Are Travellers Commitophobes?
It’s an old cliché that those who not only desire to live their lives on the road, but feel that they need to be not just location independent but dependency independent are not, as they assume they are, running towards a brighter future filled with different adventures, cultures and wisdoms everyday, but rather, they are running away from their old lives, from a lives filled with 9 – 5 jobs, mortgages and stable, never changing relationships.
Personally, I would like to believe that things said, such as this, are born out of jealousy, said by people, who may not have the courage, faith, or simply the organisation, to break free of the drudge of the doldrums, buy that plane ticket and waylaying fear and doubt, just leave everything they have ever held to be the conventional, right thing to do behind.
Nevertheless there is something to be said for the link between travellers and commitophobes. Take me for example; I am not one for commitment. I never have been. When ever I commit to something, anything, I feel the crushing weight of guilt rain down on me. However, I haven’t particularly worked out who I am yet. Or more so I find it difficult working out the benchmarks or normalcy from which to base myself. Am I really scared of commitment? Or am I just as scared as everyone else of it?
There is a kind of commitment, however, that I think I am definitely more scared of than Norman Normalson; the kind of commitment that isn’t just to your presence at one day out of the hundreds of thousands that make up your life, but the commitment, to a bill, a house, a job, a contract or god forbid a person. In all a commitment to something long term, to something that is a hassle to get away from.
Contracts, I despise them. They make me miserable they keep me up at night. I don’t like to commit to anything more than a month ahead of what I am doing now, and yet there they are, with their small print and their legalese trying to trap me in for 6 months, a year, 2 years FOREVER. Never wanting to let me go. Oh the contracts that is what I despise above all else.
And yet if you settle if you commit to one thing, you commit to it all. If you have a job, you need a location, you need a phone, you need a house, you need gas, water and electric, you need a car, you need insurance and so the list of contracts rolling off of contracts goes on and on until you are trapped in some studio, in a city you hate, in a job you loathe, resenting your 6am wake up time every morning, and grasping on for dear life to the miniscule amount of free time you have until you can’t take it all and one day just like the proverbial shopkeeper you come in with a shotgun and literally blow them all away.
I may be over reacting, but my point still stands that this crushing fear must reside somewhere in all of us, the fear of being trapped in a routine, otherwise so many people wouldn’t be constantly breaking from that routine, whether that’s changing jobs, partners or even trying out a new gym. We all have different levels of escapism. And despite travellers refusing to commit to a location, rent, bills etc there is something that all these travellers have committed themselves to: to travel.
It may seem obvious but the commitment to travel is not one taken lightly. You could be living in some country hundreds of thousands of miles away from your family, your loved ones, no one to help you, doing it all for yourself, and that feels pretty great.
So are we all commitophobes? Maybe not, we’re just a bit pickier about the sort of things we want to commit ourselves to.
About the Author - Georgina Young
George is a 20-something hitchhiker, solo female traveller and cunning linguist, currently teaching in Kyushu, Japan. She circumnavigates the globe and teaches languages to all those in her wake. She has travelled Europe and Oz extensively, and has taught languages in 6 different countries and counting. Her blog is a mix of language learning, TEFL tips and general travel tales. Follow her journey at George on the Go or on Facebook or Twitter.
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