Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Vagabond Life

Recently, we went out for a drink with a friend of Mark's. Being about 10 years younger than us, he reminded me of all the things I was thinking when I was his age and in the last year of University. At that time I was quite convinced that I would graduate and hit the road for Europe. I had a plan to teach in the UK and travel in the summer. I could get a student visa, they were screaming for teachers (unlike here) and I was happy to oblige. Sunday's shopping in London flitted through my head. Weekends in Pairs. Fashionable clothes, excellent wine and ideas of how to have non-stop fun abounded through my brain. Cultured, and well traveled, that is what I would be.

Sitting with Mark's friend, his conversation peppered with ideas to go to the Coast or here or there, it was obvious that the plane of his future was wide open in front of him. Be damned money or responsibilities, legs take me to a cool place with the potential for a great party. I was smitten with his innocence.

Being the first born, I quickly learned you just do not have the genetic stuff to throw caution to the wind. You had siblings to look after, you were after all the oldest, and therefore, responsible for providing a honorable example of behavior. Unlike, the babies of the family. They get away with murder. They seem to have gypsy souls that carry them through life surprisingly unscathed. Take for example my youngest sister Jillian. Jill has never hesitated in her hedonism. She just headed out for adventures with neither a thought in her head about where she would go, stay, or afford to eat. It always worked out. I am not sure if it was naive ignorance or luck. I would have been waylaid, lost my travelers cheques, and most likely have had to have my parents come pick me up from a disreputable place only half way to my destination due to lack of funds.

But when I was younger I had wonderful ideas of running away and spending my early adulthood as an ambitionless waitress in Creston or Kellowna. Spending my days earning tips without expending much gray matter and then using said tips to purchase liquour that would eradicate the gray matter I hadn't used earlier. Every summer from ages 18 -23 I vowed to get in my car and make it reality, and every year I sadly remembered I didn't have enough money for the first month's rent, an abiding fear I may not find a job and an overriding need to earn money for University the next year. One does not have to be a statistician to recognize that I was not going to reach nirvana in BC anytime soon.

But before you think I am talking about regrets here, let me be clear that I am not. I just find it fascinating how little ideas change from one generation to another. Having now been out of University for 10 years, a span of time that I could barely fathom at the time (along with the thought of how OLD, I would be) I recognize the freedom of that time. The thought that you were just going to follow your bliss wherever it took you, everything else be damned. Nothing but lovely adventures ahead of you.

Picture from Flickr


Squirrelly Girly said...

Sniff, that's so depressing!

Heidi Schempp Fournier said...

I don't think of it as depressing :-)

I just think of it as another path I could have choosen to travel. But, you know what, I regret nothing.

I am now planning to be a vagabond retiree and rekindle my wayward ways!