Dreams and Sacrifices

Sitting in a café in the French Alps where we had abused free wifi privileges for an entire week, I tuned in to watch my basketball club back home compete in game one of the state championship final from the screen of my iPhone. I had friends on court and friends in the stands, all coming together to, in some way, partake in a game that was such a large part of my life for so long. Once the game was finished, and my team had unfortunately blown a lead and lost to a buzzer beating layup, I found myself feeling something I’ve found to be incredibly rare in the last year; homesickness. Now in fairness, it wasn’t a strong feeling but it was one nonetheless. It allowed me to assess the things I was missing out on back home and what I had sacrificed in order to achieve a life of perpetual travelling.

The first thing that came to mind was family and friends. I keep in regular enough contact with my family and know that at some stage, I’ll see them while travelling, even if it is just an excuse for Dad to visit a new place so they’ve never been too heavy a heartache. My old pets as well I feel warrant a mention, as they’ve been part of the family since I was 5 years old. It’s tough leaving knowing that it may be the last time you do ever see them after all these years but if you can accept that, then it makes it a little bit easier.
Friends is a slightly tougher one to deal with. I’m lucky enough to say I have quite a large circle of friends who I like to try and keep in touch with as much as possible and of course being absent from their lives for what realistically is now more than 2 years can certainly be a challenge. Seeing photos of people hanging out, montages of road trips, ski trips and grand adventures can invoke that longing to be home and amongst them all, having good friends to share in all those experiences with. One of the tough things about travelling solo is not being able to share your adventures with those close friends that you’ll be able to reminisce with 30 years down the track. The beauty of the modern age though is that keeping in contact is no longer as great a challenge with your WhatsApp, Facebook messaging and Skype interactions relatively free and readily accessible. But you do find yourself missing so much of what they get up to.

But like anything, you do only see the positive aspects of your friends’ lives and rarely see the standard days, day in and day out. This was help confirmed by my recent visit home to surprise my sister for her 21st birthday and where I was absolutely jam packed in trying to catch up with as many people as possible. Some people just asked me solidly about my travel stories, others were a 50-50 swap and share and with some people, it was just like hanging out before I ever went away, where nothing had changed. This helped me realise that despite pangs of desire to want to be home and spending more time with friends, this paled in comparison to what I am experiencing on a daily basis. That even travelling, some of my less memorable days are often more exciting than the days I could expect if I were back home.

I feel that everybody at some stage in their life has to sacrifice something they’re passionate about in order to achieve something more realistic. I will no doubt have to do this with the nomadic lifestyle one day but in order to first achieve this lifestyle, I had to sacrifice arguably my first and biggest love to date: basketball. I played heavily for 15 years, rarely any less than 5 days a week since the age of about 13. I followed the NBA religiously, played hours of 2K, I coached, I refereed and I went to watch my friends play just as an excuse to be in a basketball stadium. It was such a large part of my life that in order to create a dramatic change, it had to go. And I do miss it immensely; I still find myself watching old game tapes every few months and even have a deflated ball and pump I take with me to every city I visit. The solace I take in sacrificing basketball are that as a player, my best years are already behind me and that I can coach whether I’m 17 or 70. But every now and then, that longing to have a hard training session in a freezing cold stadium with some of your best mates, week in and week out for most of the year comes crawling back; that lack of teamwork and a combined goal to achieve. Giving up basketball to travel has also led to a massive decline in my personal fitness which more disciplined people would not suffer as I have. Damn you burgers and beers!

Sacrificing familiarity and how easy everything is back home is another thing you must be willing to go without. I for instance have learnt to appreciate the freedom that having a car brings so much more when you spend so long commuting on foreign public transport. Especially as an adventure guy, being able to say “I want to go caving or hiking or climbing, let’s jump in the car and go” is such a nice thing to have as opposed to figuring out the logistics of how to get to the start of a hike or figuring out where to go camping for the weekend. Those people you can go to, or a favourite place to visit to clear your mind and readjust are hard to accommodate for while you travel as well, having to substitute life-long friends for fellow travellers you’ve known a matter of days or your favourite beach for an unproven park or tourist site.

But then you leave the café, having abused their wifi to stream the game and are faced with mountains of overwhelming beauty, sharing them with people you haven’t known that long but are already great mates. You find yourself attempting to buy street food in a foreign language that you think you are far more knowledgeable in than you really are and then checking in for a flight to a completely different country the next day in order to do it all over again. And despite the sacrifices and what you’re missing out on, you know you’ve definitely made the right decision to up your roots and go, and that this life has an incredible amount to give.

About the author: World Ahead, Home Behind

5 comments to “Dreams and Sacrifices”

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  1. CeecesTravel - September 29, 2015 at 1:41 pm Reply

    I liked reading this post, very interesting!

    Obviously I think it applies in different aspects depending on your individual situation. r instance my life is back to front. A born nomad, traveller, explorer, stuck in one place and not by choice. For me I feel like I am missing the people I havent yet met, and the family I did make while travelling.

    I have been working and living independently from a VERY young age and I don’t actually have any family left, and to be honest no friends who are based at home anymore, we’re all travelers or have moved countries or have lives that are vastly different.

    I can not wait to get in a car and drive to the airport again, just that feeling alone is something I can not explain in the English language. 🙂

    I do agree though, we all do give up something, what that something is we don’t know, but we do and I think it is how you come to terms with that something that helps you in your further ventures. And to be able to be honest with yourself while on your adventures and travels.

    Great post! Cant wait to read more from you…..


    • WAHB - September 29, 2015 at 4:33 pm Reply

      Hey Cee, thanks for the kind words!

      I know those feelings myself about travel family and the people you haven’t yet met, a strong motivator of mine to keep moving and exploring! It must be tough not really having an established home base to fall back on if need be. How long has it been since you were last adventuring?

      I’ll have to have a look see into your posts but looks exciting already!



  2. CeecesTravel - September 29, 2015 at 4:48 pm Reply

    Ha ha ha ha! Thanks, yeah one word of advice. There is A LOT of various content on my site,so be sure to use the drop down links at the top of the page to navigate to what you want to read 🙂 I hope you enjoy!

    Yeah, truth be told it can be hard, but I think its harder being stuck here right now and not travelling than actually travelling and not having something to come back too?

    I feel more trapped here and have felt so since I landed and haven’t taken off again. Unfortunately when I returned from Dubai I went through some pretty traumatic experiences that took away a lot of the last 2 years of my life and basically all the funds Id saved up! Having nothing to “fall back on” as you say made this even harder and really took a toll.

    I have been trying to get on a plane and continue with my dreams, passions and travels for the last 2 and a bit years. Talk about travel depression…..not sure if many people understand what its like mentally when its what you feel is in your blood to do.

    I agree 100% to keep travelling and exploring this world, the crave and urge grows more and more everyday. Its uncontrollable.

    I look forward to going through more of your posts! I like the way your write and I love reading about the way you see the world…..


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    • World Ahead, Home Behind - November 18, 2015 at 9:26 pm Reply

      Yeah, I think I need to play around with my spam filter. Seems to catch out too many legitimate comments. I’m glad your enjoying it! I can’t say I’ve progressed far enough to not consider myself as a newbie blog writer still but I think the most important thing is to have a space where you can write. I like libraries, coffee shops and airports as for some reason, I’m able to block out a lot more distractions there. The other thing is I have a list on my phone of tons of post ideas I have, just constantly adding to as I go. This allows me to have a selection on what I feel like writing when I do decide I need another post. Don’t know how helpful this will be but I wish you luck!

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