Travelers, expats, bums… whatever you want to call them, head off around the world and your attitude changes. It’s unavoidable. Hedonistic cultural overload takes over from any sense of normality very quickly. Where next, what’s the most unique and original, how to earn a living on the move… conversations like this are standard even in big foreign expat communities: everyone’s always talking about what’s round the corner, the next magnificent cultural wonder to gorge on.
It’s an extremist lifestyle, a day-to-day existence that to some extent is hand to mouth – though possibly hand to plane ticket would be more appropriate – and it’s easy to take to extremes. Moving on changes perspectives. It makes you think about just what is going to happen next, and – more abstract, but no less inevitable – what about after that??
Something my notorious housemate – who’s relatively new to this whole game – came out with the other day had me reaching for the end game.
Retirement is an abstract concept to me. I firmly believe that at the age of 24, as long as I’m putting some cash in the bank, it’s not something I should really be concerning myself with. And yes, if that perfect trip came up – another once in a lifetime – I’d certainly be contemplating emptying the bank account and starting all over the again. I think the experience makes me a better person.
Taking things to their logical conclusion, however, you’re left with a bit of a conundrum. There will inevitably be a time in life when you can’t earn money so comfortably – if at all – anymore. Globe hopping causes issues when it comes to both company and national pensions, and if you’re lucky enough to find a partner who wants to go with you, they’re pretty unlikely to be rolling in money either.
Of course, I should be putting money away, and in Korea I am. Much more of it then I ever expected to, to be honest, but that’s more by accident than design. It’s a happy coincidence that a decent salary happens to coincide with the lifestyle I choose at this time.
I’m hoping against hope that the days of the struggling writer are coming next. I’ll welcome with open arms the days when I can only afford beans on toast and bad quality lager if it means I get to chase my dreams for a little while longer. Can it go on forever? That’s a far tougher one, and reeks of giving up before you even started. It’s a necessary question , but I’m not ready to answer it yet.
Mark’s words? ‘I want to die at 65. I don’t have a retirement plan’. Do I agree? Well no, not really, but I don’t plan to give up my lifestyle anytime soon either. Maybe I’ll just have to retire at 80.
Now where did I put that Taiwanese pocket change? I could use another pack of instant noodles….