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Day 158: Girl, Are You Crazy?

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Day 158:  Is this a crazy face?

Day 158: Is this a crazy face?

This trip home has been a whirlwind, and I have found myself going out to dinner and meeting up with family on most evenings, and there are family members I hadn’t seen in ages in the mix.

Being gone for so long leaves me with a lot of catching up; poor Pat has been caught in the middle of it. Cousins have had babies, uncles have retired and people have changed jobs, so there’s plenty to talk about, but still the questions come back to me.

“So, are you staying in Australia? Are you not coming back to Peoria?”

That seems to be the most popular question, and most everyone seems to follow my blog or Facebook in some way, shape or form, so they know the answer is that I am definitely not coming back to Peoria anytime soon (see this post).

The funniest question I received from a family member, however, was simply:

“Girl, are you crazy?!”

Uhm, no.

How do you answer a question like that coming from someone who is living in a small town in the Midwest when you have traversed the globe on countless occasions, living in countries unheard of by many and pretty much counting yourself as a citizen of the world?

I don’t think I’m crazy. I never have — not during all of this country-hopping, backpack-living fun and excitement.

But, when you quit decent jobs, like the one I used to have, and head to countries with -stan in the name, then people here think you’re crazy. Seriously, they’ve told me.

I don’t know, people. I can see the value in going to school, going to college, getting a good job, buying a house and buying a car… a bit. You can sure acquire a lot of “stuff” in your years and have some sort of security and well-being in doing the standard life. Only…

It’s not for me!

Instead of doing that, I’ve lived a life post-college that has taught me more about the world than most people will acquire in a lifetime. I’ve put myself in situations that have tested my strengths and exposed my weaknesses. I’ve been places that have shaped my viewpoints of family, money and charity. I feel as though anything is possible in this world as long as you get out there and do it.

I’ve studied languages, taught English and took part in an archaeological dig. I’ve shot badass guns in a Soviet bunker in Lithuania (and kept the targets to prove it). I’ve lived with foreign families and tried out new career options. I’m on the move… excited and excitable.

I don’t think I’m crazy. Do you?

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23 Responses to Day 158: Girl, Are You Crazy?

  1. Erik June 15, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    I doubt anyone who is a fan of your blog would say you were crazy. It’s hard for non-travel people to understand what drives us. I think about traveling all the time. I read guidebooks like novels. I use the internet to plan trip I’ll never actually execute. My wife doesn’t get it at all. She doesn’t leave the area for more than 3 days at a time. I’m lucky because she knew who she was marrying and would never want to restrict me from doing what I love within reason. But she will never ‘get’ it, and she thinks I’m a little crazy.

    So am I surprised by your family member’s reaction- not at all. I’m older than you and have seen it too many times to count.

    You should be proud of what you are doing and also know how well you’ve done. For every person that has the above reaction, there are plenty of people who read your blog who wish they could do the same thing.

    Safe travels back to Australia.

    p.s. If that family member still has that reaction when it’s January in Peoria and they are covered in 10 inches of snow and you are wearing shorts & t-shirts down under, then I would worry about them 🙂

    • Brooke June 23, 2011 at 8:03 am #

      Haha, thanks for the comment. You know, some people actually like winter and snow… I got that response from a few people while there and was shocked. Eeew, no thanks 😉

  2. Rebecca June 15, 2011 at 4:58 am #

    I am a bit mixed on this at the moment. While I am totally against accumulating “stuff” for “stuff’s sake” (I debated buying a flat screen TV last Christmas for dirt cheap even though I didn’t need it or putting that money into travel savings, one guess which I did:-)), I do find it good to have a home base of some sort, a place to call yours. You don’t want to be that weird old guy (why is it always guys anyway?) that is 50, still living out of the backpack he bought 30 years ago and staying at that $3/night in a 40 person dorm? When does the excitement of moving from one place to the next ware off?

    Interesting question….

  3. Erin @ Brownie Bites June 15, 2011 at 5:16 am #

    Not crazy at all. I don’t think I could do what you are doing, but I certainly enjoy living vicariously through those who are brave enough to take risks and enjoy life to the fullest!

  4. Kelsey June 17, 2011 at 12:39 am #

    You’re definitely not crazy! I’ve gotten similar responses from people myself. I usually respond with “stuff is great, but when you’re gone, do you really want to be known for how much crap you filled your house with?”. It usually shuts them up.

  5. A Lady in London June 17, 2011 at 2:55 am #

    Not crazy at all! I get the same questions a lot, too.

  6. Melissa June 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Thank you for posting this. You totally sound like me. I can relate to everything you just said. Since telling my family and friends that I plan on going back to Australia, then to NZ on a working holiday, and I hope to visit Africa and/or SE Asia… all I keep hearing from them (especially my mom) is “You ARE coming back though, right?” and I say yes to appease them… and I guess that IS the game plan. For now. But a whole lot can happen in 14months. Who knows? I love the traveling lifestyle and like you said traveling the world teaches you SO much. I wish more people (especially my friends and family) could understand and see it our way.

    • Brooke June 23, 2011 at 8:07 am #

      Yep, a lot can happen in 14 months. You could find a nice Aussie guy and start living Down Under permanently like me! 😉

      • Melissa June 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

        one can only hope! my poor mother would die of a broken heart though

  7. Adam @ SitDownDisco June 18, 2011 at 2:34 am #

    So when are you settling down and getting a REAL job?

    • Brooke June 23, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      Meh, define “real”.

  8. Michael Hodson June 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Sure you are crazy. Crazy in a good way!!

  9. Binh Bui June 20, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    If you keep moving about the world you won’t have to answer the question…

  10. Tijmen June 20, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    I have the same arguments over and over again from people around me, but I think they are the once that a crazy in a way. Following the fixed route of study, marry, buy a house, childeren, work 60hrs a week, retire. I’m sure at some point in my life there will come a point where I had enough and I do want to settle down, but for now, no way. Way to much to see around the world. So no, you are not crazy 🙂

    • Brooke June 23, 2011 at 8:11 am #

      I agree. I’ll totally want to settle down some day, but I’ll still be adventurous and wanting to jetset across the globe from time to time 😉

  11. Odysseus Drifts June 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Totally crazy! 😉 But so am I and everyone else commenting here if we oversimplify the definition of “crazy” to mean “breaking one’s cultural norms.”

    Actually, I don’t remember anyone calling me crazy in regards to my travels. I’ve always been the quirky one in my family and social crowd, so I guess people just assumed that one day I’d break away and do something “different.” But if my life is crazy, I don’t want to be normal!

    • Brooke June 23, 2011 at 8:13 am #

      I wish I had a “like” button for your comment 🙂

  12. Trish June 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Girl … you’re just crazy good. Cute article. Just thought I’d clarify that the “girl are you crazy” was directed solely at the “stan” countries listed in your world travels. It was meant with fondness and humor. I applaud your bravado, adventurist spirit and love your blog. Just here in the states, we get more frequent warnings for Americans traveling abroad during war time and when I read “stan” countries, I admit it made me a bit nervous for you. It’s awesome you are experiencing the world while you are young and emotionally and physically fit to do it in such grand style! Keep the blogs coming! And it was great to see you and to meet Patrick.

    • Brooke June 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

      Oh Trish, I know that you meant it in fondness and humor by the way you said it! 😉 This post comes from the question along with other comments from many other people along the way. A high school friend told me he thought I was crazy when I went to travel.

      It is a common topic among the travel community to knock all the travel warnings the government puts out… it’s like they don’t want Americans to travel. There’s danger everywhere, even in our backyard in Peoria and Creve Coeur. I was a month premature to the Madrid bombings during my study abroad adventure, but I wouldn’t normally consider Spain to be a scary place. The point is, you just never know, and several of the Stan countries are great, unique, quiet places (if not a little frustrating at times). There’s just so much out there….

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