I have become a creature of habit. It was something I had tried to resist, but to be honest I can’t help myself.
I’d dreamt of visiting New York City for a long time. In 2006, I got to go to New York with my mom on a short getaway to meet up with her friend. In 2010, I made an impromptu decision to go back to New York for a few days on my own. After that trip, I figured it would be many years before I found myself back in New York.
This year some friends and I are turning 30, and we’ve been talking about going somewhere for our collective birthdays. Many ideas were considered, but we all love theater and urban travel so New York City was decided as our birthday destination. While it would be nice to travel somewhere new, I do love New York City and going there always sounds like a good idea. So I happily accepted my fate that I would be going back to New York City for the third time.
I am not someone you should look to for financial advice. This trip is, in the eyes of many I’m sure, pretty stupid. As I start this trip, I will begin accruing interest on an
$8000 $12,000 student loan, which I will need to start pay back starting in November. Granted this student loan not as bad as it could be, but it is worse than no loan or debt at all. I have a small amount, about $200, worth of credit card debt that I’ll be paying off right away. Then I have about $900 saved for this trip. My flights have been paid for, and so have a couple of excursions, but the hotel, food, and other expenses will need to be covered.
When it comes to traveling there are two big factors that come into play, and often they are on reverse ends of the spectrum. Many people have the money to travel, but not the time. I have the time to travel, but not the money, at least not if I sit down and think about yet. Financially I probably shouldn’t go on this trip, but I will because travel is my addiction. When I’m not traveling or planning a trip, I feel like a shell of who I am. Once I start traveling, or planning a trip then I feel like myself. When that happens, the idea of doing more travel becomes inherently easy.
This is why last year a trip to go to Toronto morphed into a road trip across Canada, with additional time spent in Niagara Falls, Chatham-Kent, Montreal and Ottawa. Then going home turned into going on a road trip across the US, and taking a ferry from Port Angeles, Washington to Victoria, British Columbia, and then, finally flying home.
Last year my trip to Toronto (among other places) stemmed from the idea that if I wanted to be a traveler I should travel. I’d never been anywhere outside the Edmonton region for longer than about two weeks. Last year I was on the road and traveled for about six weeks. My trip also stemmed from this fear that I would get stuck in a job or a life I didn’t want or wouldn’t be able to escape from once I got home. I was hitting the emergency panic button before anything had happened.
When I came home from that trip I was exhausted. I wasted time on projects that could have waited, and I didn’t put enough time into the projects I should have. Once my University semester began in September, I was ready to look for a job, an internship that I could do for school to get the credits I needed to finish my degree. My focus had always been in technical writing. There was work in the field, it was something I was trained to do and more importantly it was something I enjoyed doing. By the time, I started looking those entry-level technical writing positions I’d wanted to apply for had vanished. Companies only seemed to be interested in senior writers, or those with an engineering degree, neither of which I have.
The past 8-months have been hard, and I’m not at all where I thought I would be. In many ways, I feel further behind than my fellow classmates and writers, but I suppose making comparisons like that doesn’t help me. Perhaps I didn’t have my entire life planned out, but I did have the next year or so figured out. The plan was simple, and attainable, until it wasn’t.
I’ve been thinking back to that trip I took last May, wondering if I made the right decision. Maybe I shouldn’t have stayed away so long. Maybe I should have worked harder (yes it was a work trip) when I was on the road. It’s hard to know in retrospect, even now because I’m so close to the situation.
There are few things I do know though. One is that I can never regret my travels. Even when it’s a huge mistake. Even when it’s exhausting. Even when I can’t afford it. Even when I should probably stay at home, be practical and look for a stable job. Even when all those factors and more are taken into consideration I can’t regret traveling. Ever.
Another thing I know is that traveling is addicting, and that traveling leads to more travel. So here I am finally committing to a trip to New York City in 6 weeks, when some people would say I should stay home. Here I am not only looking at going to New York, but extending my trip to go to Las Vegas or maybe New Orleans for a few days before flying home. These are places I’ve been to before, but the idea of going back to these cities is enticing and more than likely will happen. I’ve become a creature of habit, and I must feed my travel addiction.
Do you travel to the same places over and over again?