Travellers vs. Non-Travellers – Will We Ever Understand Each Other?

“I would rather be a failure at something I love to do than a success at something I hate. – George Burns

A girl is admiring Admiring the scenery of Zhangjiajie Mountains in Hunan, China.

Admiring the scenery of Zhangjiajie Mountains in Hunan, China

 

I rarely visit my home country. Maybe once a year or even less. The reason being, the people I am surrounded by (mostly non-travelers) often try to bring me down and discourage me to travel by saying:

“You are already 24. It’s time to start a family. Time passes by and you don’t get any younger”.  – C’mon people, 24 isn’t that old! I prefer to be a happy 50-year-old single woman with beautiful travel memories rather than a miserable young wife and unfulfilled mother.

“Everyone around you is getting married or pregnant and you just… travel”. – I can still get their lives, but they can’t have mine. I bet they would love to swap with me sometimes.

“You must be feeling so lonely there. Poor girl!” – There is no time to be lonely. You are surrounded by warm and friendly people who are sometimes like a family to you!

A girl sitting on a bamboo boat Yangshuo River

Yangshuo River, Guangxi Province, China

 

It sucks when your family and friends don’t get your travel spirit. It hurts even more when they don’t even support you and seem to be against you and your travel passion. I am still wondering if it’s a simple jealousy or something else hidden behind it – dissatisfaction with their own lives and the lack of fulfilment in their existence.

A girl is exploring Longji Terraced Fields in Guangxi Province

Exploring Longji Terraced Fields in Guangxi Province

 

“You’re the lucky one. Being on a holiday all the time must feel awesome” they say. What they don’t know is that I’m not on a holiday. Part-time blogging and travelling combined with working full-time as a foreign teacher  is a hard job, often exhausting. I have plenty of responsibilities to fulfil and that keeps me busy all the time.

A girl is sitting at the Great Wall of China

Dreaming big at the Great Wall of China

 

When I go home I often get asked many questions regarding my live and travels in Asia, some of them are just way too funny or silly.

“Is that true that Asian boys have small penises?” (this question rocks!)

Most of people I meet when being in Poland want to talk money – how much I spend, how much I earn, how beneficial blogging is. I don’t mind it at all and I totally understand it. However, I easily get frustrated when they start asking if I am saving money for my retirement or how I am going to get financially ready for the future if I keep “wasting my money on pleasures”, etc. What they probably don’t know is that I spend less on my weekly travels than they spend on cocktails and drinks on Friday and Saturday nights.

A girl is smiling Huashan Mountains

Huashan Mountains, Xi’an.

 

The longer you live and travel in Asia, the less common topics you have with your European friends. It’s hard to speak the same language again. At least I find it challenging. While I am talking about how amazing it felt to be watching the sunset over Koh Phangan Island in Thailand, they are thinking of what dress they should wear tonight. When I am telling them stories of how amazing it was to live like a local in Siem Reap (Cambodia) and explore the temples of Angkor Wat, they tell me how they struggled to get a C for their exams. We are still the same, but so different.

I often wonder if we, world explorers and adventure hunters, will be ever understood by 9-to-5 job people. Why is it so difficult for them to get us?  Because they never felt the way we did. They never left their comfort zones and got lost. Never carried their backpacks, never talked to a stranger…

A girl is riding an elephant

Looking for more adventures in Sri Lanka

 

Therefore, I’m so glad to be a traveller and blogger, and stay connected with fellow travel writers. Being a part of the travel community gives me such a strength to carry on travelling. Knowing that there are more people like me out there who aren’t afraid of exploring the world and sharing their memories with others , keeps me going and makes me the happiest person ever!

 

Travelers vs. Non-Travelers – Will We Ever Understand Each Other?

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{ 126 comments… add one }
  • Steve May 12, 2013, 12:08 pm

    I suspect they will never get your way of thinking. You are happy and that is the important thing in life. I will be 48 next month and it has taken me a long time to find something that makes me happy. Those people who conform because they feel that is the norm will always end up feel dissatisfied with everything.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 6:10 am

      Thank you Steve. You’re right. I’m done pleasing people. It’s nearly impossible to do some. At the end of the day, I don’t want to end up feeling dissatisfied with my life and decisions I’ve made.

      Reply
    • Bruce March 22, 2014, 8:56 am

      Both you guys are really great , living the dream . I have lived for the past 5 years in the Philippines and now for 6 months in Thailand and even though i travel i wish i could find the courage to do what you do . I am from Australia 36 year old male and love to get around but i keep getting bogged down with my work . Reading about your adventures really gets me thinking about what i should be doing instead of everyday stress of working . I try to teach these people a new skill and give them a wage every week but i feel i sacrifice my life sometimes . I dont mean to sound rude but sometimes i feel i need more . How i would love to follow in your footsteps . Keep up the great blogs , i only just found them bye accident and have been enjoying all the tails you two have been through . I see the dates are from last year so i dont expect a reply but if one of you read this i just thank you for time to put all your good times out there for the rest of us to be inspired and for something to strive for . Thank you

      Reply
  • Daniel McBane May 12, 2013, 12:45 pm

    So true. Most people seem to think I did nothing all day but lay on a beach or in a hammock, etc, during my time traveling. To be fair, there definitely were a few days like that, but not all of them. Like you, most of my time in Asia was spent working to pay for those days on the beach or in the hammock.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 6:08 am

      Exactly. We work our assess off to pay for those days on the beach. Story of my life.

      Reply
  • Noelfy May 12, 2013, 2:34 pm

    Totally agree with the post, I feel 100% identify, except because I just turn 27 and the pressure increase! :P

    Our family/friends cannot understand us. We are a new generation, the digital nomads! this is something unexplainable for them. They are not yet jealous coz they cannot understand the greatness of our freedom!

    Don’t discourage, you are never too old/young to do anything! Especially for traveling and enjoy the life without limits!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 6:08 am

      Yes, the pressure increases with your age, that’s for sure. I don’t wanna know what’s gonna happen when I turn 30 (hopefully it’s not gonna be soon, ufff, what a relief! :P). So true, it takes time to understand us – digital nomads so we should be more patient :). So true- it’s never too late or too early to start your adventures! Thanks Noelia for such inspiring comment! Miss you x

      Reply
  • Tom @ Waegook Tom May 12, 2013, 4:14 pm

    I really enjoyed this post! Luckily as a guy, I don’t get the whole getting married, starting a family lecture from my family – even less so because I’m gay!

    Do I understand non-travellers? Of course I do. I’m the only one in my family who travels long-term, although my mum and brother love going to new places. My dad has never left the UK. I’m lucky that my family are supportive.

    Do I understand non-travellers who judge travellers? No. I don’t get why people judge how others live. As long as you’re enjoying yourself, doing what you love, and staying safe, then what’s the problem?

    And do Asian boys have small penises? Well, not as big as European boys perhaps, but hey, I’ve been living in Asia for over three years now, so Asian guys are doing something right ;)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 6:05 am

      Hey Tom! You have no idea how funny your comment is (especially the last phrase). I am still laughing out loud :), seriously. You rock! I’m so happy your family turned out to be so supportive. This is actually what I need right now, but it’s not happening. BIG TIME. I also think that people have no right to judge how others live, but they often do and they don’t care about it. As for the Asian guys, thanks for letting us know :)x

      Reply
      • drake April 8, 2016, 9:22 pm

        8 x 3 inches big enough?

  • Amy Scott @ Nomadtopia May 12, 2013, 4:16 pm

    Ah, yes, I can definitely relate! I think one of the keys to us understanding each other is recognizing that different things make us happy. As long as everyone is truly happy doing whatever they’re doing, that’s enough for me. What makes it challenging is when we can’t imagine ever being happy living the way the other person lives, so we convince ourselves that they can’t possibly be happy with that life either, and we impose our own beliefs and preferences on them.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 5:52 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more Amy. I guess most of travelers can relate. Thanks for sharing, great point.

      Reply
  • Jason's Travels May 12, 2013, 4:52 pm

    You undoubtedly have a lot of differences now that you’ve been away for so long. But, when it comes down to it – and here’s where I connect Asia to the rest of the world – I think the Dalai Lama said it best when he stated, at our core, all anyone wants is to just be happy. And people who do not travel are just expressing to you what would make them happy.

    Keep smiling. :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 5:50 am

      I do keep smiling Jason, always!! Jordin Sparks say that if you don’t laugh or smile at least 20 times a day – it hasn’t been a good day:)! Yes, being away from home for such a long period of time makes everything so different. Me and my friends have less and less to talk about and time flies! We should all do what makes us happy – so true :)

      Reply
  • Toni May 12, 2013, 6:23 pm

    This is very true Agness! I’ve been a 9-5er for the last 5 years but have travelled twice for long periods of time so I can see both sides to the argument. As the office worker, I would say that you’re right – a lot of it is resentment and jealousy that they can’t have the same opportunities i.e. they have children/big responsibilities etc and feel trapped by them. My mum, for example, loves that I travel but is jealous because, unfortunately, when she was growing up, she didn’t have the same opportunities as we have today…so she wants to ‘travel through me’ :)
    As a traveller I would say that despite our responsibilities with writing, working, living etc, we are seen to be on a ‘permanent holiday’ and not everyone can find it in their hearts to be happy for us and see how much hard work we put into living the dream :s It’s a difficult pill to swallow from either side!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 5:48 am

      Thank you Toni for sharing. You made a great point here. I wish my mom was more supportive, but she’s trying her best :). So true, that’s how non-travelers see us – happy people with endless holiday forgetting about how hard we work to be where we are and to do what we do.

      Reply
  • Sonja @ The {Happy} Travel Bug May 12, 2013, 7:29 pm

    I think all experiences in life help us learn and grow as people. Those that are stagnant in life aren’t doing a lot of growing and therefore aren’t that understanding of different lifestyles. Kuddos to you for doing what you love and taking chances!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 5:34 am

      Thanks Sonja. That’s so true. Every day is a great lesson to learn, especially when you travel.

      Reply
  • The CounterIntuitive May 12, 2013, 8:05 pm

    Ah, the beauty of different views. In some ways, I’m a little bit thankful. If everyone had the same opinion, there’d be way too many travellers in the world lol.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 5:24 am

      True, true, true and the world would be way too boring I guess :).

      Reply
  • Aggy May 12, 2013, 8:10 pm

    Agness, I love this article! I think you should do whatever makes you happy. While I have a sort of 9-5 job at the moment (doing internship), I know I would rather be out there exploring like you. Your life is an amazing life, let people talk, you’re the one enjoying it!
    I also love that opening quote! Keep doing what you doing Agness, maybe your friends and family will finally get it one day, maybe not, either way you get to be happy :D

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 5:24 am

      Thank you Aggy, you’ve been incredibly supportive recently, so many thanks for these kind words. I’m also working full-time in China right now at the kindergarten, but I use every single day off to travel and explore and that really makes me happy. I wish I could just travel, but I can’t afford to do it all year long :(.

      Reply
  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown May 13, 2013, 2:16 am

    You’ve made some great points here Agness. It does seem to stem from two different mindsets! As long as everyone is respectful, we can agree to enjoy our different lifestyles….but I think sometimes people can be a bit closeminded!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 5:20 am

      Yep, so true. Being close-minded is the result of not going anywhere and not seeing anything I guess.

      Reply
  • Sam @Travellingking.com May 13, 2013, 4:40 am

    great post and I agree its hard for non-travellers to relate or understand your passion for travelling.
    For soe people settling down and having kids is important and for others travelling til they are 100 is important..
    Different values.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 5:19 am

      Yes, it’s sometimes never ending story to please them. Settling down and having a family is also important to me, but right now I just want to enjoy my travels, keep exploring the world and look for more adventures! :)

      Reply
  • Emily May 13, 2013, 4:40 am

    Excellent post, Agness! I never realized how unsupportive people can be of traveling until recently. I think a lot of it stems from either jealousy or the fact that most people never see traveling as an option for them. Because of this, a lot of people aren’t supportive. I’ve decided that I’m done trying to please others. I need to do what makes me happy . :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 13, 2013, 5:18 am

      Thanks Emily. Your comment really made me smile. It’s so true – we shouldn’t worry about what people say to us, we’re all different and what really matters is that we are happy with our lives and that’s it!

      Reply
  • OCDemon May 13, 2013, 6:15 am

    I’ve always felt it was weird that I had to explain wanderlust to people. Yeah, I want a couch and a nice set of pots and pans, but I also want to see the Taj Mahal, and if I have to pick one or the other, well, it’s pretty simple. I don’t mind them living their life at home with friends and family, since that can be fun too, but if they don’t see the value of seeing the world, then it’s hard to have a worthwhile conversation with them.

    And it’s sad growing apart from home. The longer you’re away, the less important it becomes. You know your friends less well, and once they start getting married, they’re a lot busier than they used to be, and going home gets a little lonelier every time. And that’s why once you start traveling frequently, it’s usually a one-way road to eternal wanderlust.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 14, 2013, 10:20 am

      So true. I actually couldn’t agree more with what you are saying here. I have already noticed how hard going home is and how lonely you can feel surrounded by people who cannot understand the world you are lIving in. My couch and daily newspaper need to wait a little bit longer… :)

      Reply
  • Jennifer May 13, 2013, 7:12 am

    Thanks for the post agness. I am struggling at the moment. I have just returned from a 7 month rtw trip and have come back to a 9 – 5 job. It pays really well, but i feel aas though thats part of the problem i feel trapped because it pays well even though its not what i want to do!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 14, 2013, 10:32 am

      Jenn, I can only imagine what you must be feeling right now, but chin up! I guess you have already started planning your next trip and you look forward to it ;). I am always here if you feel like nobody understands you x

      Reply
  • Mike May 13, 2013, 9:17 am

    Interesting question. I think some people are never meant to really understand each other. For example, I have known expats in Tokyo who live for the money…and when they get it (which they do, in bucketloads), they still want more, and the “trophy bride” (whatever that is lol) and the newest BMW…and the list goes on. While I understand what motivates people like that, my values are so different, I never want to BE like that. And those guys probably don’t want to be like me, either.

    Full-time travel is another value. It’s a life choice. And it is usually acquired in exchange for stability. Or at least that’s what “stable” married people with kids back home usually tell me. They know why I love to travel. And some of them probably envy my lifestyle from time to time, but they don’t want to BE like me.

    So, no, we will never fully see eye to eye. They don’t really value my existence as being “mature,” and I don’t really see what they do as anything except repopulating the planet in their secure nest. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — they are happy in that life. But I can’t help thinking, “Why don’t you want to see and learn more?” and I’m sure they are thinking, “Why can’t you be happy with less and just stay here?”

    I think I’ll stick to my path of seeing and learning more :) Glad to know people like you guys are doing the same :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 14, 2013, 10:47 am

      Thanks Mike a lot for this comment. I am a lot like you
      – never actually paid much attention to money and the more I travel, the less I need and the more I want to share and it is a fantastic feeling. We all should collect moments, not things. I do really understand people who decide to devote their lives to their jobs and careers, but for some reason they do not get me. Maybe you are right and some people are not meant to understand each other…

      Reply
      • Mike May 30, 2013, 2:26 pm

        I like that — collecting moments, not things. If that’s the case, you’re actually quite wealthy :)

      • Agness Walewinder June 3, 2013, 4:17 am

        True :):)

  • kami May 13, 2013, 9:29 am

    niestety zawiść jest narodową cechą Polaków, a ta o podróże to już w ogóle. I to wcale nie musza być podróże po Azji, wystarczy dobre wyłapywanie promocji na tanie linie i latanie za grosze na weekendy to tu to tam (co w ogólnym rozrachunku wychodzi taniej niż noc na mieście albo wypad na zakupy), a już jest się na językach wszystkich. Ja pracuję na etacie, codziennie 8 godzin, kokosów nie zarabiam, a i tak mam czas i kasę na podróże. I to ludzi boli, lepiej ponarzekać nad swoim losem i poobgadywać innych niż ogarnąć się i zacząć coś konstruktywnego robić ze swoim życiem. Na słowa “jak ja ci zazdroszczę” mam już alergię i reaguję mini agresją ;)
    a co do ustatkowania się, zakładania rodziny itp – rozumiem aż za dobrze. za rok mi 30 stuknie, a nie planuję w najbliższej przyszłości zmieniać swojego życia. Ludzie na wszystkich patrzą swoimi kategoriami, a że im odpowiada siedzenie w domu i spędzanie czasu na oglądaniu durnych programów nie znaczy, że wszyscy tak mają. Nie dla każdego spełnienie = rodzina, dzieci, mieszkanie na kredyt, dla innych (jak Ty czy ja) są to podróże. ale cieżko to innym przetłumaczyc niestety… moja rada – olej to co inni myślą i rób swoje! bo to w końcu Twoje życie i Twoje wspomnienia na stare lata!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 1:34 pm

      Hej Kami, dzięki wielkie za komentarz. Zgadzam się, że wielu ludzi zazdrości innym wszystkiego, a sami nic nie zrobią, aby zmienić swoje życie. Nie zamierzam oczywiście przestawać podróżować, ani zmieniać swojego życia dla innych, bo spełniam się w 100% i jestem szczęśliwa. Zrozumieć chyba może nas tylko ten, co sam podróżuje :).

      Reply
  • Carl May 13, 2013, 10:37 am

    I loved this post. A lot!

    Since I’ve been back from my travels I’ve felt a lot more disconnected from friends and acquaintances who are moving forwards with their lives in that “get job, settle down, have kids – done” route, whilst I’m further away than ever from that. And happily that’s through choice! But it is a shame to start feeling that you have less and less in common with the people you know.

    Thankfully I haven’t really felt that pressure from friends/family yet that I should be “growing up” or however they may phrase it, but I also get the feeling it won’t be too long haha…

    Really funny timing with this post on a personal level too, as I was just looking through the “gift list” for a friends’ wedding I’m going to next month, and – with my jaw on the floor – realised how different we are now. I’m really glad they are happy, but I’m personally happy being a traveller (whenever I can) ha! :)

    Reply
  • Doreen Pendgracs May 13, 2013, 11:55 am

    H Agness: i really enjoyed your post, and I feel your pain.

    I’ve always gone against the grain when it comes to the norm. But I’ve always lived a rich life (experience-wise) with limited resources. I chose to be childless, left corp life 20 years ago to go freelance and have never looked back. You’ll find that as you go thru life, your compadres and confidantes will change as you grow, experience life, and your priorities continue to evolve. My advice is just to continue following your heart. You are likely inspiring others more than you know.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 1:46 pm

      Story of my life Doreen. People keep saying I’m so childish and will never grow up because of my travels. Of course I’m going to continue following my heart. I have always been doing that and I’ll never stop. Thanks a lot for those words. They made me smile. Sending my love from sunny Macau.

      Reply
  • memographer May 13, 2013, 12:28 pm

    Great writing, Agness. If I would sign it, it would be 100% my true story :) I guess non-travelers are the same around the world.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 1:47 pm

      True. Thanks a lot. I’m glad people agree and relate to what I’ve written and been feeling for a long long time :).

      Reply
  • Anita May 13, 2013, 12:43 pm

    I love this post Agness – so many great and true points. I’m a traveller but also a “normal” working girl and try to handle both “careers” as good as possible. As I have invested so many hours of my young life into my Master Degree, I’m not ready yet to give it all up for being a digital nomad. However, I think you’re doing the exact right thing and I love your way of life!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 1:50 pm

      Thank you Anita. You don’t need to give up on your career to be happy and travel. Looking at you have been doing, I am certainly sure you can manage to combine working with travelling and this is the reason why I’ve been admiring your passion and ambition so much! Keep up being awesome and good luck with your uni!

      Reply
  • Casey @ A Cruising Couple May 13, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Dan and I get this all the time. I think especially because we’re already married, people just don’t understand why we wouldn’t want to settle down and decorate a house and start having kids, because we’re so lucky to be able to start so young! I tend to think they just have our best interests in mind and just don’t understand the travel bug yet. So true what you said about spending less on our travels than a lot of people back home spend on weekend cocktails! But like you said, it’s not about conforming to how other people think you should be living your life-good for you for doing more than most people ever dream of!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 1:52 pm

      True, so people just don’t understand the bug yet. Once they try it, they would never stop, I’m so sure about it :). Thank you so much for sharing x

      Reply
  • Christine |GRRRL TRAVELER May 13, 2013, 1:11 pm

    Loved this post, Agness! It’s so true that many society people don’t know how to perceive those of us who travel on a normal basis… who strive to make it our lives. Being back in Western society, it’s something I struggle with and a big part of it isn’t only people I know, but the mass consciousness of my environment. People throw money around like it’s nothing and on futile pleasures. They chastise those who don’t tip 20% because you waiter/waitress is working hard at a job they at least get minimum wage for. They’re wasteful with printing on paper or using many plastic bags for groceries. I just see so much excess. Travel has totally readjusted my life and priorities to spend for necessary and practical things, value the simple but essential.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 1:59 pm

      Story of my life Christine… So happy to hear there are people like me out there… :). I always struggle with that being back home so let’s share the pain together… :)

      Reply
  • Kristin Addis May 13, 2013, 1:47 pm

    I just turned 27 and started freaking out a little about being this age and single, then I look at people who are married with kids and realize that, at least right now, I want nothing to do with that. It looks so boring! I’m just not ready to stop being selfish.

    My favorite quote that I think definitely applies here: “‘Everyone needs to find their path in life … there are many influences that can pull you one way or the other, there will always be someone that tells you that you are too young, or too old, or too inexperienced, but you have to follow your instincts.”

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 2:03 pm

      Great quote Kristin! I’m 24 and I started worrying about being single as well. Sometimes I feel like I need someone by my side and then I go to another country, have a nice glass of red wine, go sightseeing, meet amazing people and think “Am I really to settle down!? Hell NO!” :)

      Reply
  • flip May 13, 2013, 4:17 pm

    Keep on doing what you love doing Agness despite of what other people say :-) Safe travels!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 2:12 pm

      Cheers mate, I will ALWAYS! You also enjoy your travels.

      Reply
  • Charlie May 13, 2013, 7:51 pm

    I can definitely relate to your experiences! Some people back home never understood why I chose to leave the UK instead of focusing on career. There’s an attitude among my parents’ friends that I’ll regret not settling down early and saving for a pension (yeah right?!) and some of my friends seem resentful that I left. Fortunately my family is super supportive. But I guess it goes both ways. They don’t understand my love of travel; I don’t understand how anyone can be happy being in the same place and doing/seeing the same things every day. What is comes down to is different things make different people happy. I always respect their choices, whether I understand them or not, and lucky (most) people back home respect mine too.

    Just keep doing what makes you happy girl, regardless of what people say!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 2:16 pm

      Hi Charlie. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing. I’m so happy your family’s so supportive. I agree with everything you are saying. People don’t get the way you live and you can’t understand how their lives can be so boring. I have the same feeling. The daily routine would just kill me :). I do carry on travelling as this is what I love and what makes me a happy girl! :):)

      Reply
  • Jess @UsedYorkCity May 13, 2013, 8:13 pm

    And here I was…thinking Europeans completely supported the long holiday, nomadic lifestyle! Silly American:-) I applaud you for doing what you love, and you’ll meet people along your journey that admire and support what you do! xx

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 2:17 pm

      LOL, thanks Jess. I do always meet people along my adventures that admire and support what I am doing and it’s a great feeling when I chat with them and travel :).

      Reply
  • Salika Jay May 14, 2013, 8:16 am

    I think times are different now. More people do part time work or work from home jobs in comparison to 9 to 5 the previous generations are used to. So perhaps they can’t fully grasp the idea of working in an Asian country and traveling around the world. They could be genuinely concerned about you but lack of understanding of what’s happening in other parts of the world must make them feel at a lost. What I learned from traveling is, you start seeing the world in a whole new perspective. Wish non-travelers can at least give it a thought sometimes.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 2:28 pm

      I agree Salika. Times are different now and people do struggle to fully grasp the idea of working in an Asian country and travelling around the world. We should just do our thing without looking at those who have no idea how it feels to be a world explorer :).

      Reply
  • Bennett May 14, 2013, 9:45 am

    Totally agree, but we should all understand how each other want to live – if we all lived life the same it would be really boring! The grass is always greener on the other side, for people on both arguments. I miss things from home but it’s worth it to do what I do. I’m sure if people who complain that our jobs are easy as travellers and if they actually did them they might not find them so easy…!

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    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 2:29 pm

      Exactly Sarah. I am so glad to meet you in person because I know how similar we are and how we love to explore this world. So true with the grass:).

      Reply
  • Angela May 14, 2013, 9:58 am

    I think we can if we stop thinking of ourselves as travelers and non travelers. Everyone travels in their own way.
    Both travelers and non travelers made a choice. Yours (and mine) was to travel the world. Theirs was to live the life they are living. Even if they haven’t made a conscious choice they still made that choice. Their way of life is not better or worse than ours, just different. And there will always be a gap when talking to them about the things you experience because their world is a lot smaller than yours, but that doesn’t mean they are in any way unhappy or jealous. Maybe a few are but not all. Some people just don’t feel the need to do what we do and there is nothing wrong with that.
    I understand that it gets super annoying when people constantly ask those questions, maybe it has to do with Polish culture? Most people in Holland think it’s really great what we are doing. The only that keeps asking if I’m thinking about my retirement is my mum!

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  • [email protected] May 14, 2013, 2:21 pm

    HI Agness, this is really an interesting subject. I think it belongs to universal issue of non-conformist vs. conformist. Travelers fall in the non-conformist category. They have their own minds, they do what will make them grow and happy regardless of the dictate of their culture and society. People on the other side may not understand you, but then that’s their problem. Kudos for you for being non-conformist.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 2:36 pm

      Thanks a lot. True, that’s their problem. So happy you get me! :)

      Reply
  • Kelly S. May 15, 2013, 8:39 am

    Oh heavens! Keep traveling! Please! My husband and I married young and had kids young. And while I wouldn’t trade my life with him or my great kids for anything, I wish we had traveled more before we had had those great kids. Also, I have read over and over again about how money can make a person happy, it’s what you spend it on that makes you happy. That big screen TV? Maybe a couple of weeks. That great vacation? That can keep you happy for years. Traveling is like a drug I think. The more you see, the more you realize how big the world is and how much more you NEED to see! Happy travels friends!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 15, 2013, 2:39 pm

      True, that’s why I want to travel now when I am still young and have no kids, although I am planning to take my kids with me in the future so they can explore the world as I am now. Travelling is so addictive, I agree. The more you see, they more you want to explore and nobody and nothing can stop you. I will do my best to travel as long as I can :). Thanks for those kinds words Kelly!

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  • Franca May 15, 2013, 3:17 pm

    I get those questions all the time, especially the ones about settling down at some point and not getting any younger (I wish I was 24 like you :) ).
    I know people that don’t understand my choice & way of living and others that think that what I’m doing is fantastic. I guess there will never be the perfect balance, people with different priorities in life won’t ever fully understand our choices.
    Just keep doing what you feel! :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 16, 2013, 4:20 am

      That is true. It is so hard to please everyone nowadays :(. So true, that is why we need to follow our dreams without caring what others say. Right? :)

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  • Kathleen @ Our Favorite Adventure May 15, 2013, 11:30 pm

    Agness, I love every word of this post! Though we are very fortunate to have the support of our family, there are many that do not understand our choices. I also think it is fair to use this same comparison with non-conformists vs. conformists like another commenter mentioned. I think there is a big misunderstanding that we are just on vacation all the time, but really we have just made an intentional choice to live a specific way and it happens to involve moving around a lot. I think it is wonderful that some people want to live the more traditional 9-5 lifestyle and raise a family, but I don’t believe that everyone who is doing so has chosen that path, but let it happen to them and not made an deliberate choice at all. (And then judge us ;) )

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 16, 2013, 4:22 am

      Yeah, that’s a huge misunderstanding especially when you are a travel blogger. There are plenty of things we need to deal with on a regular basis. It’s not only about chilling out on the beach, it’s about caring, sharing our experiences and interacting with other travellers. I sometimes can’t handle it so Cez helps me out. We should all do what we love the most and stop judging each other! Thank you so much for sharing x

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  • Tamara (@Turtlestravel) May 16, 2013, 12:48 am

    Great post, Agness! You’ve really been able to sum up the difference between the different mindsets. We hear so often, “When are you going to settle down?” and “Don’t you think it’s time to get a real job?” (I am in my early 40s and my partner is in his mid 30s, so for us SOME of the pressure is wearing off as people have started to give up asking! ;)) It’s also hard to listen to those who seem to almost accuse travelers as being on a permanent vacation. That’s so far from the truth. Traveling long-term is actually a lot of work, as you know. Being able to maintain travel as a lifestyle requires a great deal of sacrifice actually. However, it’s also true that we as travelers should take care not to judge those who have chosen a more traditional path. There are many who find their joy staying in one spot (as hard for us to understand as it is for them to understand us). Keep on doing what you do. Build those memories. Learn from those experiences. Live without regrets. Safe travels to you!!

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 16, 2013, 4:26 am

      I bet it’s more difficult when you are in your 30s and 40s. Although I am much younger than you, I can feel a huge pressure already. Wondering what’s gonna happen in 10 years :). As for blogging and travelling, it is a lot of work, especially when you blog professionally. What I mean professionally is to do it daily, keep in touch with other travellers, using social media and sharing photos/travel tips with others. It’s a hard job and only travel bloggers can understand it.Thank you for sharing and you also travel safely! :-). Sending my love from sunny Macau.

      Reply
  • The Guy May 16, 2013, 9:52 am

    Fabulous post Agness.

    We all face life choices and you’ve embraced yours. You are happy, learning everyday and developing a fully rounded character. The people from your home are lost in the day to day trivia which now pales into insignificance.

    I hope that your family and friends learn to be happy that you are happy. As we say “they don’t get it” but hopefully one day they will.

    And 24 is most definitely young for this day and age. I’m 40 and I’ve just got married.

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 16, 2013, 10:16 am

      Thank you so much. I hope they will get me and my travel bug soon :).

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  • melomakarona May 16, 2013, 12:32 pm

    Happy to have stumbled across your site!

    I do not think non-travelers will ever understand us. After all, you cannot really get somebody if you have never walked in their shoes. And…not a lot of people in this world would want to walk in my shoes anyways.

    I walk – hitchhike – a heck of a lot of miles on a given day :)

    Anyways, happy and safe travels to you, fellow wanderer. May our roads cross sometime…somewhere :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 16, 2013, 3:01 pm

      Hi there. Thanks a lot for the comment. So great to keep in touch. I agree with you that you cannot really get somebody if you have never walked in their shoes :). Hope to meet you on the road! You also have enjoy your travels :).

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  • DebbZie May 18, 2013, 7:05 am

    I can relate to this post so much. I experience those annoying questions a lot from my community. Here in my country most people think that a woman’s duty is get married, having children and taking care her family. Thus they don’t understand why I haven’t married yet. I’m 33 yo by they way, you’re 24 and still young. Just ignore those people. It is you to decide what’s the best for your life :)

    Reply
    • Agness Walewinder May 18, 2013, 8:18 am

      Yep, true. That is what other people told me to do – just ignore those who have never been bitten by a travel bug. You do well and never stop blogging no matter how old you are! Love every single post on your website. By the way, 33 is still young :).

      Reply
  • Ginger Carney @truebluegin May 22, 2013, 3:42 am

    Hello Agnes,

    What a great post! I agree with Kelly S exactly. You can have a family and kids later, and when you do you will have much more to offer them. My husband and I chose not to have children and have been married 20 years. Eventually the questions stop – people finally get it that we decided not to have children. However, I have many friends who simply do not understand the NEED to travel. I love what you said about why they don’t get it: “They never left their comfort zones and got lost. Never carried their backpacks, never talked to a stranger…” Thankfully I can say we have talked to strangers in The Grenadines, Punta Cana, Paris, Nice, Eze, Milos, Santorini, Nafplion, Athens, as well as all throughout the US. It is a feeling of learning about another person or culture. I think it will always be travelers vs. non-travelers. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” You go girl!

    Reply

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