At times practicality seems to overtake dreams. Rather than fall prey to quashed plans it becomes important to consider how to go around, under or over what appears to be an insurmountable problem. Of course we all have our own buttons that, once pushed, provoke us into action we may, or may not take. Mine include family, kitty and money. As previously posted I also have health on my list. Take a heavy dose from the opening lyrics of the 1944 song, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, Eliminate the negative” and, in my opinion, you are well on your way to fulfilling dreams, often on a far more interesting road.
Why am I thinking such thoughts now? It all comes down to family. I have four daughters, two sons-in law, one grandson. Oh, and one cat, but he has his own category. Visiting the cold of Ontario once a year for a month has served well for visiting 5/7 of my family in one fell swoop. I share a household with another. Also with the cat. That leaves my youngest, she is 25. For some reason she tests my patience to the maximum. Perhaps it is that unquenchable urge to know the unknown. She is also a backpacker; she has been on the road since March 2016, with about an eight week break when she came home after falling quite ill with bronchial pneumonia. It was also an opportunity for her to give up her apartment, find homes for her pets and pack up all her worldly possessions before hitting the road again.
Fellow travellers, of course I worry about her being on her own in places she is unfamiliar with. Her sisters worry about me when I am away. That is how family works, or should. We do so because we care and are there for emergencies. Except my youngest resents it until she needs something – usually money. Hers, not mine. So, I have a question, particularly for the young travellers out there, would you prefer to rarely be in touch with family or do you, and family, appreciate daily or weekly check ins, usually more along the nature of something exciting/interesting/frustrating that happened during the day?
I usually send a line or two, privately and publicly, to someone in my family – they are free to pass things along. I guess that is a third option. There are reasons for this, safety being primary of course. If a general itinerary, arrival dates, travel mode, with whom is provided – then you suddenly fall off the grid – someone will know when to start searching for you. After all, things can go wrong. Going solo can mean there is not anyone physically nearby to know if you are in distress – even temporarily, or for the most trivial reason. Someone at home could mean maintaining your sanity, or preventing an international disaster. Or, at least a cultural faux pas. It is a way to keep on top of how everyone is, a few lines quickly sent off can often say much more than a carefully crafted, edited letter. So, for those of us out there, remember the people who are not with you, (I fit into both categories) drop a line, because we can travel with you from afar, and we care. Hell, we love you.
Then there is my cat. He came back with us from China, approaching fifteen years old. The family joke is that I left behind one daughter but brought back the cat. As things have turned out it is that daughter who makes it possible to leave the cat behind. I know he will be well cared for. The issue is that he is getting older. Aside from his quirkiness he has two chronic health issues. Yes, I worry about him as much as I do my daughter who is in….hm, Taiwan. (When I first started writing this she was still in Australia). For anyone wanting to travel but has a pet, consider who will care for him/her: ongoing healthcare, routines, food, and what to do in an emergency. Unless you have pet insurance, with a list of what is covered and not covered, even one urinary tract infection can break the bank for many. As a pet ages so to do the problems. Be prepared to allow final decisions to be made by the person you have entrusted your pet to.
My backpacker daughter had left left two cats and one dog in the care of a friend who moved into the apartment so as to maintain as much familiarity as possible. What had not been dealt was medical issues. It was only through luck that I happened to have temporarily gone home from my travels when a frantic message came saying the elderly cat was very ill. One look at her, the cat that is, told me it was unlikely she would live beyond that day. However, consultation on messenger of all things, (daughter in Thailand) meant taking her to the animal hospital to at least make her comfortable. I pulled no punches, the veterinarian was s little kinder providing options.
I had to make the decision to not prolong her possible suffering. Of course we were all upset. The thing is to ensure there is someone who can make such decisions, preferably after letting you know, but if not possible it is like an executive decision – only made as the best option. I had already ensured that when I am away my daughter at home has final say on the best course of action for my kitty if one must be made. He is, after all, approaching elder cat stage and prolonging life just for me to say goodbye would be cruel.
The final consideration when travelling is money. Which includes the care of a well loved pet. In addition, what about a home base, personal belongings, a job? What can, or should, be given up? Basically, the comfort zone lies in just how willing anyone travelling can let go of. Or make changes to meet dreams and plans. My view is that if anyone plans to go for it and travel for upwards of a year or more, and do not own property, drop the apartment, store everything, and pack your bag lightly. If you own your own place you should be able to figure out how to make that work for you!
Is your job just paycheque to paycheque, do you absolutely love it or can you walk away without any qualms? Perhaps you are near retirement or have managed to set aside a sum towards travel. It is amazing how a little can stretch far with ingenuity. I assume travel is the goal if you are reading this. I promote exploration, in your own country or abroad. My one caveat is to have an emergency fund and/or travel insurance and someone ‘at home’ to contact ‘just in case’. Do not fear adventure, rather grasp it, wrestle with it, love it – then leave it for new ones. Happy travelling!