"All of my life I have been so concerned with living an extraordinary life," says Jamie Bradley, who at age 25 quit her job to travel around the world alone for a year only to find herself overwhelmed by the immensity of her expectation. Jamie tried staying in varied accommodations, but found herself too alone and dissatisfied with having to find her way to different venues of interest each day. "I was isolating from the Hostel culture, but I was tired of having the same conversations over and over about where I was from, what places we travel to, and us all secretly competing with one another about who is the more worldly and adventurous," she writes. [Oh, my. I can relate to this, having myself taken off to Australia for three weeks on my own. One of my more amusing, bite-my-tongue conversations was with a woman in a group with whom I was going to ride camels. She was "hosteling" around the world and said she had to do it before she "was 65 and too old." I did not tell her my age. Very thought-provoking, that. But back to Jamie...]
One gets the feeling that if Jamie had relaxed a bit from the get-go and took down time as a part of travel, things might have been better. There is nothing wrong with keeping your journal or relaxing with a good read whilst visiting a new destination country. Certainly nothing to cause worry if one is spending an entire year in travel. One does not really need to "do" an event worthy of a novel or an awesome Instagram every hour. But then again, remember that Jamie had always concentrated on living an extraordinary life and was not prepared to cut herself any slack now. My, my, what is wrong with this picture? What kind of invented pressure is it that makes a wish for travel and adventure into a hamster wheel of competition and longing? Actually, this pressure is around us all the time. Read all about the "Purposeful Travel Hub" - Are you "purposeful" and/or "mindful" in your travel or do you bumble purposelessly and mindlessly around, enjoying stumbling on whatever moved you today? Trust me, your answer is of greatest concern and could contribute to a designation of your value. And you do want to be highly valued, no? Yes! And furthermore! Don't we want to build a life around important, curious and purpose-driven content? Sorry if I gasp at the irony of it all, but if Jamie had been less concerned about how purposeful her trip was meant to be in her own view, she might have had a better time and/or certainly felt less stressed and shamed by her attempt. Waitaminute! Let's not go there! It might lead to the disturbing questions of "what is meaningful," to whom, and "whose Purpose is most Purposeful." Or more confusing, who is defining your adventure? Social Media? Your Mommy? You? One man's adventure may be another's idea of Boring. To quote from my Australian Journal, "Some would evaluate this trip and see that I have not done all that was scheduled. I must learn I am not them."
No one could fault Jamie for being overwhelmed or not continuing her entire year as planned; she writes that she is overall pleased and is happy she began the endeavor. This traveler, for one, congratulates her on her voyage of self-discovery and on opening the door to thoughtful discussion - be it ever so meaningful.