Long before I decided to embark on this journey, but definitely during the time I talked about wanting to do it, I received an email from one of my best friends. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but I’m guessing he had been pondering this for a while. It was a relatively short message, sharing his concern that by leaving to travel for so long that I was actually running away and hiding from something. Sure, there were a few things in life at that time that weren’t the easiest to contend with, but they certainly weren’t making me run for the hills either.
I appreciated his desire to challenge me to assess my motives and make sure they weren’t centered around withdrawing from the present. I wondered if it would be selfish to leave my friends and family to travel and fulfill a dream. Would I be letting someone down? Did someone need me here more than I thought I needed to do this for myself?
Last fall, I came across an article from The Professional Hobo, and Nora shares that for her, full-time travel is an act of engaging with others — not one of withdrawal. Though it may not seem like the responsible or culturally expected thing to do, long-term travel does not mean you are disengaging from the people and issues you care about. It can mean the very opposite.
I will certainly miss birthdays, national and family holidays, special events, late-night conversations, hugs, laughing at inside jokes til your sides hurt, and many small but intimate moments with friends and family while I’m away. But it won’t be because I’ve chosen to run away from anything. It’s because I’ve decided to pursue something worth chasing. And knowing that for a year or so, loved ones will be an email, phone call, IM, or video chat away.
Still think we’re on the run? Check out Runaway Jane’s article on why traveling is not running away.