Who is Living on the Road?
It is no small difference that travelers make between themselves, because some are there for good and some are just on vacation. If you have a plane ticket to some ‘home’, or if you have a specific plan that spans the coming weeks or months, then you are not living on the road. If you have none of this, and are traveling constantly, and working where you can, then you are living on the road.
The Definite Nature of Travel
Traveling is a deceptive term, because it groups vacationers, people working abroad, vagabonds and any kind of traveler together. I am a vagabond artist writer, for example, but people back home think I’m just “traveling”, as though its nature is definite. They wouldn’t be wrong to make the assumption, because that’s the way we are made to see travel. We are made to see travel as a reprieve from what modern times refers to as the “real world.” Some people become almighty defenders of the “real world” discourse, saying that I, for example, am living outside of it. And frankly, in their definition, I am.
What is the “Real World”?
The “real world” is apparently anything that makes you money in one place at one time, steadily. Even now that I travel, writing boring travel copy for websites, making money, people aren’t quite convinced that I’m part of this real world. They see it as a fake world, I suppose. I don’t know what it is that drives people to defend their boring monotony. Perhaps it’s their jealousy that I’ve stripped myself of unnecessary obligations and those irksome responsibilities that only seem to strap down our lives with great fervor.
The “real world”, it seems, means a 9 to 5 job that you’re not enjoying. It’s not ok if you’re not making money. For those who tell me, “yea, but you’re not living in the real world,” they mean to say that I do not pay rent, that I do not “have to” wake up in the morning to go to work to make money to pay for things. I’m not consuming. I’m not working towards retirement. I don’t have health insurance. This makes people upset.
The Real Real World
The “real world” discourse is part of a mechanism to blind people from the world itself. People create their own stresses, their own problems, which are all superficial scratches. People try to “make it”, because that’s what they’re supposed to be doing, or so say the times. It’s unfortunate, because most of these people are blinded to the fact that the real real world is all around us, and available.
Maybe the real real world isn’t exactly easy to see and learn from, unless you are free to move independently, without debt, without obligations to family, without fear of losing health insurance, etc. However, it’s there. If you feel yourself angry at people like me, living on the road, then think again, and try to understand why it makes you upset. Maybe you’re trapped in that horrid discourse.
The real real world is the world of culture, nature and change. The real real world is not your apartment and your car, nor your job and the money in your bank. None of that matters. They are levels of comfort that you think you should have. But anyone can live on the road, anyone can throw it all away and say to hell with the rat race and bring me real life, where I can learn something new in someplace different.
Living on the Road vs. Living on the Street
A lot of people are living on the road. I’m not talking about living on the street. There’s a difference. Living on the street usually refers to the unfortunate, the homeless, the ones who had no choice and would return to the mainstream if given the opportunity. Those who live on the road want to be there. They’re transients who follow the road. Maybe they don’t have a plan, it doesn’t matter, they’re there because the road is what brings them into contact with the people they want to be in contact with, because it brings new experiences day to day. The road is unpredictable and at times it can feel abrasive, but mostly it’s something magnanimous. And the people living on the road are not living outside the world; they’re just not trapped in what others believe to be the “real world.”