I may not have grown up in a small or rural town, but the sentiment stands true… I want more than what I’ve been conditioned for through higher education, years of perfecting my resume, and jobs I couldn’t wait to quit. Forgive me right here and right now, because it was due to a list of Beauty & The Beast quotes that my wheels started turning this evening. And let’s be real here, this is no path less traveled (pun intended).
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of twenty-somethings out there searching for the same “something more” I’m looking for; perhaps the same one you’re looking for, too. They’re out in the world making memories, exploring our planet. Many of them are writing about it, just like I am. You probably noticed the sudden influx of “why wait to see the world?” content in your news feed; I certainly have. It feels like everyone and their mother is out there exploring, and it actually excites me.
I remember having conversations with my father when I was as young as fourteen. He’d ask me what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do. I’d always have a new, often far-fetched answer, and he’d always be supportive. “I want to be a writer.” or “I want to live in New York City.” I was never really sure of what I wanted, but I knew I wouldn’t find it in the suburbs or even in one place. I’d always tell him that I wasn’t going to live a typical life, and he’d always laugh in an all knowing way, as if I still had so much to learn. And yet, he always believed in me. As the case may be, it’s quite possibly his fault that I have these wild ideas of what ‘success’ means. I can’t shake this feeling that I can build something of my own with more meaning than sitting at a desk for eight hours a day.
In my opinion, it’s the new American dream: To see more, taste more, enjoy more, and to do it on our own time. A friend recently told me, “All the Millenials want that; to work for themselves.” Let’s not pretend this hasn’t been said before.
Then it got me thinking about all this “more” stuff. What does it really mean to me? Could it really be about the need to travel? Could it be laziness? I’m certainly not lazy (on the days I actually do something). Maybe it’s about going out of my way to make someones day, every day. Feasibly, I could just take a day trip here and there, and then the nine to five life might be survivable. It could be that it’s not entirely necessary to quit your job to see the world.
Then all this thinking got me thinking… it’s not really about the travel at all. I want more than this proverbial provincial life, so I decided to travel. However, as much as I enjoy taking pictures of beautiful landscapes, eating street food until my belly aches, writing posts about teaching in South Korea, and overall making my future self jealous of these great adventures, my search for “more” is about… well, more than that. Full Moon parties in Thailand or the worlds best beaches are worthwhile to experience, but that’s not the kind of travel I want to do. Those are not the stories I want to tell.
It’s about showing the non-believers that there’s a whole existence out there beyond theirs that is worth exploring. Life outside North America can be ugly and beautiful, better and worse, brutal and carefree. I’ts that captivating juxtaposition that enlightens us on the world around us, and helps us walk a day in the shoes of our fellow human beings. Most of all, it’s vital to understand.
I received an e-mail recently from Airbnb titled, “See a World Without Strangers.” Perhaps you saw it, too. In the e-mail they said:
Unique local experiences. A sense of belonging. Fewer strangers.
I’m learning in my own way that people are not all made the same, but the fact that we are all human continues to unite us. Cultures will always have their differences, but I see my grandmother’s face in the Korean lady who crutches in the subway. I remember the kids that I went to school with through the students I teach every day. I feel a little touch of home in the kindness of my co-workers.
For me, the fact that I want more from life, travel, a career, means that I want to build a world with less strangers. Make choices that help improve other’s lives. Tell stories of the people who have inspired me, and who make our planet a better place.
What does something more mean to you?
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