I don’t want to be a list ticker.
I don’t want to hit 30 countries under 30.
I love travel, yes, and living abroad, but I refuse to be a part of making it the necessity-of-a-life-well-lived pedestal that it has risen to. Travel is a status symbol, a mark of privilege, an adventure you were lucky enough to have the money to do, or to be born in a country whose passport is allowed to pass easily beyond its own borders.
To tick off lists. To compile buckets of them. To rush hastily through a country and its culture returning with gigabytes of one shot memories. To seek out the most unique, most valid, most clickable adventure in this great world, full of fascinating, contradictory, obscure, obtuse, easily misunderstood, would-take-a-lifetime-of-study-to-understand cultures and people (that are sometimes even within our own country!)
What is that but a way to feel better about our short time of life by making it seem better, more exciting, more adventurous, than someone else’s. Maybe someone we left at home. Maybe someone who chose a different course in life, that we aren’t entirely sure wasn’t something we really wanted to do all along.
Be happy. Choose happily. What is your happy? Understand that first. Then go.