always find some reason not to travel.

That’s what I’m getting right now from friends and family, reasons not to just pick up and go to Alaska. I think that when I describe to them what I’m planning on doing, they naturally (and subconsciously) imagine themselves doing what I’m describing and decide it’s not for them. Based off of that they then tell me all the reasons why they wouldn’t do it. But that’s the thing. They aren’t doing it. I am. I’m not asking them to come. I’m not asking them to leave their obligations and go with me. Their objections to why they wouldn’t want to do something are invalid because I’m not them!

Right now the most important thing in my life is freedom and the possibility it brings. I need to always at least have the possibility of just picking up and leaving, otherwise I feel trapped. I might not always act on that possibility, but it’s extremely comforting to me to have it there. It might mean that I won’t ever own a big house, or drive a luxury car, or have a true career, but in my eyes those items are prisons. Anything that holds you in place and removes the possibility of spontaneous travel is a prison. You might disagree and think I’m silly, but hey, don’t worry! If you’re happy with your car, your house, and your career then more power to you. I want people to be happy. It’s just that what you’re doing isn’t for me. I don’t want to spend vast majority of my one shot at existence in an office building trying to pay off a mortgage.  I’d rather see and experience as much of this planet as possible before I die.

In regards to my trip to Alaska, my parents are well meaning but they’re frustratingly off the mark. My mother worries about everything and is uncomfortable with me flying to the other side of the continent, to a place I’ve never been before, to go out and do things all on my own. She seems to have forgotten that I’ve done this several times before, and in other countries to boot! I’m not a teenager, I’m perfectly capable of handling myself in foreign situations. Perfect example: I did a study abroad in the North of England a few summers ago. I had never been to that part of the UK before and there were plenty of places outside of my immediate city that I wanted to visit. Not only was I able to adapt perfectly well to my new surroundings, I even researched, arranged, and went on several excursions to neighboring parts of the country, often involving train and bus transfers. This stuff doesn’t bother me, I enjoy it.

Yet my mother would prefer that I take a guided tour with a group. I’ve looked at ten different groups and they all lead you around by the nose from one location to another all while making sure you’re fed, safe, and warm like cattle. That’s not what I want. I don’t want the restrictions of having other people plan everything for me. I don’t want the disconnect that comes from being safely quarantined from the real world, and I sure as hell don’t want to pay extra for it. Those tours are best aimed at elderly retired couples or rich business people who are generally aloof and too busy/uncomfortable with planning things on the fly.

My father has been trying to help look at flights, but has told me that he thinks I should just wait and try to do this another time, that I shouldn’t take off work, and that the plane tickets are just going to get more expensive the closer I book to my departure date. The last bit is true, but I don’t really have a choice.

Going up to Alaska to see the Aurora depends entirely on the weather, both space and terrestrial. There needs to be an adequate level of solar activity in order to produce the aurora. At the same time it needs to be clear enough outside to see it in the first place. If both types of weather don’t line up, there’s no point in going. Being that this is the case, I can’t book a flight 2 weeks in advance without knowing if the weather will cooperate. I need to wait till the week of to see if what probability I’m looking at. I really am itching to go this month because October is statistically the 2nd most active month in the year for Auroras. I was going to go earlier, but then I got my job and couldn’t take off the first week of work. If I don’t go this month and shoot instead for the first weekend in November, I’ll miss my mother’s birthday. If I wait till work lets out for fall break (I work in a school) then I’ll miss Thanksgiving. It’s the same problem as there’s never a good time to go on a diet because there’s always a holiday, or birthday party, or something right around the corner. There’s never a “good time” to travel. Weather permitting, I’m going to try and stick to my guns and go.

6 Responses to “It’s never a “good time” to travel.”

  1. Ness October 5, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    Argh, I totally feel your frustration. People are well-meaning most of the time but I really believe they take it (whether they’d admit it) as an insult to their own choices in life that you don’t want the same things or measure success and meaning the same way. Quite honestly, I think some of them are just jealous! They give in to the ladder climbing and can’t get off. Good on you for trying, at least you can say you did. Lots of people asked me if I was moving to NZ to marry my boyfriend! Like I couldn’t move all that way just to live there and have my own life, and be close to someone I love. It’s easy to say that you just gotta be assertive about your own needs but the constant stream of negativity and unsolicited advice can wear you down. At the end of the day what keeps me going is knowing that I don’t want to wake up one day in a life other people made for me with their judgment… So yeah, it’s not easy to ‘just do it’, but it might be so necessary to your health and wellbeing that it’s enough. Time for you to have your adventure D.

  2. Ness October 5, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    Aaaand… in a possibly annoying double-post, can I also just add that their reactions might be patronising and negative but they might not even really be about you. A lot of people are living within the boundaries of their fear and their idea of what is good and possible or not is influenced by this. It might sound trite, but I really believe it’s a perspective thing. So maybe try not to take those things to heart, because it’s not a reflection of your own capability, just their fears.

    • godlesspaladin October 5, 2012 at 5:38 am #

      Thank’s for the support, from both of you. It’s really refreshing. 🙂

  3. slrman October 5, 2012 at 5:02 am #

    The best, most influential book I have ever read has been Richard Bach’s “Illusions, Confessions of a Reluctant Messiah”. IN it were many small and large pieces of wisdom. One of the best was, “The more you argue for your limitations, the more real they will be.” (not an exact quote)

    You’re right about people telling you the reasons they would not do something, then assigning those as valid reasons for you.

    I also understand about your mother’s attitude. My own mother always managed to see only the worst possible outcome from everything. Every time I changed a job, moved, even across town, she could imagine nothing but disaster from it. Yet, I survived it all, have lived a wonderful life and had more adventures and fun than most. True I have never become wealthy, but I have also never starved. I have always had a place to live, and enough for the necessities.

    I can honestly say, the best times are when I had the fewest possessions. At different times, I have lived on a 25′ sailboat and a 28′ motor home. Those were some of the best times. WIth either, I could decide to sail or drive away for a day, week or a month, and in a couple of hours be on my way.

    You have the right idea – freedom. Nothing is as precious or as easily lost.

  4. Mister_Higgins October 7, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    I haven’t had a chance to see the aurora but alaska itself is beautiful. Even if you get up there and miss the aurora denali is breathtaking.

    • slrman October 7, 2012 at 8:49 am #

      You’re right. A few years ago, I took a two-week trip in Alaska and Denali was one of the high points. (No pun intended)

      But most of it was amazing. If it were not for the winters, I’d have considered moving there. My idea of winter is that, “All ice belongs in a glass.” Maybe that’s why I live at 7ºS 34.5ºW. 😉

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