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Non-Travel Life Musings

gratuitous photo

Gratuitous photo so you all don’t get so scared of the words.

I am 29 years old. Currently, I do not lead a glamorous life.

This is what happens when you choose to travel on an extended trip overseas, forego the huge expense of maintaining an apartment while abroad, and take your time in getting back into the Sydney rental scene (so expensive!) on your return.

Although not ideal, and definitely not glamorous for a 29 year old, we are welcoming the kindness of my boyfriend’s family while we figure out our future move. Being so far away from the city again has its trials, along with the fact we are missing our more independent lifestyle, but for the most part, we feel almost normal here.

And then I realize that I can’t find anything. I can’t find my important medical documents, or the folder with my visa mumbo jumbo, or just my favorite pair of jeans…

No, because those were packed away and stored in a box in our tiny bedroom in this house from the time we moved out of Killara in early 2011 – just before our Malaysia and America adventures.

Conclusion: I am a creature of habit, and my habit is moving.

Moving so I can travel.

Oh god, and is there anything more liberating than giving up your home, packing up your stuff, and heading off to travel?!

Freedom. It should be felt by everyone in my opinion, and I have spent a large part of my 20s living life with the idea of setting off again… with the idea of needing temporary housing so I don’t feel trapped and can travel long-term again.

So, I often give up comfort, go minimal, and go cheap so I can save everything for my next journey abroad – for those glorious weeks or months when I get to live life the way I want to and forget that Sundays exist.

In the process I leave behind bits and pieces of disposable furniture, dishes, clothes, and the like. I’ve ditched 2 guitars during my time abroad, a bedframe, a small washing machine, a plant I tried to keep alive for over a year, and an IKEA desk. I’ve lost countless items, like a pair of Keen Targhee shoes, which I’m almost certain were stolen instead.

Who cares? Who cares about that sacrifice? I get those months of living life like I want to! Weeee!

But then I come home and realize I have NO home, and I live life a little subdued. Such a gap! So bipolar!

Ooph. Now is that right?

I know I kind of promote the whole “sacrifice to make your dreams come true” part of long-term travel, and I do believe in it. For a person or couple who want to take a year or two out of their lives and follow through on a big trip of a lifetime, it’s perfect.

After 5 or more years of on-and-off travel and moving in a continuous motion, it gets a little old… and it makes me now wonder if my method these days should be about balance.

Nothing quite like adding to the post-travel blues than realizing you don’t have a comfortable place to return to after an amazing trip abroad. Or, that your wardrobe doesn’t match up to the local standards. Or, that you just don’t get to go out to extravagant dinners all the time.

And what about puppies?!

Can I haz puppy already?

Pat and I are soon to start the search for a new apartment in Sydney, and I think I need to keep in mind the fact that I’d like to lessen the gap between the glamour that is my travel life, and the non-glamour that is my non-travel life just a wee bit.

But is it possible to maintain a home in Australia while going out on 2 month jaunts across the globe? It’ll double the cost of travel for sure…

And can I take my puppy with me?

Brooke + Puppy vs the World?

Perhaps a new era on the blog?



32 Responses to Non-Travel Life Musings

  1. Stacey September 5, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    I feel the exact same way! After never having a permanent address, I’ve now also found myself living outside of Sydney with family. While it’s going to be great to see a bit of Australia, I have nothing but dirty laundry and credit card debt.

    It’s definitely hard when I look at friends who have bought houses etc, and while I wouldn’t change my decision to travel for anything, I completely understand where you’re coming from!

    • Brooke September 6, 2012 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks for sharing – good to know I’m not alone 🙂 Whereabouts in Sydney are you?

      • Stacey September 7, 2012 at 12:39 am #

        I’m in Shellharbour-about an hour and a half away from Sydney (without bad traffic). I really want to live in either Sydney or Melbourne for awhile though. Where are you living at the moment? I’m looking forward to exploring Aussie 🙂

        • Brooke September 19, 2012 at 9:35 am #

          Hey I’m up on the north shore in Wahroonga, just in a weird place where buses to the station are rare and don’t run late. I don’t have a vehicle 🙁

  2. D.J. - The World of Deej September 5, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    As someone who has the two bedroom townhome, a dog, and a cat, I can tell you that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. If we want to leave on a moments notice to go away for a night, we always get all excited, only to be disappointed because, well, who will tend to the dog? Then again, I hear you loud and clear about perpetual moving getting old after a while. Somewhere out there is a balance…

    • Brooke September 6, 2012 at 7:52 am #

      The grass is always greener hey?! For the most part, I really enjoy my freedom, but I can tell you that having a dog again is something I’ve wanted for… uh… 10 years, and I always put it off because I knew I was going to be moving around. There are plenty of people these days that travel with their pets, and there are plenty of pet-sitters and the like — seems doable. Not sure about maintaining a residence while trying to travel a lot, at least not in Australia unless we get rich here quick !

  3. Caroline Eubanks September 5, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    I hear you. Living at home thirty minutes outside the city (driving! there aren’t trains and buses!) sucks, but it allows me to travel.

    • Brooke September 6, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      “but it allows me to travel”… yep, that’s how I got to here. It totally sucks to be so far away from everything, right? I already work from home; to be far away is tragic.

  4. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) September 5, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Seriously, I wrote about it on our site, but the hardest part about my husband and I taking the plunge to travel for a year or two was leaving our two dogs behind (thankfully with my parents, where they are being spoiled!). That really hammered home that although traveling for a year seems glamorous and kind of frivolous to a lot of people, it actually does require some real sacrifices and isn’t always shiny & fun. We’ve been traveling for almost a month now and not a day goes by where we don’t miss our fur kids an awful lot!

    • Brooke September 6, 2012 at 7:54 am #

      Aw I bet! That must be hard, but at least they’re in a good place 🙂

  5. Tim Van Autreve September 5, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    I think a dog would be a bad idea. They have hair, poop, and rub their butts on things. Plus, you’d always have to worry about caring for it. You get a dog, and unless you’re willing to ditch it like a guitar, say goodbye to that ever-lovin’ freedom.

    Loved the gratuitous photo. It was pretty AND witty.

    You’re an inspiration.

    • Brooke September 6, 2012 at 8:02 am #

      Aw thanks, Tim 🙂

      I wouldn’t want to ditch the dog. He’d be my sidekick and we’d go on crazy adventures together. Might even name him Scrappy and buy him funny t-shirts. But, it’s all still a pipe dream at the moment, so I shouldn’t get too carried away haha

  6. Christine September 5, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Ahhhh I can so relate to this. Moving to NYC has been one giant stress fest, and most of it is because my “real life” of job hunting and subway trips isn’t nearly as glamorous as laying on a beach in Thailand. Add into it that all my friends have been slogging away at jobs for the past few years while I’ve been out around the world–and my life is now incredibly less glamorous in comparison.

    • Brooke September 6, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      Haha, right… it’s like let me invite you over to my place. You can sit on milk crates and eat off paper plates. Very college; not very glamorous.

  7. kami September 5, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    I think I understand your point. It’s so hard to balance a normal life and travel but not impossible. I think I may be an example here. I have a full time job that is kind of a dream job for me and I enjoy it a lot but it requires spending 40 hours per week in the office. At the same time I feel a constant urge to travel the world, see new places, experience new things, try new food… It took me a while but I eventually mastered how to combine both worlds. I try to keep my spendings low on every day life so I can save more money for travelling. These are simple things like going out and eating out too often, smart grocery shopping, second hand clothes, using libraries instead of buying books etc but overall they work. When it comes to the time I have 26 days off per year but mixing that with bank holidays and smart planning as well as using my free weekends can give me really a lot of opportunities to travel (not to mention I work my ass off to have even more days for travelling;)) What I try to say is you can do that, having the best of both worlds. It’s not very easy but certainly possible! Good luck with finding your way to balance everything!

    • Brooke September 11, 2012 at 8:41 am #

      Congrats on finding your balance!

  8. Ali September 5, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    We definitely make sacrifices in order to travel. Can you try to find someplace to live that you could rent out when you travel for long periods of time? I know that’s probably difficult if you’re renting as well, but it’s a thought. The dog is doable if you could get someone to watch it while you traveled. I’d love a dog right now but I also don’t want to deal with the responsibility that goes along with owning one!

    • Brooke September 11, 2012 at 8:43 am #

      Yeah I’ve thought about the renting thing — the problem is that it would have to be definite. Rent in Sydney is OUTRAGEOUS and to have someone back out on us last minute, etc would be detrimental to our funds. STill all up in the air.

  9. Steph September 5, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Oh i feel you on this one. Mike and I are currently in some kind of weird limbo ourselves- living with my mom, planning a wedding, not planning trips. Part of me is ready to scream and go buy an impulse ticket to Madagascar and part of me is secretly thrilled that now I can join a gym and learn to cook. It’s so hard to have it all…

    • Brooke September 11, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      Now that’s interesting… how is Mike handling it?

  10. Jeff @ GoTravelzing September 5, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Having a normal life is not as great as it sounds. I would gladly give up my house full of stuff so I could travel more. Once you go down the path of “normal” it is tough to get out of it. Keep doing what makes you happy.

    • Brooke September 11, 2012 at 8:58 am #

      Well I don’t necessarily want a house full of “stuff”, but I would like a comfy home-base. I think that’s important to me now way more than when I first started. It’s tough to find the balance.

  11. Susan @ Travel Junkette September 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    I think this is something that every long-term traveler struggles with, Brooke. I most definitely do. Some days, I just want to settle down and raise some chickens already. And same with the puppies – I think about how much I want one pretty much every single day! I think it’s just a matter of being really self-reflective and thinking about what is going to make you happy right now… and do it!

    • Brooke September 11, 2012 at 9:08 am #

      Those damn adorable puppies! 😉 I had a dog as a child, and the only reason I never got another one was because I knew I’d be gallivanting. *sigh* We’ll see. We have so much in the air again right now that it’s driving me crazy!

  12. Petra September 6, 2012 at 4:51 am #

    You can have them both, Brooke! You’re so determined and enthusiastic that nothing could stand in your way. As long as you wish with all your heart to change or slightly alter the direction of your life, it will surely happen!

    • Brooke September 11, 2012 at 9:14 am #

      Aw, well thank you for your enthusiasm! I’m working on it 😀

  13. Lauren September 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    I am at an interesting point in my journey abroad and travelling given that I am now back to a 9-to-5 role. There is definitely less flexibility, but there is stability — something I need right now with planning a wedding, as I’m sure Steph can attest to.

    The funny thing is, a friend pointed out to me recently that I’m still travelling a lot despite being newly “pinned down” again: a trip to Fiji, a trip to Hawaii, two more trips in the coming weeks, one of which is a work-related one to the Gold Coast, and a trip to the Whitsundays for part of Christmas break, not to mention back to the States in March for our wedding. I’ve approached going back to an office with creativity so it doesn’t turn out the way it did for me back in the U.S. I still live cheaply — like a freelancer — so I can still have an apartment AND travel.

    I’m not advocating going to get an office job so much as I’m saying that Australia allows a little more freedom when it comes to work-life balance. Twenty days off plus public holidays and the option to take unpaid leave? Sure beats wrestling for one measly week off in the States! Maybe looking at short-term writing or editing or design contracts in Sydney would allow you to do both an apartment and travel?

    • Brooke September 11, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      You’re doing such a good job at finding your balance, Lauren! I’ve been thinking about getting a PT job – more for the social aspect than anything — but I don’t think I could do the writing. I would go for something so far away from writing, haha, like working in a gift shop or selling tea.

  14. Rebecca September 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    Little Brookie is growing up!!

    I debated for a very long time in getting a dog, knowing it would take a huge chunk out of my life (and travel budget!) but I was in a good place to just bit the bullet, knowing it was on my life to-do list, along with travel and I just had to make temporary sacrifices in the short term. I think it’s all about priorities. What takes priority for you?

    • Brooke September 19, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      Priority is being happy and having the best life all the time, not just while traveling. I find it too hard to come back and “recover” ya know? I’m really pushing for a puppy. Like really really. We’ll see.

  15. Kirstie September 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    I was just writing about something like this on our blog recently, the challenges of slipping in and out of a travel lifestyle and the routines of family life at home with work, school and all that jazz. I know that bipolar feeling, that sense of two disconnected lives and what it is to try and get better at those transitions. 10 years on, still trying! The quest for balance continues.


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