Am I choosing travel over love?

I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone

A lot of people think I have the perfect job, and in my opinion I do – just not in the way people tend to think. I travel the world, I write about it, I run my own business. I am my own boss. Life is good. In fact, other than not having enough time to dedicate to all the creative projects I would like to, there is not really anything bad about what I do other than (sometimes) the pay, but then I didn’t choose this career for the money. I choose it because it’s what I love to do. Money alone does not make me happy.

The problem sometimes when you love your job as much as I do though is that you just can’t give it up. It becomes part of your being, your identity, and who you really are. Essentially what I’m saying is that I can’t stop travelling and I can’t stop blogging. I may come home from time to time or spend a lot of time in one particular place for a period of time, but it’s for a period of time. I will always eventually move on. It’s just become a part of my nature and very being.

So when you’re faced with a guy who is unwilling or unable to up sticks and move wherever the wind should take him, and a girl who most definitely will up sticks every time the wind should take her, it sort of puts you in a bad place for forming any kind of long-term relationship. I’m lucky if I’ve had anything recently that’s lasted more than 3 months. I’ve therefore come to the conclusion that the only slight hope of me ever having a long term relationship in the future is to find someone who is willing and able to travel as much as I do. To find someone like that I’m guessing they’d have to be running their own online business, most probably a blogger too. That’s a very small pool of people.

So far within the travel blogging and digital nomad communities I have formed many cherished friendships. What I have not really found yet is someone that I’ve wanted to start dating or who has necessarily wanted to start dating me. And to be honest I’ve not really been looking. I most probably wouldn’t even notice if someone was indeed interested in me because I’m so caught up in my own wee bubble of what I’m doing and where I’m headed in my career. Which is strange because in my younger years I once longed for someone to hold. When I fell in love (which has happened to me twice in my life so far and both times ended catastrophically) I became so consumed in the guy (and in the latter case he became so consumed in me) that it wasn’t healthy for either of us. Every other aspect of my life would suffer as a result and some of the relationships with other friends and family that I had would become strained. I’ve now found that in finding what I love to do in a profession that consumes me, I no longer have such a need for a significant other. I mean, I would like one. It would be nice. I just don’t really feel like it’s the be all and end all anymore. I no longer fathom after Hollywood fairy tales that don’t actually exist.

Isn’t the point of life to be happy? Isn’t it all about feeling good and achieving the things you want to achieve surrounded by people who love you? And that’s the point I’m trying to make here in amongst all the ramblings of my own destitute love life. I have a family who love me and more friends in my life today than I’ve ever had. I do a job that I love which intertwines with the thing I love to do the most – travel. Sometimes when you’re in a relationship, especially the scary, over-dramatic, spending-every-day-with-one-another relationships I’ve had in the past, you become so consumed in your love for one another that you feel like you need each other, that your life without that person would be dreadful. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m only 24 and I’ve been in love twice. The second time was particularly catastrophic and may in part be the reason I’ve become so cynical these days, but I think what I’m realising as I get older is that you don’t need a relationship to be happy. You need to be happy within yourself first. Ok so maybe I’ve gone a bit Oprah on you, but it’s true. I see so many young girls chasing guys who treat them terribly and in the end you know it will never really make them happy. Not long term. You’ve got to find that happiness within yourself and within something that doesn’t rely on another person to make you feel good about yourself.

I suppose what I’m really getting at is exactly what the statement made by Robin Williams communicates (quoted at the top of this article). I used to think the worst thing in life was being all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone. Never a wiser word could have been spoken by Mr Williams. If it wasn’t for blogging and finding a career that I love I don’t think I would have realised this either.  Yet every now and again I still question whether I should be looking for a relationship. I will be 25 later this year. I’m coming to that age where society thinks I should be thinking of settling down, getting a house, and popping out a few kids. But then, society also says that I should be working a 9 to 5 job that I hate so I can fill my life with expensive possessions that will never quite make me feel satisfied. So maybe, just maybe, sometimes society talks a lot of shit.

22 Responses to “Am I choosing travel over love?”

  1. Jamie says:

    Great article Jane! Society talks a lot of shit! Ha ha!

  2. Rosemary says:

    Well said, I was trying to explain just this to somebody last night. That i would love to be in a relationship, but i was unwilling to be in a relationship just for the sake of it. I have other things in my life that are important to me as well. I would like to concentrate on them rather than chase love again.

    Being happy is far more important than not being alone.

  3. Hey, Jane. From the benefit of “the other side of 25, 35, 45 but not yet 55”, I’d say that you may feel that 25 is a watershed. But it’s just one of many. Love will find you when you don’t look too hard. Big life-changing decisions can be made at any age. You are at the forefront of a new wave of ways to live your life outwith certain parts of the system. Go girl!
    At 25 I was travelling and living in a different country, and there I was astounded to find a friend who was living her whole life thinking she was incomplete without a man. It taught me that it wasn’t the way I wanted to be. I hope I taught her that she should get out there and explore some more. Keep travelling and weaving your stories. The rest will come when you’re ready.

  4. Emilia says:

    As someone who is about to turn 30, I found that I’ve been reflecting a lot on my 20s. I really wanted a relationship when I was younger, and well, I still would, but only with the right person. Still waiting on love, but working on myself.

    I think I’m a lot happier now than I was in my early 20s and living in Austria for a year was one of the best decisions I could make.

  5. Amanda says:

    Love this post, Jane! I can relate to it so much. I, too, have come to the conclusion that it would be very hard for me to seriously date someone who wasn’t as big of a traveler as me. I’ve done it in the past, and it just has never worked out. I’ve never had terrible relationships, per se, but I’ve yet to find the “right fit.” It’ll find me one of these days. And, until then, I’m just trying to enjoy life as best I can.

    What you’ve said about happiness and being happy with who you are first before you can find happiness with another person is something I strongly believe in, too. Well said, lady!

  6. Megan says:

    I can really relate to this Jane. That was me at 24. And 25. and every year since (I’m 28 next week). Even when I have been settled, I’ve always known it wouldn’t last for long, so relationships would have been a complication.

    So all my friends are getting married and having kids and doing other “grown up” things. But here’s my take on it. I think the current stats say 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce so that’s I have a 50% chance of being unhappy at the end of any possible marriage. But I have a 99.9% chance of being utterly happy at the end of travelling. I’ll take those odds 🙂

  7. Roni Faida says:

    In my 20’s I was hardly ready to settle down, I was too busy traveling. I met some great men along the way but there was so much I wanted to do I couldn’t possibly think about stopping. I’m older now and I am ready to settle down because I’m ready, and I’ve experienced life, I know EXACTLY who I am which I think is crucial for a good marriage mate.

    I don’t have any regrets about not stopping traveling when I was your age. I think when we do all that we can while we are young and single, when you are ready to settle down you can do just that–settle down. You won’t feel like you have given up anything because you will have done all that you wanted to do. I am utterly happy with my travel choices and I have seen and experienced things over the past 20 years that other people only dream about, and I think that will make me a better spouse when the time comes.

    Keep traveling! It will continue to make you a better person and who you eventually choose to love will appreciate you even more for it.

  8. Rob says:

    I’ve been pondering this the last hour or two. In my long life (I’ve got 20 years on you) I’ve observed that I only meet interesting women when I’m deeply involved doing the things I love. Never when I’m “looking”. I can’t imagine that’s a gender-specific phenomenon.

    I have female friends who are in their 30s and single, and while there’s a little bit of societal pressure on them to settle down and breed, it just doesn’t fit into their lives and so they don’t. Life is all about choices, and nobody gets to have it all.

    If you spend six months a year in casual relationships that end when you move on, you’re getting more happy time than a lot of people who have settled down.

    Basically .. don’t worry about it. you’re doing what you want. Not a lot of people can say that.

  9. Sarah says:

    To answer your question, you are choosing both! You’re just choosing to love yourself enough to make yourself happy, instead of compromising your own goals and dreams to have a man.

    As I near 40 I sometimes wonder if I should have “tried harder” when I was younger to find a husband, have kids, etc. But every time I started to get involved with someone I would find myself thinking of all the goals I had for myself that I would have to give up for that person who didn’t share (and often disparaged) my dreams. This is no way to live a life that is already too short to do all the things we wish for ourselves! So keep living life YOUR way.

    By the way, I never understood this concept of finding a partner to “complete” oneself. I think I’m more than complete all on my own, and who wants to be with a man so incomplete that he needs ME to complete HIM? Perhaps some of us stay happily single because we want someone who isn’t incomplete, and there seems to be a shortage of those…

    Anyway, maybe you’ll meet someone who shares your passions and won’t try to persuade you to give them up, or maybe you’ll just be the most interesting person in your friends’ lives, the one they all secretly envy for your unwillingness to subvert your dreams. Either way, you win!

  10. Jane says:

    Thank you to everyone who has commented so far. You have actually genuinely helped me! 🙂

  11. Larissa says:

    You have chosen a different path than most, but it is YOUR path. Travel is what makes you the person you are. I don’t view it as choosing travel over love, because to give up travel would be giving up a critical part of yourself. When you meet the right person, it will be because he loves you for what you ARE, not for the fact that you chose to sit at home and be “found”.

    One of the things that drew Michael and I together was our love of travel. . . and you know where that got us 😉 (and that was 26 years ago. . . ) so you CAN have both!

  12. Sammi says:

    amen to this.

    i think you (and i) are still young enough to do whatever we like. sod society, if we listened to everything they said we wouldn’t eat ever either.

    strong independent women are what we are, and we have to do what makes us happy.

    do what you love, and everything else will fall into place as and when it’s meant to.

  13. Wandergirl says:

    Well said! Society does talk a lot of shit. I’m 25 now, and even though I’ve done the married thing, it still feels like people are looking at me quizzically, wondering when I’m going to grow up and really settle down. Like at 25 a switch goes on and you’re suddenly an “adult.” But I still cringe at the idea of settling down permanently, having kids, or buying a house. I can’t even bring myself to get a dog! When people mention these things to me, I’m like “what?! I’m 25! I’m too young for this shit!” I’m not ready to say ‘this is it’ and stick with it. That’s like – retirement. Maybe. And society seems to see this as some kind of character failing or deep-seated psychological issue. Like later in life I’ll really wish I hadn’t taken a risk and had instead invested in a split level home in the suburbs. Yeah right!

    My partner agrees with me, but if you haven’t found that person yet it’s not worth it! Ultimately, being with someone who doesn’t share your view of life or goals will make you feel alone and bitter anyway.

  14. Nicole says:

    Ah-ha! I take your concept and rebut it my favourite Scottish lass.

    I understand where you’re coming from – I feel the same way sometimes – but my logic is that perhaps it’s because you/I haven’t found ‘the one’. Maybe, you never know, when you meet them you’ll want to settle a little more whilst still having the ability to up and travel to which ever far flung country which scratches your travel itch, only time and age will tell.

    I like your comment about digital nomads but what about people who work as an ambassador, a consultate official (who have three-year contracts (generally) and then get moved to another country), a diplomat or a journalist (same fields… kinda!) – perhaps these could be your ‘one’… actually, if you get a diplomat pass them on to me, ok? 😉

    We’re different people so our cases are a little different, but here’s my take on your post (hope this is okay…) -> http://bittenbythetravelbug.com/travel-or-love-its-not-a-choice-between-one-or-the-other/

  15. Audrey says:

    I’m a firm believer that love will find you when you’re doing what you love. Keep at it, Jane. I think when the right one comes along he’ll either be a travel freak ready to join you, or he’ll be so madly in love that he’ll have no choice but to pack his bag and come along for the ride. In the meantime, keep going where the wind blows and do what you love. 😉

  16. Julio Moreno says:

    I think you ARE choosing travel over love…and I’m here to tell you, that’s OKAY! People will tell you that love is about sacrifices, compromise, etc…blah blah, I don’t believe it. Love is about being selfish first. First, find what you love to do and continue doing that. Then, through your hobbies and normal life, you will find someone who fits that lifestyle. Dont think you have to change who YOU are for anyone!

  17. deswie says:

    There is no contradiction between traveling and love. The two are complimentary, even.

  18. aunty kath says:

    What a vibrant young woman you are…society is not expecting anything of you, but to be a good citizen, and do what is your calling, and you are fortunate to have found it. I am a numerologist, and Im here to tell you we all have 4 distinct life stages- you are still in your first. Be not anxious for what is not in your life as yet. Other things will come, other needs, urges, later on when the time is right. Never give up on love- ask the universe out loud for what you want and it will send it to you. But for now, enjoy your life and work, for that is what you are meant to be doing now. ALL THAT WE HAVE IS NOW.Thankyou for your blog. K

  19. Marcia says:

    I totally understand this. I’ve cut down my travel a little in hope of sustaining a relationship, but I’m not going to give it up. Unfortunately, people think my “job” is to go on vacation all the time. Only travel writers realize that we are on “scheduled fun” and not partying!

  20. So true! Only thing is that you are getting 25 and me 30 soon LOL But a while ago I have made a decision, I will just go about my life, and as some said before, love will find you less expected!

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