Travellers Anonymous – A Support Group
By that I mean, they work respectable jobs earning a decent take-home that allows them to indulge in one of their passions – travelling.
If you have ever read lonely heart columns or descriptions of people on flat-sharing websites, you will find an abundance of fellow travellers. Travelling is one of the three hobbies that they list. Their job is not something they freely mention. Is it because they don’t like being pigeonholed? Accountants are boring, investment bankers are dicks, models are vapid (but would certainly brighten up the place).
Or is it that they hate their job, the mundane 9-5, weekly slog – the rat race.
Fight Club is often a movie quoted when listing your favourite movies of all time. The reason – escapism, rebelling against capitalism and sticking it to the man. Reverting to a time when we were free from conforming, multinationals, the acceptable path through life.
Now, don’t stop reading because you think I’m going to go into a diatribe on rebelling against the government or living a green existence. My point is that our holidays are a way, albeit short-lived, of not setting the alarm, wearing a suit and braving the commute in grey weather to return to a cold, dark apartment, dinner, rubbish tv and bed.
For 28 days a year (depending on what you signed up for), we can escape to warmer climes, wear shorts and flip-flops (thongs to my Aussie friends, jandals to my Kiwi friends) and drink beer all hours of the day. Most people I know only really read books when they are reclining by a pool or on a beach under a palm tree . The rat-race is but a distant memory.
We fail to hide our envy of those Westerners who have ditched their lives back home to open a hostel/surf shop/cafe in a new, brave, exciting world. ‘It’s hard work, but it was worth giving it up to start afresh and enjoy life for what it is’ they say.
Damn, why don’t I do that?!
BUMP. That’s reality giving you a jolt as the wheels touch down at Heathrow and you recognise the unmistakable grey skies of London.
What we need is a kick-up the arse to do one of two things.
- Suck it up and carry on. Everyone else is working hard to save to buy a house, have kids and ‘grow up’. Should be able to get a couple of holidays a year, maybe to Butlins or Disneyland depending on your salary.
- Take a grown-up gap year.
The latter option is proving increasingly popular, the likes of STA Travel jumping onboard and publishers producing guides specifically for those having a mid-life crisis. But how long is a gap year or sabbatical. Is it really just a year?
Send me your thoughts on starting a new chapter in your life by quitting your job and travelling. Or just join me in moaning about how we all wish we had the cojones to do it.