This post might offend a few people, but this has been grinding my gears for a while.
Whenever I talk to people back in the US about the stuff I’ve done here, the places I’ve gone, the things I’ve seen, and the train rides to nearby cities and countries, a lot of them say, “you’re so lucky!”
I immediately want to stab them in the ear with a ball point pen. It’s not luck.
It’s not luck that got me to agree to sign two contracts, one in German and one in English, to stay here for three years. Luck had nothing whatsoever to do with my decision to pause my entire life back home for a then-uncertain time-frame while I came over here and did my company’s bidding. Luck didn’t get me to store my stuff, sell my car, and completely uproot my entire universe for a span of years.
Luck has nothing to do with missing three years of the lives of my family and friends. My newest niece will be four years old a month after I return. That’s 75% of her life so far. My parents are both in their 70s, with various competing health issues. My father has multiple myeloma in remission- he’s healthy right now, but there’s really no cure. I wonder often how much time I really have left with him, and I worry that I’m squandering it by living over here.
My friends back in the States have found significant others, moved in with one another, changed jobs, changed homes, moved between cities- time kicks along without me in it, and by the time I get back, the world I left will be irrevocably changed.
That ain’t luck, and it pisses me off immensely when people think it is.
I was talking recently with a local friend about all the travel that I do, and it became clear that she doesn’t travel. Not to the things that are just a few hours away, like Neuschwanstein or the Zugspitze. Not to slightly further places like London or Paris.
I asked if she wants to see those places, and she said “of course.” I asked why she hadn’t, and she was immediately full of rationalization- she always has boyfriends who don’t like to travel, for example.
My perspective is this: If you want to travel, you will travel.
If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
For years, I waited for the right combination of money, free time, and a good travel buddy. As I worked my way up in the company, my vacation time increased and time stopped being a problem. Then my salary got better, and suddenly I could afford to go places if I wanted to. I just had the lingering problem of needing a travel partner. I got my passport in 2006, thinking that I would be able to go to London soon. I just needed someone to travel with.
I wanted to see the city of London with someone I loved.
2006 became 2008, and my girlfriend at the time wanted to go with me. The timing was bad though. She had just started a new job, and she couldn’t take that sort of time off. She and I managed to take a few trips within the US, but we never left the country together.
If you look for a reason not to go, you will always find one.
Eventually, I figured out that if I wait around for a travel partner, I won’t ever go anywhere. I’m glad I realized that before I moved to Germany, because I’ve been to fourteen countries now, and I traveled to most of them entirely on my own.
If you really want to travel, you’ll travel.
Luck has nothing to do with it.
Do you want to travel?