CROSSROADS: STAY COMFORTABLE OR BE FREE?





BY JM
​MARCH 19, 2017


I’ve come to a crossroads.

I’m 28 years-old, and much like the rest of you, I am an active, contributing member of my society. I work 60-70 hours a week. I pay taxes. I pay rent and go to work every day to make enough money to thrive in New York City. I have an amazing family, wonderful friends, and an entire ecosystem around me that is comfortable. I like what I do for work, but I don’t love what I do.

And without even realizing it, I have become a cog in the vicious, societal machine. But it is a machine that works - forged from a vision of society that was created thousands of years ago. Societal norms foster a sense of community, with everyone having a job within it, all working to achieve a greater way of life. It’s one of the things that has led to our survival and success as a species.

So, back to my crossroads. In four months, my contract at my current company is up. Unless I find a job before June 30th, I will be jobless. For some people, that is a terrifying notion: unemployment; not having a contributing place in society. However, as I sit here writing today, I am completely unafraid of that potential fate.


I have, for quite a while now, dreamt of living abroad in Europe. I dream of living in my grandmother’s mountain home in Italy, a pit stop before making my way down the Amalfi coast to swim in the ancient water of the Mediterranean. I dream of the way the sunlight strikes the mountain tops as my train slithers through the impossibly green Swiss terrain on my way to Gstaad. I dream of the sound my beer mug makes as it collides with a fellow German’s I’ve befriended in Berlin. I dream of the warmth of the Parisian city lights as I stroll the streets at night, in search of a perfectly quaint and welcoming bistro to enjoy a bottle of wine and a chef’s creations. And I dream of chanting the home team songs after a few-too-many pints alongside fellow Londoners at the bevy of weekend football matches throughout the city.

Above all, I continuously dream of the type of freedom only traveling can give you.


My biggest fear is that I will get a job before June 30th and not live out my dream. I’ll continue on in service to the machine with no end in sight. My encouraging friends say “Just do it!” And yet, how many of them would make the same decision for themselves? And that’s expected. There is a part of us that hates the unknown. It is Darwinian. We are terrified of the things we do not understand, and by definition, we do not understand the unknown. So, I can’t fault anyone for wishing me towards my dreams but being unable to make the same choice for themselves.

Where will my life be after six months? A year? Five years? Will I stay in Europe? Will I come back? Will my friends forget about me? Will I ever start a family? Will I still be interested in my current line of work? Will I discover something new about myself that would lead me down a path I never thought of? Or will I set myself back for years?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. But one thing for sure is that I have long desired the sense of absolute freedom. To go where I want, to be what I want, to do what I want, to be free.

I’ve said before: traveling reminds me that my life isn’t the only life I could live. We only get one lifetime. Why not try to cram as many lives and parts in there as possible?





Photos by Matt Borowick; France & Italy.