Reflection

Real world pressures

“Your medical insurance will run out in a year.” “You need to get a Real Job soon.” “Teachers have summers off–you can just travel then.”

My parents were very supportive of the last two trips I took. They had been equally supportive of the South America trip until I started talking about it in more concrete terms: working in New Jersey until mid-fall, selling my furniture and personal items, moving out of my apartment, then leaving on a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires.

Ultimately they’ll support me in whatever I do…but now they’re a little concerned.

This is totally different than what I experienced while preparing for my Eurotrips. They had seemed proud of me for going solo and told all my relatives about it. My parents patiently listened for MONTHS as I gushed about every detail of the planning process. I called them the moment I added a new place on my itinerary.

Those trips were different than the one I’m planning now: they took place over the summer and didn’t interfere with school or any work opportunities. They also had a clear starting and ending point. I have no idea when I would come back from South America, and leaving at the beginning of the school year means  pushing back my teaching career a whole year.

Another reason this trip seems a little different…when I leave, I will be almost 26 years old (ensuring I’ll just be able to grab a STAtravel youth flight). I’m starting to notice that long-term travel in your early 20s is way more “acceptable” than traveling even just a few years later. I feel a slight hint of disapproval when I talk to some people about it

The idea of coming back and approaching my late 20s without ever once having a Real Job does scare me a little. I’m also worried about my student loans, which I will start repaying right when I plan on leaving. I’m nervous about being able to afford an apartment once I come back. I’m nervous about getting sick or hurt back in the States without medical insurance.

Yes, it’s starting to get to me.

But at the same time…”I want to travel,” my friend said the other week. “But I want to be more established first, career-wise.”

“I don’t know,” I responded. “I think if I already had a career, it would be harder to get out.”

It’s a blessing and a curse: the lack of a real job is one less thing tying me down. “Take it from someone who’s stuck in the 9-5,” another friend said. “Go to South America.”

I’m going, no matter what. And I can’t help but feel guilty about it.

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5 thoughts on “Real world pressures

  1. I get where you’re coming from! I have been teaching for 11 years, but have spent most of my time teaching Internationally and travelling extensively during the holidays.

    Last year I quit my job to take a year out to travel South America, and felt incredibly guilty. My family were very understanding, but I sense that instead of being excited for me, these days they think ‘when are you going to get over this travel phase and settle down?’. Some people were concerned about my career. But the best thing about teaching is that it is always there to go back to – and teachers who have travelled have a lot to offer in the classroom. I had no problem finding work when I got back, and that is in Sweden where employment for foreigners is really difficult.

    Or, you could just take a teaching job in South America!

    Good luck :-)

    • Thank you so much for commenting! It was great to hear something inspiring. I totally agree with you. I want to teach ESL and in NJ I will likely be teaching lots of students from South America….I feel like it’s important to be able to see some of their countries. The Brazilian students I’m student teaching are really excited that I’ll be seeing their country next year. I’m going to be on the lookout for a job while I’m over there; living and working in another country is an experience I haven’t had yet and it would be amazing if I found something.

  2. Pingback: South America planning « adultescence

  3. I know exactly what you mean, it’s been three years since I graduated and I’ve spent half my time traveling and half my time saving. I keep putting off the job because I know when I have it I can’t leave it and I don’t want to be tied down. My career just doesn’t feel as immediately important to me as travel, which virtually everyone thinks is insane…However you have the rest of your life to work enjoy the freedom to travel whilst you can.

    • Exactly!! You have to do what makes you happy. The closer I get to graduation, the more people think I’m crazy for not joining the job hunt. The pressure gets to me once in a while, but never enough to change my mind :).

      Thanks for commenting and stopping by!

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