The Romanticism of the Road

No one can say with absolute certainty what the future holds in store for us. We can use our knowledge and experience to predict the future, but there is always a degree of uncertainty. Only time will tell if I have made the right decisions in quitting my job, selling my home, and getting rid of most of my stuff. Most people in American society would say that I’m making a foolish mistake; that I’m being seduced by the romanticism of the road.

The Exotic Fantasy of Long Term Travel

RomanticismMost Americans don’t hitchhike, hop trains, or sleep in the wild outdoors. Most of us fly on speedy airplanes and stay in comfortable hotel rooms. Because the nomadic lifestyle is so unfamiliar, it strikes us as exotic and alluring. We daydream about being on an adventure – like Leonardo DiCaprio exploring Koh Phi Phi or Christopher McCandless braving the Alaskan wilderness.

Then our minds wander back to reality. We tell ourselves that such notions are silly fantasies – the sort best left to the young, the wealthy, or the incredibly stupid.

There may be something to their pessimism. After all, plenty of Americans live full and happy lives by conforming to the American Dream. We have tried and tested this model for living life. At least some of us must believe that it is sound in principle, or we wouldn’t all still be striving for it. Furthermore, I cannot deny the huge risks I’m taking by exploring a nomadic lifestyle. I will be without modern conveniences and exposing myself to much greater hazards than someone living in suburbia would.

World Seen Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

It’s difficult to look at my options objectively. My motivating factor is an emotional hatred for my eleven year career as an attorney. My judgment is clouded – there can be no argument about that. The only question that remains unanswered is whether my judgments will ultimately prove to be correct or misguided.

An estimated 3 million Americans (less than 1%) live an itinerant lifestyle. That statistic is both a source of comfort and unease. On the one hand, I am gratified to know that I am not the only person trying to live a different life. On the other hand, over 315 million people have chosen to live a traditional life. Does that make me one of the enlightened few? Or does it make me delusional?

Mental Masturbation

My conclusion is that you have to take a leap of faith every once in a while. You have to take a risk and leave yourself vulnerable to making a mistake. You’ve got to be willing to fail spectacularly and get embarrassed by the process. Life is too short to play it safe all the time.

If we don’t take chances, then fantasies are just mental masturbation. If you want to get laid, then you’ve got to put yourself out there and meet someone. And if you want to have an adventure, then you’ve got to be willing to leave behind the comforts of home and the relative security of your occupation.

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