Do you know the one and only reason why you won’t quit your job to travel around the world? Society.

Have you ever heard the song Society, from Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam’s signer)? It is one of the songs we can hear in the movie Into the Wild, and one of my favorite songs. Here it is. Listen to the lyrics 🙂

Our Western society, the society we live in and the one that shaped us into the adults that we are now, is a traitor.

On one side, it tells us we can do whatever we want. Our future can be anything we want. Everything is possible. We hear it on the news, we see it on TV: ‘Just do it‘ (Nike), ‘Impossible is nothing‘ (Adidas), ‘Success. It’s a Mind Game.‘ (Tag Heuer), ‘Make believe‘ (Sony) and ‘Have it your way‘ (Burger King).

We are raised to believe we can do whatever we want, become whoever we choose. But can we? Can we decide NOT to buy the latest iPhone, NOT to own a brand new car and NOT to wear brand clothes? Can we decide not to live a materialistic lifestyle and choose incredible experiences through travel instead? Yes, we physically can, but society is psychologically pushing us the other way.

There are tons of blogs and websites, magazines and TV programs that tell us how to quit our job to travel around the world. And a lot of people want to do it. But quitting our job and saving for years of travel means settling for less than what society says we need. Unless we are astonishingly rich, we cannot buy ourselves all the luxuries the world has to offer AND travel around the world (in luxury hotels). We have to choose between a big mortgage and big trips, between the latest car and months of travel.

Yes, it is very appealing to travel around the world freely, all year long, and people that do it are remarkable. They got out of the system, out of our society. They are truly free of our society’s pressure and patterns. It takes humongous courage to do that, to go against the flow, against the way almost everyone live their life.

Leaving everything behind to travel around the world is a popular desire among people, but even if a lot of people want to do it, they get caught into society’s web. Courageous nomads often experience it: after saving for years, they announce their journey to their family, only to listen to their concerns and disapproval. ‘What are you going to do if you get sick? You won’t get married? You don’t want kids? Who’s going to take care of me when I get old? Don’t you want to settle down somewhere?

But almost all of us get caught in our society’s pattern: buy more, own more, travel more, and work more to pay for your luxury trips. Are we happier?

A lot of studies show that contentment brings more happiness. A Mayo Clinic study shows that happiness has nothing to do with being rich, beautiful and successful. On the other hand, appreciating what we have can help us a lot at becoming happier.

There are two quotes that really struck me the other day:

“We need much less than we think we need.” ― Maya Angelou

“Keep in mind that someone else is happy with a lot less than what you have”

Yes, like Eddie’s song, a lot of us are way too greedy to be happy with what we have. Our society is a crazy breed. Do you really want to be a part of it? By the way, we don’t have to sell everything and be a total nomad to be content and happy. We just have to wisely make a conscious effort not to go with the flow. Let’s make our own choices, according to our own values, and just forget about what other people think. We don’t need everything that our society is greedily selling. When we will be old, are we going to be happy about all the cars we owned, or about all the amazing experiences we had?

Deciding not to be a part of today’s society is liberating, and also a constant battle. The prize? More happiness, greater experiences, and a life full of adventures. Isn’t worth it?

Here’s a very interesting infographic designed by Hazel Garcia, which makes us understand what’s at stake here. Please share!

travel happiness


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Showing 3 comments
  • Clinton

    Amazing article that makes you think about your choices in life!

  • Janine

    Great post and very true! Thanks for writing and sharing.

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