One of the biggest reasons that I travel is probably very similar to your own: to get lost in something brand new and fresh; to disconnect from the day to day; to see, feel, taste, and experience all that a different place has to offer and come back refreshed and -in theory- rejuvenated… ready to enter back into the workforce and the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Trips to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, school and work functions.
I also believe in searing honesty. The biggest reason I travel may be selfishly rooted. It is simply to take care of ME and to feed MY soul: I am a caregiver, in every possible sense of the word. I take care of my aging parents; I am a single mother to 4 beautiful children, and I am a nurse. Adding it all up, I get paid for a relatively small percentage of the caregiving I do.
My mother is 76 and has Alzheimer’s Disease. My father is 80 years old and simply cannot do it by himself anymore. I have moved home with the kids and assumed many of the day to day responsibilities in addition to my regularly scheduled insanity (haha). My father and I have shared the care of my mother for almost 6 years at this point, but me being in the same house is much simpler for all of us. I need them and they need me. Caregiver support is kind of a joke, especially in America where most people’s ideas of caring for their parents seems to be putting them in a nursing home. I also am very aware that some people might not be lucky enough to even have the option to keep their mother or father at home and we very well may be approaching the point that a similar decision may have to be made. I am not judging anyone whether they can and don’t choose to or whether they can’t and don’t, it’s not my place.
What I can definitely say is that the burnout that comes with all the pressure is very, very real. If I don’t take care of me, I am less valuable as a nurse, as a mother, as a daughter. Travel is how I take care of myself and I do not apologize for it, nor will I. 30-40 hour (and more) work weeks; kid and parent stuff as soon as I get home every night… My weekends belong to 6 other people because there’s always something that needs to be done for someone. So with that being said, when I can get out- I DO. As time passes I find myself more and more afraid to go too far, in case something happens and I/we can’t get back quickly. I find myself fearful of planning too far in advance, because my time with my parents grows shorter by the day. It’s a tough realization, but also one that has to be examined- no one leaves this place alive, we all know how the story ends.
I can’t apologize for this because it is my life. I can’t run away from it because it is my life. I am caught in the very aptly named ‘sandwich generation’ which basically means I am sandwiched between raising my children and caring for my aging parents. Most people I know in this situation are in their 50’s, whereas I am 35. It could always be worse, I could not have my parents… but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.
We are 19 days away from our next trip, but who’s counting 🙂 🙂 🙂
Safe travels! xo