People have recently begun to ask me how long I plan to continue travelling before I settle down somewhere. I have come to dread that phrase: “settle down”. It already sounds like something boring that I’ll be forced into doing; because that is what you are supposed to do as an adult. That definitely seems to be the expectation people have when they ask me when it will happen. It seems the “adventurous” life I am enjoying is supposed to come to a natural end when I work out whatever restlessness I am currently experiencing. However, I like my new lifestyle and I don’t really see why I should ever give it up and “settle” for anywhere for any reason.
Travelling in Europe is not comparable to travelling in North America. The costs are much lower and the distance between amazing destinations is much shorter. Also, I have the added security of an EU passport that ensures I can work anywhere I go, without the hassle of a work visa. My average flight cost (round trip), regardless of the amount of time I spend in a location, is usually around 50-70 Euro. However, it is often less and I have found round trip flights between 15-20 Euro. When flying becomes expensive, there is still the option of the bus, train, or sometimes driving.
Accommodation costs me anywhere between 0-50 Euro a night. I have stayed with friends and family, gone WWOOFing or met up with friends and family who had prearranged accommodation that has cost me nothing. In June, I will be camping with a friend in Italy for 8 Euro a night and then heading to Switzerland where we are paying 50-80 Euro a night for an Airbnb. Switzerland will be the most expensive country I have visited in Europe so far and yet it is still less expensive than a hotel in Toronto.
I have the time and the funds to continue travelling for the foreseeable future, so why should I stop? I am 23, I have a good education, job experiences, and a desire to succeed. But I know nothing about the world. The more I see of it the more I feel as if I have been deprived the most important part of my education. I need to learn about the world by engaging it. I cannot imagine stopping in one place and committing to living there, knowing there are so many places I have yet to explore and so many more experiences I still want to have.
The Germans have a word for this: “Fernweh”. It is the opposite of “Heimweh” or homesickness, and names a desire to see far off places you have never seen. In a word, it means wanderlust. I am not looking for a luxury experience or a budget experience, I want a cultural immersion in the mess that makes the world so incredibly complicated. I am not going to rush through it, or cheat myself out of quality experiences by trying to cram as many things into each day as possible. I want to go everywhere and see everything, but I am going to experience is actively, not passively.
I want to see the world and one day have something important and useful to say about it. It may never happen, but I want it to be an option. This may be the most important thing I ever write, or I may one day write a proposal to improve the lives of people living in a slum. I have no idea. But if you are reading this, whatever corner of the world you live in, stick around and I will do my best to share it all with you.
I am asking you to do more than just witness my travels, I want people to engage in them. Leave a comment, leave an argument or a piece of criticism. Disagree with me, share an experience, ask a question! I love answering questions. I want my blog to be a window, not a wall, and I invite you to open it and see a little bit more of the world with me.