On deciding to go

The more I think about it, the less certain I become.

There is little security in the path I’m eyeing and uncertainty, fear and loneliness will be in no short supply. On the other hand, the opportunity to experience as much of this beautiful world as early as I can is almost irresistible to me.

This is my thinking after months of deliberating over whether or not I should book a one-way ticket overseas. It’s a tired cliché, where the upper-middle class white male grows dissatisfied with his comfortable job, living situation, friends and family and sets off on a journey of self-discovery etc. I know that in reality my path is no different to the paths of thousands of young people before me. It is well-worn and tired, and as the world grows smaller so these once-wild paths become paved and gentrified and any hope of originality is lost.

But this is my goddamn path so it is special and it is unique and it’s important to me. So the decision to go is a serious one.

The destination doesn’t really matter, but I’m tossing up between starting in Italy and exploring southern Europe and booking a one way flight to the Philippines and experiencing that. I might do both.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when I get over there. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to stay. I know at some stage in the too-near future I’ll need to find work again but I don’t know where that will be or what it will be as. I guess it doesn’t really matter.

I’ve asked myself countless times why I want to go on this journey. I’m 23 now. My friends are buying houses. Some are moving in with their partners, some are getting married and having kids and some are getting promotions. Why would I want to give up so many comforts, so much security and so much certainty for an unknown period of time?

The more I think about it the more doubt enters my mind, more reasons to stop and stay and never take the risk.

One answer that often springs to mind, and that I’ve had many people say to me when I tell them of my plans, is “If not now, then when?” You hear plenty of stories of people today who change their lifestyles dramatically in their 30s, 40s and 50s or later. It is not uncommon and although difficult, can be very rewarding. I hope to be reinventing my life at that age myself. But when will you ever be able to change your life at the drop of a hat, if not in your 20s. When will you be able to quit your job, book flights and experience the new within a matter of days.

I have no dependants. I have no responsibilities other than those that I place upon myself  in the forms of employment and general social or personal obligations. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to say that for. Like I said earlier people my age are having fucking kids already…

I’d like that in my future too I think. But not now, now I want to go diving in oceans that I’ve only read about, I want to climb volcanoes that I’ve only seen photos of on Instagram, I want to go to festivals and concerts and bars and restaurants that I see on Facebook and I want to meet people who I will not meet if I stay still.

There’s no certainty in what I’m deciding to do, on what hundreds of thousands of people before me have chosen to do. I’m lucky that I find myself in the position where I’m able to even do this, there are so many people who can’t. The more I think about it the more doubt enters my mind, more reasons to stop and stay and never take the risk. But the more I think about it what also becomes apparent is that I need to do something like this, that if I never take this opportunity while it is present then I will have gone against everything that I hoped I would grow up to be.

Fear, uncertainty, stability, comfort, security; they can all go and fuck themselves.

The more I think about it, the more certain I become.


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