Society tells us the most acceptable way to do things. That’s why you see a long line of women waiting to use the restroom instead of just going into the empty men’s room. Society tells us what is “normal” and what is not. As an American, I’ve grown up with this unspoken timeline on how my life should go:

  1. Go to college at 18 knowing what I want to do with the rest of my life.
  2. Graduate and hopefully have a job lined up.
  3. Start working ASAP! Can’t be back at home with the parents!
  4. Use the little bit of money I make to pay for work clothes and rent/car payments.
  5. Quick! Find love of my life or marry college sweetheart.

I’m not here to offend or knock anyone’s lifestyle choices. If this structured lifestyle makes you happy, that’s wonderful! But far too often I’ve heard that the vagabonds, wanderers, and long-term travelers are just running away from the real world with little or no purpose.

Let’s break this down, why don’t we? What is this “real world” they’re referring to? Is this the same real world that people welcome you to anytime something stressful or tough comes up?

Welcome to the real world, kid.

The real world could probably be accurately described as an 8-5 job, possibly in the cubiclesetting, definitely a pretty solid routine in there, and lots of responsibility (i.e. mortgage & such). While this is all so appealing, I must say that I’m not too sure who would be running towards this.

More than anything, I am running away from the life that society forces us to think is right. Some may get fulfillment in climbing the corporate ladder and building a foundation (home, family, kids) early on. On the other hand, I find fulfillment in seeing the world, learning about different cultures, and constantly pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum. I’ve worked in Congress amongst policymakers, and I’ve backpacked through Europe amongst the vagabonds. The main lesson here is that people live their lives differently. And that’s okay. So go forth and live your life how you want to.