Broke & Vagabonding

I just bought a plane ticket to Paris. I’ll be there for 2 months and, out of those 2 months, I have 2 weeks planned. The rest of the time I’ll just wander about Europe and see where things take me. I made a joke about marrying a Spaniard and moving up to the village on the hill to have his babies, but then I realized this is entirely possible. Anything is possible.

People tell me they are jealous of  my life and of all the things I get to do. I suppose this sentiment is understandable, but what most people don’t realize is my life still comes with countless sacrifices.

Choose your sacrifice. I have no stability, no security, no savings account, no idea where I’ll be living in a few months. I’ve tried dating, but I usually move away in a few months so nothing ever works out. My heart is constantly missing someone; I am never around everyone I love at any given time and I never will be. They are far too many and they are far too scattered around the world.

Choose your sacrifice.

I won’t lie, sometimes I see the lives of friends who are settled and stable; people I grew up with who already have families and normal lives and have a coffee table to put coffee table books on. I bet all the plates in their cupboard match too. At times, I desire these things. I like baking and decorating and wearing fashionable aprons.

Yet, I recognize that there is a part of me that will never be satisfied with all of that, at least not right now. Most of the time I would rather be anywhere than where I am at. There is something indescribably wonderful about being anonymous in a strange place. There is something magical about meeting people who’s lives are nothing like yours yet you can find so many things in common.There is something life-changing about having diarrhea for weeks because you drank the water or ate roast mystery meat from that street vendor.

The joy I find in all of these unknown things outweighs the sacrifices I have made to be there. I have come to accept my sacrifices (which is never an easy thing to do), but I am happy. This is the life I have chosen (or is it the life that has chosen me?).

I suppose I just want people to realize that it’s not so easy to be so free. Everything comes with sacrifice, everything comes with pain. The pain is great, but the joy is greater still. I feel deeply, but I also live deeply.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

kate gazaway By Kate Gazaway | “Where to next, little gypsy?” That’s what my father always greets me with at the airport upon my return from one place or another. I am a photographer, a teacher, and a baker when I’m stressed out. My passion is teaching photography to kids in “not-so-great” situations to help them realize their purpose for themselves, their families, and their communities. I’m still figuring out how to do that and pay rent. And, oh yeah, I love photography and the art of telling story.

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  1. Be careful of the words you use to describe your situation. Sacrifice is a powerful word and not always a choice.

    • Thanks for your comment Jonny. Don’t want to butt in here but the meaning of sacrifice is “the giving up of something valued for the sake of something else”. A sacrifice is a choice. Bad things happen to people and it’s not always their choice–like unemployment. I’ve been there and it blows. But I didn’t choose it, it just happened, therefore it’s not a sacrifice but rather a really unfortunate situation. We make choices with the understanding that we’ll have to sacrifice something. For example, I may choose Taco Hell for lunch but I’m sacrificing nutrition. Or I may choose a 5 star restaurant for lunch but I’m sacrificing my wallet. We just have to choose.

      • Let me begin by saying that I believe this may really be a discussion of semantics and appropriate word usage. I believe we can agree that all words carry deep connotations that illicit emotions and thinking and processing.

        With that said, I think what Jonny may be talking about is not, necessarily, the meaning of the term sacrifice. Depending on the definition you use, sacrifice can be described as “the giving up of something…for the sake of something else.” I guess we can agree that the act of sacrificing does require an actual choice on the part of the person making the sacrifice. Maybe the idea Jonny is trying to get across, and something this article has led me to think more about, is a person making the choice to be a position of sacrificing. Does that make sense? Let me explain…

        Sacrifice is a powerful word and I find it hard to connect the concept of an out-of-work mother deciding to sacrifice her dinner for that of her children with a young adult deciding to sacrifice a hum drum career for a life of travel and vagabonding. My brain, and my heart for that matter, won’t allow me to use the word sacrifice to describe the situations the commenter below shares about travel and the “sacrifices” they have made to see the world; especially when the term sacrifice is connected to stories of grandparents choosing to sacrifice food for their medications.

        Sacrifice is an extremely powerful word and it is, in essence, a choice. However, sacrificing is forced upon some (the unemployed, the out-of-work, the elderly and impoverished), while the ideas of sacrificed described in this post and the other comments could be considered a watering down of a powerful and emotion triggering term.

  2. […] the time or energy to buy, cut and grind a 20 pound turkey, but like everything in life, we must choose our sacrifice. If time = money, then buy your $6 a pound ground turkey and don’t complain. If you’ve got an […]

  3. Its funny that you’re talking about sacrifice but yet you still manage to romanticize it. I totally appreciate what you have to say. I have had harsh criticism from a select few for my vagabond lifestyle. It peeves me to hear, “I wish I could go to South Africa.” Well, then do it. “Its not so easy.” I didn’t say it was. Its all about choices and priorities. I would like to go to grad school but that’s not my priority right now. I also want a garden but I have to think about whether I’ll be around for the harvest.
    I slept on a couch or floor for the bulk of last year and moved a total of nine times. I haven’t been able to afford getting my last two wisdom teeth removed in the past 7 years. The past two times I’ve been to South America, I’ve had to get an IV drip for dehydration from unidentified stomach something or others.
    So, yes, my choices make life very difficult. I would never complain but some people don’t realize that for all these amazing things there is often a counterpoint. you better reco’nize