By Kathleen Guthrie Woods
So often when we talk about the benefits of being childfree, people bring up traveling. “You’re so lucky you don’t have the responsibilities of having to raise kids, so you can travel anytime.” “You’re so lucky you don’t have to pay for private school and sports and music lessons, so you have all that extra money to travel.”
Well, yes, and not really. While it’s true that my husband and I can take advantage of the off-seasons (vs. visiting the sites with the crowds of families who are off during school holidays), we are both committed to our careers. Taking time off isn’t a sure thing when we need to meet commitments to clients and colleagues. Also, we aren’t super-rich. We live a modest life, certainly one with many advantages, but if we had kids, we wouldn’t be spending our spare cash, we’d probably just have more debt.
That being said, if we really wanted to travel—or pursue any big dream—we could make it work. It’s just the two of us, and if we decided to chuck everything, buy a couple of backpacks, and hit the road, we could.
I’ve been inspired by a series of articles I stumbled upon on the BBC’s website, under the heading of “How I Quit My Job to Travel.” This article is written by a married couple who has been traveling together for eight years, and this article is by a single gal who ditched her “great job” in a “good career” to embark on her adventures. In each, they share the choices, compromises, and opportunities they embraced to turn their dreams into real life.
As I continue to wrestle with what I lost by not getting to be a mommy, I am nudging myself to seek what I might gain. Articles like the ones linked above offer encouragement and creative ideas on how we can open new avenues for ourselves, whether that’s learning a new skill, acquiring season tickets to the opera, building stronger connections in the community, or traveling to exotic locales.
What do you dream about? Can you take one small step today toward making it happen?
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.