I’ve always wanted to do some backpacking in Asia. I’ve spent the last ten months in Australia, and while working as a Travel Agent has taught me tons about travel and the industry, it’s been pure torture selling travel while I’m longing to have my own adventures.
The older crowd is fine. I can send the old retirees on their Canada and Alaska tours, and their European River Cruises without blinking an eye. But when someone my age is sitting in front of me, about to go off and immerse themselves in the world, I realize that it’s not enough for me to live vicariously through them. I want to do it myself.
I’ve toyed with a few different options, and I’ve also interviewed for a couple of companies so I can find a job as a nanny overseas. At the moment it’s summer in Europe and I’ve been advised that most of the jobs won’t come through until after the holidays. So my plan is to head to Bali for a few weeks before hopefully moving on to Cambodia and from there who knows!
I’m a bit nervous to tell the truth. Not about traveling, but I’m taking a relatively small amount of money over with me and I’m hoping I won’t run out before I find a job somewhere.
But that’s life. If you never take chances then you’re not really living. I had been tossing up between leaving ASAP, and working longer to save some more money when I read something that really struck a chord with me.
I quite often spend time on Jezebel.com, which is a feminist website full of random interesting articles. Often the best parts are the comments though, where (usually) intelligent women express their opinions. I lurk there for hours at a time.
Anyway, a few weeks ago there was an article about aging. Obviously aging is something that most people (women in particular) worry about. At 24 I’m not exactly counting grey hairs, but I have so much I want to do in my life that I sometimes wonder how I’m going to fit it all in.
So I sat there reading about all these women whining about menopause, and not being able to fit into their jeans, and I was like “I hear you honey. Give me twenty years and I’ll be even more in love with my sweatpants.”
And then I read a comment from a 25-year-old woman, who said she had terminal cancer. I saved it because it struck such a chord with me.
It’s brain cancer.
Despite all its punishments, aging is a luxury. Stretch marks and drooping breasts come with children I will never have. Laugh lines and crow’s feet come with memories I will never make. I wish I could live to see Time write itself so beautifully on my body.
Society says that by now I should be driving a decent car. I should have a huge TV, and be thinking about settling down and saving for a house. I should at least have a steady boyfriend, and be hoping that he’ll one day “put a ring on it”.
But none of that applies to my life right now. By reading such an incredibly eloquent comment buried among complaints about getting old, I was forced to ask myself what I really want in life. Because life is short, and we all deserve to be happy.
I want to experience the world and go all the places I’ve dreamed of. I want to get lost, take long, uncomfortable bus trips, and meet new friends. I want to work on my awful photography, have more time to write, and learn something new everyday.
So I’m going to Asia. I might have an incredible adventure, or come home with no money and my tail between my legs. But either way I’m going to Asia!