“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.