Our blogger of the week weighs up the pros and cons of starting a family rather than continuing to travel
Let’s start by saying, this is a difficult post to write as it made me vocalise thoughts that I usually keep to myself, let alone share with the world. My ‘adventure’ is not an adventure in the typical sense.
When the lovely Torre DeRoche of Fearful Adventurer and author of the book Love with a Chance of Drowning asked a question I felt compelled to answer it. She asked:
If given the chance, what adventure would you embark on despite your fear?
Torre set two conditions: 1. It inspires you, 2. It scares you.
Hmm… What adventure inspires me and scares me? There are adventurous things that scare me – like flying or heights (no bungee jumping for me thanks), but neither of those things inspire me. OK, back to the drawing board.
I still have plenty of adventures still on my bucket list, but whilst they inspire me, none of them really SCARE me.
To my friends, I’m the brave one.
Travelling the world by myself – no biggie. Walking into a crowd of backpackers and making friends – easy peasy and within half an hour you’re likely to find me leading them all astray with a round of Sambuca shots! White water rafting (that’s my legs there on the right) - BRING IT ON! Diving with Great White Sharks – been there, got the video. Climbing Kilimanjaro – piece of cake (OK, so I am totally lying, it was hard).
But I’ve been hiding a secret. ..
There is one adventure that I’m afraid of. And it is inspiring and I’m in awe of those who have done it. Many of my friends have done it, in fact billions of women have done it. But what is it?
There I said it. The thought of having kids completely terrifies me. Both actually having them and whatever comes after that. I’ve spent the last 33 years footloose and fancy free – so to speak, and that has suited me just fine. I can go where I want and when I want.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not a twenty something traveller.
I didn’t discover long-term travel until I was in my late twenties. If you had you told my younger self that this was the direction my life would take, I would have been SHOCKED! But then I love that life holds so many surprises and what a difference a few years can make.
I do regret (sorry I know us adventurers aren’t supposed to admit regret) that I didn’t discover travelling when I was a bit younger, purely for the fact that I want to see the WHOLE world, there’s so much to see and so little time!
But I love being a slightly ‘older’ traveller, I know I appreciate it more now than I would have done when I was in my teens or early twenties. I grab it with both hands because I know how precious the time is. But then I have nothing to compare it to.
Being older comes with complications though.
I know 33 is not old in the slightest, but my biological clock is ticking – whether I want it to or not. A lot of my friends of my age are having kids, and sometimes I feel as though I’m being left behind. I’m also married so people like to remind me of the fact that I’m ‘not getting any younger’, and ask 'when’s it going to be your turn?’ and tell me that I need to stop travelling and ‘settle down’. I usually just roll my eyes and laugh it off, but sometimes it gets to me. Are they right? Am I being irresponsible?
I already have the best job in the world.
I’m an auntie. Those of you who have nieces or nephews will know what a joy it is. My little niece is the most beautiful little girl and I love her with all my heart. I’m generally referred to as ‘Crazy Auntie Helen’. I like that. She has brought so much joy and inspiration into my life, it’s unreal. I can’t bear the thought of something happening to her, so I can’t even imagine how that must feel with your own children. Perhaps I’m scared of loving another person so much? When I travel alone, it’s just me I need to worry about. I prefer that.
I’ve worked with kids much of my adult life. I’ve been a youth worker, teacher, children’s entertainer. I love kids and they like me too, we’re on the same wavelength! Nothing inspires me more than helping a young person develop to be all they can be. I’ve worked with children all around the world, their natural ability to be free, to play, to laugh and makes me happy and I love to be around them.
But being a parent is scary. It’s the ultimate responsibility.
I do want children, but then there’s the other part of me. The part with the nagging wanderlust. The part that gives me a painful longing to get out and see every inch of this beautiful world we live in. I’m scared of what it would do to my life, my relationship, my dreams, my travel plans. Undoubtedly, if I were a parent, my children would be the focus of my world, I’m just not sure if I’m ready for that. Selfish I know, but I still feel so young and that I haven’t accomplished all that I want to yet. Is that so wrong?
Change is inevitable.
Having children would undoubtedly change me, my view of the world and the way I travel it. But maybe that’s not a bad thing?
If I am blessed enough to have children of my own, I’m sure my priorities will shift and I’ll meet that challenge head on. I’d just be swapping one type of adventure for another.
Yes, it’s scary, yes it would change my life, but what a beautiful adventure it could be. Life is what you make it, right?
Hi, I'm Helen. I'm a free-spirited explorer and adventurer who is fascinated by people, wildlife, cultures and landscapes. In 2009 I realised my dream of travelling the world by myself and haven't looked back since. I hope I can help or inspire you to do the same! The journey has only just begun...