I’m sick of people telling me they are jealous of me or how “lucky” I am. I mean, it’s nice to know that I’m doing something worthy of being jealous of but I’ve always felt that jealousy is a weak emotion. I think that one of humanity’s biggest weaknesses is our inability to be happy for other people when they are successful. Secretly, we always want them to fail. Somehow it makes us feel as if we’re falling short of something or not living up to our potential. It’s this feeling of inadequacy, of constantly comparing ourselves to others, that doesn’t allow us to feel inspired by people who live their dreams. It’s that constant competition that our school system and society instills in us from a young age. Instead of judging ourselves against other people, we need to start realizing that everyone is different, has different skill sets and things to offer. People are simply good at different things. I’ve always been a quick learner but I’m a mediocre athlete and a terrible artist. I can’t play an instrument to save my life but I’m not a bad singer. But I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that it’s okay to do things because I enjoy them, not because I’m the best at them, or even good for that matter. I love to “try” to draw. I enjoy playing the ukulele in an extremely mediocre way because it’s fun. Jealousy stems from our inability to be happy for what others have and there is a strong difference between being envious and being jealous.
I’m not saying that everyone is jealous of travelers. I know that it may look like my life is carefree and simple but in all honesty, it takes a lot of work. Of course the payoff is rewarding and what you see on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat is mostly the positive picturesque side of my life, but it takes a lot of planning to get to where I am. A lot of time behind a computer writing, organizing, searching for airline tickets, signing up for frequent flier programs, rewards programs, and researching my next destination. It can be a lot of risk to travel as a female and sometimes I feel really lonely. I’ve had complete meltdowns in between destinations due to the simplest of things and other times been faced with extremely uncomfortable, awkward or unfortunate situations and smiled through it with complete ease. Traveling isn’t for the faint of heart but I can promise you it’ll teach you something. I can promise you that you’ll learn who you are; that you’ll grow to learn and respect other languages, cultures, opinions and ways of life. It’ll humble you and show you to check your privilege. Traveling taught me how lucky I am. I was aware of the privilege and opportunity I was given from birth but until I really started traveling did I realize where my place was in the world.
Yes, I was born with opportunity. I was born with a safety net to fall back on and the means to chase my dreams. But let me tell you something, most Americans are, compared to the rest of the world! I have met people who traveled from California to Vietnam and survived for months off less than 300 USD, that went from France to Thailand, got jobs, worked on farms, and worked hard off less than 600 USD. When people assume that they need 3,000-6,000 dollars to comfortably go on holiday, I would tell them they are crazy. Most of my friends assume traveling is expensive but it’s not. I don’t have equity, mortgages, houses, vehicles (until lately), furniture, animals, children, big screen televisions or the most expensive phone. What I want you to understand about that is that these things are choices! I don’t want children or a house, so I chose not to have them. I am not knocking anyone for wanting those things, I have best friends who raise amazing humans and are wonderful mothers and they love it! It is their choice, and what I want is for people to understand that everybody has choices, maybe not the same opportunities but we make choices every day that get us to where we are. It doesn’t matter how glamorous your life is or how “inspiring” your Instagram page looks. What matters is that you wake up every day and you love what you do and acknowledge your strengths. Stop comparing yourself to other people!
The one thing I had going that many don’t is that my grandparents paid for university. I was the first one in my family to graduate from college and as long as I maintained A’s, they supported me. I was able to save money to travel that way. But what I have now is experiences. I have a backpack and a scuba dive bag to my name. I feel safe and most happy when my life fits into 2 bags. Selling my house and my furniture was one of the most liberating feelings of my life. The big screen television you just bought for $3,000 could cover my travels for shy of 3 months. Let’s face it, your excuses on why you “can’t” travel are only that, excuses. I understand that you have children but I’ve met wonderful middle income families that travel with their kids. I’m sure it isn’t easy but it depends on how much it’s worth to you. I made traveling my priority and because of that I’m here. Stop telling me that you can’t and admit that you won’t. Admit that you’re scared, admit that if you took time off your job you’ve worked so hard at you might lose your position, admit that it would be too much effort to try and navigate the world with children in tow. Stop telling me you are jealous of me. Instead, tell me you’re envious, inspired, or happy. Say things like, “good for you”. Own up to your strengths and be happy with the life you’ve built. That’s what I want.
Yes I am blessed. I’m not “lucky.” I didn’t fall into this lifestyle, I knew what I wanted when I was 12 years old and I did everything I could to make it happen. I had a lot of support, a lot of opportunity, but it wasn’t “luck” that got me here. Stop putting that on me. Stop asking me to carry around the guilt of your jealousy. I am so honored that you are inspired. I hope that my lifestyle makes you want to try something new or chase your dreams! All I can ask of myself is to be authentic and honest. I fail a lot, I can promise you that. If I wasn’t scared to fail, if I wasn’t scared to try, I’d never know and you know what I hate more then failing? Wondering. Wondering, “what if” I had tried this, done that, voiced this? Wondering sucks. I refuse to fall guilty to it. But I also refuse to carry the fact that your jealousy should somehow belittle my lifestyle. Everyone has the hand they’re dealt. I had mine and if I’d felt that I needed to live up to societies standards of what “happiness” looks like, as something that’s always in the future and never in the present, I wouldn’t be writing you this. Experience is my priority, travel is my lifestyle. So please, be inspired, but don’t be jealous. It’s weak and you’re better than that. Find your bliss and live your truth. You’re worth it. You are not a tree, and if you don’t like where you are or who you are, rewrite your story. You owe it to yourself.