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Do you ever feel like a plastic bag… or the embodiment of a walking cliché? This is a humbling realization I think we all probably come to accept at one time or another in our twenties.
An older cousin—whose input I actually warrant and respect—made a comment a few weeks back as I tried to explain my vague-ass postgrad plans. The tone was definitely backhanded, but it wasn’t that accusatory.
“Okay, nice. Your generation sure does take its time.”
I instantly found myself on the defense and made light of the situation with one of those unsettled laugh-shrug things.
Yesterday I booked a flight to Dublin. This whole backpacking thing was turning into such a theory; I seriously needed to stop talking about it and just do it already. I found a bitchin’ round trip deal that will allow me three full weeks in Europe towards the end of the summer. For the most part, I will be alone. My mom does not know about any of this yet.
Upwards of eight minutes were spent hovering over the daunting COMPLETE PURCHASE button, questioning why I was even doing this in the first place.
“Be a man,” I told myself. I clicked. The page had expired. I started over. The ticket price had gone up 20 dollars. Those assholes. I rushed to type my payment information again and clicked the button.
A lot of my hesitation stemmed from those words my cousin had said. It’s not exactly a secret that our generation enjoys making grand travel plans as an excuse to avoid real responsibility. A lot of us are so hell-bent on prolonging youth and “finding ourselves” that we take limited accountability for things and choose to run off to Europe or Asia or wherever instead. No one wants to rush into the arms of a desk job. I think we can all agree that it’s only natural to feel aversion towards that.
I’m just not convinced that dickin’ around the south of France with a bottle of rosé is the key to discovering yourself, either. Someone tell the writers over at Elite Daily to stop encouraging this madness.
Yet here I am, with a measly part-time source of income and a nonrefundable plane ticket to Ireland. A walking cliché by all accounts. But if not now, when?
I don’t expect three weeks spent backpacking to answer all of life’s burning questions, nor do I expect to magically discover my true calling. But I do think it will offer a fresh perspective at the very least, and a fresh perspective might be exactly what those of us running off need.
[This post was originally published on June 11, 2015.]
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