There are two kind of worlds, the way I see it now. In the first you do as you are ought to, what you are supposed to. Study, work, buy a house, get kids, work even harder – for taking long and faraway vacations and nice stuff. For certainty. In the latter, the other world I see, you live each day at a time and nothing is certain. In the first people do their best to be happy. In the latter they just are.
Okay, I’m exaggerating. Let me first state that the least thing I want is to judge anyone, nor do I want to judge the things that might make you happy. But this trip got me thinking and I’d like to tell something about that. I’ve started to think on the ways we can live that are beneficial to us.
For you or for society?
Frankly, this is a process that’s been going on for a while now. Probably it’s the very reason why I have gone on this adventure in the first place. Lately I had begun to think about how I could organise my life. To be more precise: I wanted to know what I was doing because it made me happy, and what things I did because, well, they’re common in the society in which I live.
Partly my life has been very unconventional, and partly it’s quite normal. When I was fifteen I emigrated to the south of France with my parents and three younger sisters, after which I moved back to the Netherlands two years later, to end up living on my own at age seventeen. Also, I only started studying in my mid-twenties, and I’ve had the most diverse jobs you can imagine. On the other hand, I’m enjoying a wonderful and super long relationship with Jeroen, we have two dogs and bought our first house at early age. And many nights we did nothing more than sitting on the sofa together, watching series, so you get the picture.
A comfortable life
I must say though, we haven’t exactly made a 180 degree turn there. Our longing for exploring an alternative way of living already started to grow a while ago. Maybe it all began with asking ourselves whether we wanted to have kids at all, instead of just thinking about when, like many people seem to do. Questioning the things as they are like that is an interesting way of figuring out whether you still feel comfortable with the life that you are living, I think.
Slowly, but surely, we found out that having a mortgage and the obligations that arise as a result (from having to work a lot to raise enough money to being less flexible as to where you live) no longer suited us. We decided to sell our house and almost everything in it, and now our old van and some personal stuff is all we’ve got. The funny thing is, this might all seem really special and odd to people living the life that we were used to – to the people we come across on the way it’s no big deal. They’ve all done it. You have no idea how many people live in their converted vans, from surfers to hippies trying to make a buck with artsy stuff they make. It’s the only life they know, and want to know.
Living in your own world
Personally, I always thought that these kinds of people withdrew themselves from society way too much. I mean, come on, take your responsibility! Do not run away! Now I wonder who gets to decide what these responsibilities actually are. Increasingly, I start to think that people like this haven’t secluded themselves from society, really. They simply choose to live in that other world, which may just as well exist. And now I wonder, in what world am I living now?
This article has previously been published in Dutch on 365dagensuccesvol.nl