Life, Travel, and Finding Balance

Admittedly, my travel life has been quite dull lately. I’m truly not happy with that. Plus, it’s really not helpful when writing a blog in the travel niche either. We all know that I can’t keep up with the long term travelers anyway, but I still feel like I need to justify why I haven’t been anywhere exciting ever since last fall.

But you know, somehow, life got in the way of travel these past months.

I know, I know, there are hundreds of lists and articles out there in the blogoshere naming all the lame excuses for people not to travel, or the many pretended reasons to postpone travel. Yes, I’m totally guilty of postponing travel lately. But even if saying “life just got in the way” sounds like such a random excuse, I don’t think I’m trying to find an excuse for myself. Instead, I’m just trying to be realistic.

I have just started my career as a professional geek. Currently, I spend my days reading novels from the 12th century, and my life basically centers on knights, dragons, maidens in distress, and magical rings 24/7. And I’m satisfied with that. I’m at a good place right now. For the first time in a long time, I don’t have to imagine my career working as a supermarket cashier for the rest of my life.

But as winter in Germany continues and the months I haven’t left the country add up, I’m becoming restless more and more. Have I really spent so much of my time at my desk lately? At the same place, in the same city? Has my suitcase been collecting dust for this long already?

My major problem right now is that I want to have it all though: I want a life of travel and adventure, but I also want a career and my medieval knights.

I want a place to be comfortable at, I want a fixed life in a city that I love to call home, I want a circle of close friends nearby so that I never have to spend New Year’s Eve alone again. At the same time however, I want suspenseful stories from abroad, I want to meet people from all over the world, I want to learn how to say “thank you” in foreign languages, I want to challenge myself over and over again.

But unlike many other people out there, I’m not one to quit my job to travel. But I’m also not one to give up on travel just because I want to be good at what I do professionally.

I want it all. But is it honestly possible to have it all?

Is there a way to be a traveler — literally and at heart — without giving up the professional (in my case, the academic) career? Is there a way to put all effort into being successful in fulfilling career goals and still find the strength and time to travel regularly?

Obviously, a lot of my time in the evenings consists of comparing prices of flights to new countries and apartment rentals by the beach. But is pseudo travel planning and dreaming really enough? The other day, I had the horrible realization that I haven’t been to a beach ever since 2012. How have I even lived all this time without that wonderful feeling of sand between my toes? How did I go months without experiencing the happiness that is watching salt water leaving little white lines on your skin when it dries?

Is this what grown-up life is like? Staring at photos from that time I studied abroad, unable to imagine what it felt like to be that tanned girl with sand in her hair, sea shells in her hands, and that insanely happy smile on her face? This can’t be it. Those carefree days can’t just be over already.

After all, I’m still in my twenties. I still don’t own any furniture and I still haven’t decided on what the labels of my life are going to be. I don’t have to have it all figured out already.

I’m just trying to be realistic — and maybe all I need to do, is find balance.

Yes, maybe, there is a way to balance it all out: The restless hippie soul inside me, the traveler with an almost painful longing for distance, but also the young professional trying to make a name for herself in academia.

Have you found your balance yet?