“So, where are you off to this weekend?”
By now, I’m used to people asking me where I am traveling to next. The ones closest to me don’t even ask anymore whether I’ll be home when I’m off work. They know the backpack is waiting for me next to my door, and a travel plan has already been made weeks, maybe months in advance. They know me and are used to this. Not everyone understands this, though.
Living in a place where people don’t travel much, it is difficult for a lot of them to understand why you would do this. I get a lot of questions from such people – questions like: “Why are you willing to spend so much money on traveling, when you could be buying things, or saving even more?”
Does this sound familiar to you? I know a lot of people get these same questions. There was a time when I would try to answer these questions – time and time again. I would try to explain to these people that I’d rather have memories than things, that there is a warm feeling spreading through me every time I wander through unknown places that no amount of “stuff” could give me.
But then, only more questions would follow: “How do you manage to save so much money and go to Finland?” Well, I travel on a budget. “But why do you spend all your days off traveling?” The questions just go on and on. Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of people out there who believe that your choice to travel is their business.
However, over time, I have learned that it really doesn’t matter whether people understand your urge to travel. It doesn’t matter if your co-workers tease you about it, or your acquaintances tell you they find it absurd, or your parents grumble that you travel too much.
I travel because this is the way I want to live. I travel because I like meeting new people, learning new things.
I travel because, ultimately, it makes me a better and happier person. Because every step towards the unknown is a new adventure, and every time my very small knowledge of Finnish pushes me towards pronouncing something wrong, a polite Finn will correct me and then start talking to me about their land.
Every “grazie” I will say to an Italian will grant me a warm smile, and, wow, I can finally read those signs in German next time I’m in Munich!
I travel for the small things: the smells, the sounds, the different weather.
I travel for the big things: the monuments, the history, the legacy of each country.
What I do not travel for, however, is answering for myself to people that cannot and will not understand. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that is absolutely fine. It does not mean, however, that you have to explain yourself for your choices.
You are allowed to live however you find best; you are allowed to do the things that make you happy.
If that is being a wanderer, go pack your bag and live your next adventures with all your heart. You have no reason to feel guilty because others don’t understand. Smile, and go board that plane!
This is a guest post by Ioanna Tatari.
Ioanna loves two things the most; reading and traveling. Her personal motto is “dive into the deep”, and , true to that, she “escapes” as often as possible, whether by plane, train or car. Italy is by far her favorite destination, but her wish is to travel to as many places as possible throughout her life.