I am not a travelin’ girl

I recently read a post about why not to date a girl who travels. The post talks about how girls who travel are independent, forward-thinking, do-it-yourself-ers, free spirited, and worldly. They do not “need” a partner.

Growing up, I travelled. With my family, I went to Europe and Mexico during elementary and high school. In my late teens and early twenties I traveled again with boyfriends or friends: Asia, Europe, and South America. I was that traveling girl. I could change the oil in my car and swap tires. I wanted the road and life to be my education. I couldn’t plan – or forsee myself in – a steady, long-term job. Security was not always a paycheque and I was on the move.

While I wanted a life partner who shared my passions, the boyfriend who came with me to Asia had different ideas as to what travel and exploring the culture entailed. If you can survive traveling with someone, you can also generally get through the mundane with them. This wasn’t us. When we got home from that trip it wasn’t long before we went our separate ways. The idea of life sola was more appealing again.

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I wouldn’t say I was an extrovert growing up but I was the girl at the bar, I was ready to party. I remember in grade 7 I was told I was “domineering.” Later, I had a friend who referred to me for my bluntness as “Tania the truck.” I was sure of myself and my convictions because I didn’t know otherwise. I was never in trouble with the law, but I didn’t always make the smartest decisions. I thought if I stayed home I would be missing out on life.

Time changes us. We have different experiences, we change our focus, we listen to different music.

These days, I am different. I grew up, met my partner, and have a family.  My kids have both worn me out and slowed me down. I am the introvert I always ignored. Crowds make me anxious and I go to bed early. I take my car to a dealership to be serviced.  I am gentler with my emotions and rely on routine. I like the predictability of knowing where I will sleep each night. I find comfort in the fence that surrounds me.

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There are times where I miss the excitement of travel and seeing new places. I do still get the urge to *be* in the world.  But these days there is more of a balance. I don’t begrudge the usual or the normalcy. Reading that post made me think of my old self, a slice of my life, but not in an envious way. I’m glad I had that experience at that point in my life and I wouldn’t have traded it. It helped open my mind, and to get me to where I am today.

I sometimes miss having all the days blend together and wondering how I will afford a plane ticket back home. But then Friday comes, and it’s pay day, and I am home with my family, and I know what to expect. It’s as exciting as I make it. The world to be travelled is still just outside my door.

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19 thoughts on “I am not a travelin’ girl

  1. I think, too, that travel is just one way to feed the spirit. I traveled a lot when I was younger, but I was never a free spirit – always the planner. I find that there are enough challenges where I’ve landed (parenting!) that I don’t always need a flight to discover more.

    • Michelle,
      This is so true. There seemed to be so much less to worry about when I was younger that travel was a perfect fit. Now I have the parenting gig, and work, and my home life and feel like it’s challenging enough. Finding my bed at the end of each day is a victory all of its own!

  2. I’m not a traveling girl either. Actually, I haven’t traveled very much, but like you, I’m content with a routine and enjoying the small things, like a walk with the family or watching a movie together. Simple! Kids slow you down, that’s for sure. Oh, is that your little hamster? He’s so cute!! I miss Little Claws….

    • Amy,
      I think the small things make bigger things. So often we want fireworks and drama to make an impact in our lives, but enjoying what is our reality is a reward of its own. Good for you. And yes, kids kinda dictate routine for quite a few years, don’t they? ;)

      Yes, that’s Mr. Armstrong, our hamster. Didn’t I say he was Little Claws’ long lost cousin?

  3. I was always a travelin’ girl, but when I had kids it just meant that we took road trips together during the summers. The kids both say those trips were the part of their childhood, and my daughter is even more of a travelin’ girl than I ever was. Now that they’re grown, I feel that old wanderlust once again, only it’s become more gentrified. I need an air mattress rather than the hard ground. I drive six hours at a time rather than 14. I plan a little more rather than leaving the itinerary up to fate.

    • I think our spontaneity and needs adjust as we get older. It’s not that we get more fussy, per se, it’s that we know what works and what is worth the fuss. Plus when you have kids there is so much more to think about — it’s not just what you can handle anymore.
      Good for you for getting out with your kids. My parents did a lot of that with our family as well; for me personally I just find it overwhelming. I think we all find what we need, though, at whatever time in life.

  4. I can sympathise with this post oh so well both about the travel and the ‘growing up’ and having a family which slows everything down. You’re right – there is still so much out there to be discovered. :)

    • Hi Ken,
      I think once you have a family your priorities change. You can still do as you once did, but it may be highly modified. Family is a different speed. But life is out there to whatever extent we find comfortable.

  5. “it’s as exciting as I make it” is the key. You know where the adventure is and you know how to handle it, so it will always be there for you when/if you want it. Perhaps that idea of waiting for something until you actually want it is a sign of maturity?

    • Waiting for something vs making it happen is something I struggled with in my younger years. But now I find it’s the feeling rather than being in a certain place, doing a certain thing. Sure, you may not have the exact experience, but sometimes experiencing a feeling grows us more than just sitting inside a hotel room, even if you may be in Africa.

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