I’d been aware for a while now that I’d be faced with the decision on whether to go ahead with travelling and doing what I love and know I’ve always wanted to do or to stay in London, and, despite having a lot of time to think this through and it being something I’ve passionately wanted to do for a while now, when it came around to finally making the decision it still wasn’t an easy one.
I asked myself all the questions regarding what future I wanted, the whole financial stability of getting settled into a job now, the idea of wanting to start up a family and provide for one (Private school education!?) and also the idea of wanting to own property in an increasingly expensive city all weighed on my mind heavily. There are certain stigmas attached to these ways of life which, if you don’t question them, can quite easily paralyse you into not taking any risks or not living a life, which, if I’m being honest it’d quite hard to define a holistic overall answer to “the meaning of”.
There’s a huge social pressure in and around the UK and probably in other developed countries around the world and even in developing countries to focus on earning money quickly and finding a job quickly, but this as we all know to well can come at a price.
The reality of it though, or at least the one I feel I’ve come to learn about is that, whilst a lot of the stigmas have certain weight behind them they shouldn’t inhibit us from living a life which seems to go by only too fast, because there are plenty of ways to live life/be successful and earn a living which can accommodate for all our needs, whatever they may be and however much they cost and when it comes to the deeper more emotional aspects of being yourself and getting married, doing and being who want to be is probably the most conducive way to achieving them and making them last. Not to mention the passion that comes with doing what you love and the amount more energy you’re willing to put into making it succeed.
I spoke to many ‘grown ups’, adults I respected the opinions of who’d spent more years focused on a particular industry than I have spent alive and all recommended that I do this and where very supportive (which definitely made the decision a lot less of a heavy burden).
There’s a lot about London and western culture that I genuinely love. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the best cities if not the best city in the world. You can easily get lost in its maze of winding roads, there is a great international community and culture along with a large conveyor belt of seemingly endless opportunities to find new things to do and experiences to have which accomodate everyone’s interests, wants and needs. The pound is a strong currency which allows for a global freedom for those who live here. It’s where I’ve been brought up, my family live here and I have some of the best friends I could ask for which also helps.
But, simply put, I don’t think I’d have forgiven myself had I not gone. There’s so much more the world has to offer than just London itself, there are so many things going on and whilst London will always be my home I have a real desire to learn about as much as I can, especially regarding international issues, whether it be distribution of AID, how to deal with issues in a local/national and even on an international basis, and, for that, this is the perfect setting for what I want to do and who I want to be later on in life.
I may be 25 and, yes, whilst in many circles I live in at the moment that may be considered a bit old, it isn’t. In today’s world, and being brought up in and around London, a guy like myself is expected to live to be around 80 or 90 on the more optimistic scale, which would suggest that I’m only just over a quarter of the way through my life (and even less through my adult life).
A few years ago I realised that If I spent the next 40 years working (till the then formalised retirement age of 65, something which has relatively recently been phased out) i’d spend the best part of 36 years working for only 4 years off in total. I’m not shy of working and definitely not shy of working hard either, but working to live instead of living to work was never something I wanted to subscribe to. I want to work doing what I love.Yes this may be a luxury but you have to spend the necessary time to figure out what you love in order to know what it is and subsequently do it. Some people find this easier than others, but a good starting block is to start with what your hobbies/interests are, or what’s brought you the most satisfaction in the past and work from there. There’s an almost definite possibility that you’ll be able to earn a living doing what you want and you’ll probably never want to retire once you’ve found out what it is.
I will miss everyone immense amounts, that goes without saying and there is an element of risk about doing a trip like this, nothing is ever entirely guarenteed, and as an independent traveller there are also elements of risk to my personal safety, but the desire to travel, not only to explore cultures but to learn as much as I can about issues that continue to effect the world I live in and try and get a grasp of how these come about, get solved and so on appeals too greatly, and whilst I have a few ideas of what I’d like to do with the knowledge and experiences that I gain when I get back, it’d be naive of me to expect a trip like this not to challenge those.
And that’s about it…The older I get the clearer it becomes how important your attitude to what you want is of paramount importance. The higher your ambitions the higher you can climb. No matter where you’re brought up. How far you want to go and everything else whether it be career driven or relationship driven.
No matter what decisions you make in life you will always get people you respect thinking well of them or alternatively thinking it’s being wasteful… You really have to take into account what you know (noone knows you better than yourself) and what you think and make the decisions that you feel are best for you and the person you are and want to be and (although this sounds risky – it’s not) let the rest work organically…(Engaging with things you like and are passionate about is part of the organic process)…
So that’s that… I hope this has struck a positive accord with those of you who read it, and, should you like what you read feel free to follow the blog and my travels learning about global issues.