The 11 pitfalls of life on the road
A few months ago I came across a new term that describes the lifestyle I’ve lead since 2001 rather well; location independence. I’ve since been hearing it everywhere and realized it’s something a lot of people dream of. Before you set about making that dream reality, please allow me to elaborate on what it’s really like.
11. Failure is NOT an option
As you have no skills or resume to fall back on. Your childhood friends are lawyers, accountants and managers in stable careers. They’re all gainfully employed in professions that equipped them with marketable skills other employers are willing to compensate them for performing were they to lose their current job. Yes, most of them hate their job and complain about it.
Yet it gives them a sense of purpose you as a perpetual globetrotter will never have!
More importantly, it gives them options. That’s another luxury you’ll never have. In your quest for adventure you’ve been left with precious little to whore out/market on your resume. Your only hope is you! Failure means having to crawl back to the cave you came from, starting all over at the bottom of the hierarchy with the added insult of being ten or twenty years older than the people you’ll be working next to at the assembly line. You’re fully aware of this and it leads to constant worrying, bouts of depression and even erratic behavior for those not mentally strong enough to deal with it.
10. Addiction to the road
This lifestyle is addictive as you’re searching for something that doesn’t exist; the place where you’ll be content and settle down. Since it doesn’t exist, yet you keep believing it does and that you may one day stumble upon it by traveling, you keep searching. This search is your addiction.
The search will never end and each time you find yourself enjoying a city or country just a little too much, you pack your bags and hit the road in search of something even better. I used to think this was just me but lately I’ve come to recognize this trait in everyone who’ve been on the road for a few years.
Since 2001 I’ve never spent more than 3 months in one location
When I lived in Australia I’d fly four times a year around the world or to Asia to spend half the year away. When I lived in Thailand I’d travel to other cities and neighboring countries almost every week. In the heat of the moment this is exciting, fun and spontaneous. Digg a little deeper and you’ll realize you can’t stop this behavior. The road is indeed addictive and you’ll grow restless when you ain’t on it!
9. New friends are not real friends
Over the years you accumulate acquaintances from all corners of the globe. The problem is, almost all of them will remain just that, mere acquaintances. None of them will front you money for hospital bills were you to have a serious accident. Few would stick up for you in a fight. All but maybe one or two will leave you in the lion’s den if there’s even an inkling of a chance they themselves may break a nail attempting to pull you out. I was nearly killed once in front of 3 ‘friends’ sitting on chairs two meters away watching.
There are exceptions. I’ve made some quality pals over the years but also lost quite a few fake ones. Childhood friends will likely always be there for each-other. Adult friends often won’t. The problem is, there’s no way for you to ascertain who will and who won’t be there for you. As if that wasn’t enough, once you’ve lost a couple of good ones you find yourself not opening up to new people for fear of them at some future stage turning against you.
8. Old friends don’t know who you are
Your old, and hence real, childhood friends you only see sporadically every 2-3 years, have no idea who you are anymore. The life you lead is so outlandish, so outside the mainstream 9-5 box they’ve been moulded into over the decades, you might as well be a citizen from the planet Mars.
They don’t know you anymore and you sure as hell don’t know them
You’re worlds apart, both literally and figuratively speaking. They can’t relate to you and you can’t relate to them. The only one to blame for this is you. The truth of the matter is, since you yourself don’t know where you’re going, what you’re really doing or what you want, not even you know who you are.
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