Two weeks ago marked an entire trip around the sun for me here in Taiwan.  It also marks my second year working and traveling in Asia.  I took some time before I decided to write this blog, to reflect on my journey these last two years.  When I told people I was coming back to Asia for a second time, most people assumed the same thing.  They think I am simply running away from “the real world”.

And to all those people who say that, I say to you—you’re right.

Completely right.

am running away.

I’m running away from your idea of the “real” world.

I’m avoiding your life.

And, instead, I’m running towards everything – towards the world, exotic places, new people, different cultures, and my own idea of freedom.

While there may be exceptions (as there are with everything), most people who become vagabonds, nomads, and wanderers do so because they want to experience the world, not escape problems. We are running away from office life, commuting, and weekend errands, and running toward everything the world has to offer. We (I) want to experience new cultures, see new mountains, eat weird food, attend crazy festivals, meet new people, and enjoy different holidays around the world.

Life is short, and we only get to live it once. I want to look back and say I did crazy things, not say I spent my life reading blogs like this while wishing I was doing the same thing.

As an American, society has taught us to go to school, get a job, get married, buy a house, and have 2.5 children. Society boxes you in and restricts your movements to their expectations. It’s like the matrix. And any deviation is considered abnormal and weird. People may want to travel, tell you they envy what you do, say they wish they could do the same thing. But really, they don’t. They are simply fascinated by a lifestyle so outside the norm. There’s nothing wrong with having a family or owning a house — most of my friends and family lead happy lives doing so. However, the general attitude in the States is “do it this way if you want to be normal.” And, well, I chose not to be normal.

I feel like the reason why people tell me that I am running away is because they can’t fathom the fact that I broke the mold and I am actually living outside the norm.

You get what you want when you do what you want.

Life is what you make it out to be. Life is yours to create. We are all chained down by the burdens we place upon ourselves, whether they are bills, errands, or, like me, self-imposed blogging deadlines (that I really suck at following). If you really want something, you have to go after it.

People who travel the world aren’t running away from life. Just the opposite. Those that break the mold, explore the world, and live on their own terms are running toward true living, in my opinion. We have a degree of freedom a lot of people will never experience. We get to be the captains of our ships. But it is a freedom we chose to have. We looked around and said, “I want something different.”

I’m not running away.

I am running towards the world and my idea of life.

And I feel thankful everyday for this opportunity I have created for myself.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Judy O'Conner says:

    Your friend Claire suggested your blog to me a couple years ago and I’ve followed your journey. Ive loved reading about your adventures and couldn’t agree more with what you just had to say here dear! Life’s too short. Make it what YOU want and from what I’ve seen the last couple of years, seems pretty amazing!

  2. Linda Kaufman says:

    Jess, This world is always gonna have haters…..You do you!! What you are doing IS amazing. You are working really hard over there, I’m soooo PROUD of you and all you are doing!! XXOO to YOU (and all the haters,) cuz that’s how we roll…… STAY SAFE & SMART

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