Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Biggest Side Effects To The Traveling Lifestyle

I'm a good conversationalist and usually people like talking to me. Why? Because I have stories to tell, and I'm saying this with only an essential amount of arrogance. They like to listen to me not because I'm a better person than others. Quite the contrary: I'm a basic bitch that has limited interests, no hobbies and a mediocre willingness to chit chat. What I do have, however, is an infinite number of stories that I can whip out at any moment because very few things haven't happened to me yet. No, I didn't beat cancer or had my heart broken, but I moved a lot. When I say "Momma's been around!" I don't mean I've slept with fifty guys, but that I have went many places, and in the process I have become numb to the feelings of normal, secure and stable. Now I'm no supergirl or world conquerer, but I've done what people call the Nomad lifestyle for a few years, at least to an extent, and get a lot of interest because of it. "I wish I could do that", or "It must never get boring for you" are among my favorite bullshit sentences that people confront me with when they hear how I currently live my life. Let me tell you now: It's not just fun and games. It actually really, really sucks to live like a Nomad. I'll tell you why...

The Obvious: No Money!
Oh Lord, I'm broke! I mean, I could be rich if money had ever been a priority. Instead, I chose to focus on growth, experience and making myself happy. I genuinely doubt I would be any happier if I had money but fact is I have like none of it, with limited prospects of that changing any time soon. It's not because I blow my money on travel. My last one month Eastern Europe trip cost me 500 Euros because I hitchhiked and couchsurfed. Even a month in Egypt costs me that much! The problem is that, to have a life that includes moving and uprooting all the time, you obviously barely get the chance to climb the money ladder at a job. I make good money now but its hardly a career knowing that I will hopefully leave again in a few months to go to Grad School. So even when I have money it won't help me build a life.

The Annoying: No Comfort!
I have been homeless for almost half a year now which I'm sure nobody would be thinking of as a good thing. ;ost people, when they hear me explain my homelessness, find it inspiring, as I'm not out in the cold without shelter. I have friends that put me up, and here and there I have a couch or bed to crash on that's more comfortable than anything I could afford, but I have not had a place to call my own. My name is on no letting agreement, and as a result I have not been able to "come home" in a long time. There is no bed in this world that feels like "mine". I have no possessions I can arrange to make me feel cozy. Coziness, what was that again? So yeah, I'm free and not tied down by anything which people for some reason find really awesome, but does this really sound good?

The Inevitable: Loneliness!
I make friends, sure, but I don't stick around to keep them. They say that if a friendship lasts seven years it will last forever. Seven years ago, I didn't even know any of the people in my life right now. Changing places, changing faces, all the time! I managed to stay friends with a select few in Germany who were around in 2008 but where are they now? On a different continent. Their friendship exists but it can't have any of the benefits friendship usually comes with, most notably giving one the feeling of not being alone in this world. When I go through a tough time, my friends are at the other side of the world unable to help me. The few people you know around have not been around for very long, so a person like me usually doesn't have too many close people around. It blows big time!

The Super Negative Side Effect: Numbness!
A few years ago, some things were actually hard for me: going to live abroad wasn't something that I took lightly. It caused excitement and fear inside of me. I felt proud or disappointed with experiences. Today it's become all the same. After Egypt, i really don't think anything can get more uncomfortable and harder in terms of settling in and adjustment. Going to a new place really doesn't do that much inside of me anymore. Of course I still feel blessed for my opportunities, and I haven't become numb to my graces, but the butterflies are largely gone. Newness has become the habit and is no longer what it should be anymore.

The Underrated Loss:  No Stability!
Nine to five jobs, steady incomes and long weekends sound so banal to some people who have them. All they want to do is break free from their rut. Oh my, how I wish I had a rut. I enjoy getting up early, go to a workplace, enjoy an after work drink, go to sleep and do it all over again, unless it's the weekend I have been looking forward to when I do something extraordinary because I have the funds to do so. What is wrong with a life with limited surprises? Surprises, one has to understand, are not just fun all the time. Negative surprises happen, too, and I wouldn't say no to a little bit more down time for my brain. Maybe I have more free time and room to grow, but my mind never turns off. In a stable life I could at least just stop thinking sometimes...

The Consequence: Tired all the time!
When you have to start over, even a 12 hour day can seem like a lifetime. Making friends, smiling all the time, trying to navigate through an unknown place, not understanding anything and having your senses overloaded by all the impressions works better than any sedative. Now that I am in Egypt with limited language skills even tasks like going to the supermarket have become chores for me as I can't read price tags, can't ask for help and don't know most of the products on offer. And then you go to a party because you do need friends, and you have to tell your life story for the hundreth time and still smile to make a good impression. Settling into a new place is hard enough as it is but if that place is in a foreign country it gets so much worse. By the end of the day you are tired, and the energy doesn't come back for quite some time.

The Painful Part: Goodbyes!
I will never in my life be able to live without missing someone or something again. When I'm in Egypt, I miss rain. When I'm in Britain, I miss Californian burritos. When I'm in Germany, I miss all of my friends and the fun I had abroad. And worst of all, I constantly had to say goodbye to aspects of my life I really cherished. When I left Egypt I wasn't scared I'd miss the hassle and smog, but I did live there for a year, and I was permanently saying goodbye to wonderful memories and people I will never have back in my life although I was back here just a few months later. I have been gone from Scotland for over two years and I still miss the green of the Highlands and the Garlic Chicken Pizza from Iceland. Goodbyes are indeed some of the hardest things to do in life, and I have had to become an expert on them. 

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