My sister said to me “I don’t think you will ever settle down.”, and I think she might be right. I don’t see how the future that I see for myself – a future of spontaneity, travel, uncertainty, risk, a future with ‘nomadic’ tendencies – would allow for me to “settle down”.
Backpacking. Train rides. Tan (or dirt) lines. Hostels and guest houses, three stars at the most. Beaches. Water purification. Jungles. Tribes. Planes. Unusual food. Rituals. Dancing. Tattoos. Head scarfs. Non-existent sanitation. Squat toilets. Language barriers. Homestays.
These are some of the things I see my future consisting of.
I have thought of my future as most, wondering about marriage, kids, buying a home, a career. I want all of things too, of course. But what do I want more? What do I realistically see in my future? Which is more important to me?
I’ve dreamt of what I would like my wedding to be like. Where it would be, how many guests, the flowers, the venue, the dress, the ring. To me, this seems more unrealistic than spending a year in India, renting an apartment with a communal bathroom and having cows constantly loitering around. Maybe the word ‘unrealistic’ is not what I’m meaning; to me, spending thousands of dollars on one day of my life seems less sensible. Wouldn’t I rather spend that money to see the world?
I’ve thought about the kind of ring I would want to wear. I don’t know of any girl who would not want a big, beautiful diamond on her finger, I know I would!! But I don’t think wearing any kind of flashy wedding ring would be a very good idea in a third world country. I can’t even imagine the danger I would attract. And how would it look with all the jewelry I will forever wear, picked up at various markets around the world?
I’ve dreamt of the house I hope to live in one day, but I can’t picture it. How would I ever possibly be able to own a house, as I’m not planning to stick around too long at one time? At what age would I be able to justify that kind of purchase? That kind of permanence?
I’m constantly thinking of what career I am hoping to have once I am done school. Anthropology doesn’t quite set me up easily for earning much income (as far as I know). I’m thinking of doing a double major that might help me get one, meaning I’ll be in school for many years still to come (with semesters and summers abroad of course). And even when I do one day have the opportunity to have a good job, how will I be able to commit to that when I only want to work temporarily so that I can travel again, repeating this cycle over, and over. And what if I don’t necessarily decide to go into a career in the field of my schooling? What if I decide to teach abroad for months at a time? Lead groups like the one that started me on this journey of lie-long-traveling?
And I’ve dreamt about the children I will have. I’ve thought many times before, ‘I’ll have to find a man that will let me take our toddler to far off places’. I can only imagine the kind of words that a child would use to describe these other parts of the world, their perspective of the bizarre things going around their little bodies, the universe surrounding their souls. I’ve heard many people say ‘I want to travel now before I have kids.’ or those who have kids speak like their children are holding them back from seeing and experiencing the world.
I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to take them with me, I know they would only enhance the experience; providing more challenges to overcome and more beauty in each moment.
I know of many people who have superficial ‘checklists’ for their ‘dream man’. I don’t. You don’t need to be a certain height, have a certain job, drive a certain car, you don’t have to have blonde hair, blue eyes and love dogs in order for me to fall in love with you. You need a big heart and a beautiful soul. These are things that I believe everyone has.
I love being in a relationship. I love having that best friend to tell everything to, even silly things like what you had for breakfast or what color your socks are. I love trying to know someone as much as I know myself, and having someone trying to know me just as well. I love feeling the warming of my heart. I love being held, and having affection. I love silent moments, whispers of sweet nothings. I love having that companionship. I love it. I love it. Who wouldn’t?
But I have trouble seeing how two people can be together, when one (me) hopes for the type of future that does not, at this time, seem to have any room for setting down. I don’t know how I could ever be selfish enough to expect a man to be with me, when my next move will always be a big one, to some far off place, for who-knows how long.
Good thing being alone does not equate to being lonely.