There was a lot of backlash over what “Nomadic Matt” wrote on HuffPo about a month ago, and a whole bunch more backlash on post by Mike Barish on Gadling. And I can understand why–there are a lot of assumptions inherent in both pieces, and people don’t like feeling judged. I’m not mad at Matt, I just think he got it wrong, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which Mike considers paths that are different from his. When I stay home, I’m not “choosing money” (or even long hours). I choose my parents, my boyfriend, a hometown (and city) that I love. I choose First Communions and first steps, 80th birthday parties and free movies in the park.
Matt writes of the elation that comes from a new world around every corner. One of the things I have noticed in myself, and one of the things I’m most proud of, is that I have more wonder and whimsy in my everyday life because of travel. I am a little jaded to “the big reveal,” to the simple notion of being in a different country or or on a different continent, but I find joy in all the tiny wonders, beauties and mysteries around me, no matter if I’m in Boston or Benin.
I feel sorry for Matt–his home is not special to him. For me, Boston is still a place with new neighborhoods to discover, shows to see, books to read and people to meet. Boston is also where I learn. I learn about me, and about other cultures and places and languages. I think part of my love of home, and lack of Travel Constantly Bug, is my travel style. I don’t care about the Full Moon Party in Thailand, and I don’t want to spend only a couple of days in each place. I don’t want to just party, meet people in hostels and move on. It works for a lot of (vocal) people, but it’s not the only way to do the travel thing. When it comes down to it, That ain’t my style.
I dislike that Matt painted the world as full of either full-time travelers and those who choose money/monotany. I am not at home because I am too poor, too boring or too unimaginative. I’m not home because I love money, or even because college is making me. I am home precisely because I choose to be, because I love it. Everyone who knows me knows I don’t generally do anything I dont feel like doing. I certainly could be abroad now, on co-op in Egypt or France. I could be applying to another semester abroad in the spring. But I’m not, and I don’t regret it.
We all have different priorities, Matt. Please don’t assume that mine are flawed just because they are different from yours.