About moving to Thailand and why we aren’t ready for a house and kids. Just Yet.
We had reached a certain point in our lives, we had just got married, were living together in a rented flat and looking around saying, ‘So….what happens now?’
Should we do what was presumably expected of us, take the sensible route and buy a house of our own then have the mandatory baby? (I can’t count the amount of people who asked us when we were going to have a baby after the wedding not to mention the lead up to it!)
We already had the dog, so technically we were well on our way to having the ‘perfect’ little family life.
The reality of that life for us was enough to send us packing. Ending up living in a house we didn’t really want, with a baby we had just because felt we probably should or ‘it’s the next step’ all because that’s considered by the majority as ‘the normal path’.
I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if we did do that. When the thoughts of travel, flourishing creatively and finding the perfect career become suppressed, to be filled with doing things we are expected to do rather than what we actually want to do. Is it selfish of us?
I ask because I have been told before that it IS selfish of me to want to live my own life. I should be having children and settling down ‘at my age’ (i had just turned 28 at the time). Not leaving the UK with no solid 5-10 year plan.
Is it irresponsible of us to want to follow our dreams and live a life that’s ours, rather than just living to pay for the mortgage on a house that we can’t really afford? Scraping together just enough each month to have our own place only to ultimately feel resent toward that house/apartment.
Having a ‘real job’ – a regular and safe 9 – 5 that pays the bills and allows you to have and maintain that house, but nothing else. You want to go on holiday? You have to ask permission, file a form and then wait for someone in human resources to get back to you next week once they’ve checked with 5 other people. Selling your soul to someone else just so you can have 2-4 weeks off a year (that you can’t take all at once.)
A few years back I had a conversation with an ex work colleague who had a week’s worth of annual leave to use up before the end of the year, it had come down to the classic ‘Use It or Lose It’ scenario. How did she choose to spend those days, free from work, free from the congested city, free to do whatever she wanted?
She spent them cleaning her house and working through a pile of ironing, happy that she would be able to watch some day time television for once.
That was OK with her and that was what she wanted to do. For me, my heart sank.
So I guess what i’m getting at is we all have different dreams. For me it’s more selfish to bring a life into a world with repressed parents, unhappy that they haven’t achieved what they want in life. Putting their own dreams on hold or worse still, forgetting about them altogether (if that truly is possible).
Are we selfish to have left our family and friends to try and achieve our goals and dreams? Or should we have stayed and continued on a path that led to nowhere we wanted to go, just to keep everything the same and stay in the safe womb of the familiar.
We have chosen a difficult path, but for us it’s one that can only lead to good things. When the time is right I would rather be able to tell my future child that mummy and daddy have walked on the Great Wall of China, lived in the mountains of Thailand and climbed over sand dunes in the Sahara Desert. To be able to tell them that anything is possible, rather than having no stories to tell.
I want to be able to bring them with us on future adventures and let them form their own opinion of life having some worldly experience under their belt.
Our aim to run a location independent business online and travel is on the way to becoming a reality. A concept that less than a year ago seemed totally unreachable. And we would never be nearing this amazing opportunity if we hadn’t taken steps to carve out our own path.
It hasn’t been easy but how do you know what you can survive without if you’re never without anything?
How can you ever know what you are capable of if you never let yourself experience anything new?
I spent too long feeling like I didn’t belong in my own life. Because of fear, but sometimes all you have to do is take a deep breath and jump. There might just be a soft landing, and I know that now.
Even as a child I always had this notion that there was something more. Getting a job, house, kids, following the same path just like everyone else just didn’t feel right. Hence the reason I always shied away from it.
For some people the desire for more comes in the form of going from a flat to a house, going from an assistant to a manager, getting married to having children.
When that isn’t enough anymore and the desire for more comes along again, the next obvious step is maybe a bigger house, have another child or go on a big spend up using the credit card (something I am very guilty of in my past) because there is a gap to fill. An empty insatiable void that’s was there because maybe I wasn’t doing what I should be.
For me that desire comes in the form of journeys, creativity and finding inner contentment. I decided to chase this life and give it a go rather than handing myself over to a child that doesn’t exist yet. Rather than tying myself to a property I don’t really like, that I would resent spending money on if anything goes wrong.
I wanted to be contented with what I had in England, I really did, but I just couldn’t shake off the desire for more and so we left. In search of our more.
People want to feel safe, parents want you to follow the path that they know, they want to know that you are going to be OK. They want to pop in for tea and biscuits because you are only a street away. It’s when you step outside of the trodden path that people start to get uncomfortable.
Is it because they care too much? Is it because they are scared for you? Maybe they can’t understand it as they have never known anything like it? Possibly their motive is a selfish one because they won’t see you as much if you move away? Or is it because they also had their own dreams once that they didn’t get to fulfill, maybe it didn’t work out for them so think that in turn it won’t work out for you?
We will have a house one day. There’s no doubt about it, but only when we want it. Once I get that same feeling when I look at a house that I get when I think of travel, when tingles of desire run through my veins at the prospect of living somewhere and calling it my own, I will know that it is the right time.
When we start to look at a small person and feel a strong yearning to create one of our own, when we are filled with excitement at the prospect of children rather than fear. When we start writing down possible baby names rather than making a list of all the countries we want to go to. That is when we know that trying for children will be the next step.
But maybe that day will never come, and that is OK too.
Our decision to move country, to explore and step off the well-known path is not something we had to ‘get out of our system’. We are not suddenly going to return home and slot back into our old life.
This is our way of life. We just didn’t have the nerve to go for it before.
Life is a journey. We don’t all get on or off at the same stop, board the same flight or drive in the same direction.
No two people are the same, everyone has a different route towards different goals with different aims.
Make your own trail in life. You’re the only one that can.
And if that makes me selfish…..so be it.
Sacha El-Haj – 8 Miles from Home
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