“You guys are so brave. I could never live like you do.” Something we’ve heard quite regularly since leaving the security of London in favour of freelancing and vagabonding. It definitely felt brave and want easy, but it’s not been hard either.
We’ve met many inspiring and brave people on our travels who have stepped into the unknown and chosen a new way of life. People deciding not to wait for retirement before they live their dreams. People with young children, solo female travelers, those who are less able than they once were.
Like me, I’m sure they would all recommend at least a few months of living overseas to everyone. Nothing in my life so far has made me learn and grow as much as learning from other cultures, other narratives, other histories.
From an early age we’ve both been fortunate to have moved around enough that we don’t feel attached to one place – home can be anywhere and friendships can span continents. They already do. We’ve learned that money and stuff means less to us than experience, adventure and service. And, importantly, from family to friends, we’ve always been encouraged to enjoy all that life has to offer.
I wonder how easy it would be to live like this if we were born female, people of colour, or holders of different passports. Or what if we were disabled or caring for family members. Would we have had the same opportunities or the unwaivering encouragement that we have received as white, Euro/American, able-bodied cis-males? Almost certainly not.
We are, and will always be, privileged. We were born with privileges that other people are born without.
So now what? Do we go and get jobs in banks because we are part of a privileged minority who can?
I believe that my privileges give me an increased responsibility to create a different reality… to live outside of the system… and mostly to stand up and fight for the rights of others so that one day, inshallah, every child will be born with the same opportunity to live simply, be free and explore this beautiful planet and all the amazing cultures that make us who we are.
We are only ever as free as each of our sisters and brothers.
Next stop: Saigon — in Kep, Cambodia.