It hits me when I see a couple playing with a puppy in a park, or when I spot an advertisement for an adorable apartment. I get a tinge when I’m wandering through home design stores and spot an awesome kitchen gadget or gorgeous bed linen. Sometimes it comes when I pick up a fabulous pair of heels. Recently, a spate of engagement and wedding albums on Facebook brought it on.
It’s what I like to call fixed life envy. Definition: being jealous of the “conventional” lifestyle that includes, but is not limited to, a house/apartment, significant other, social commitments, gym membership, houseplants/puppy/child. The only thing that it doesn’t include? The 9-5 cubicle job with only two weeks vacation—I’m still committed to finding a career that is at the very least location- and timing-flexible and at the best, location-independent—and with European vacation time standards.
My fixed life envy isn’t to say that I don’t love the life I’ve chosen—for right now, slow travel and new experiences around the world are exactly what I want. I’m completely free to do what I want and enjoy my total lack of commitments—and to some degree, responsibility.
But fixed life envy is that tinge of jealousy for an apartment where I could display my book collection, an event where a new dress and gloriously high heels would be required, actually being one of those locals (or regular expats) at a café. And the real reason? I really, really want a dog.
The thing is, I don’t envision a permanent nomadic lifestyle. It may sound materialistic—because it is—but eventually, I want a house, kids, the whole she-bang. I want travel (and bilingual education) to be a big part of that lifestyle, but I do want a home base. I admire families like SoulTravelers3 and the clan with Almost Fearless, but it’s not something I see in my future. I respect minimalists like Exile Lifestyle, but I like not wearing the same thing every day. I don’t intend to stop traveling—but I do think that one day my travel style will change.
At some point, I want to pull my vintage furniture finds out of storage and stick them in an apartment. It could be as an expat in Paris or Stockholm, or perhaps once I explore the United States, I’ll find a city in my own country that makes me want to settle down. And Northern California will always be home—I won’t discount the possibility of eventually getting pulled back to my roots and that wonderful city by the bay.
For the time being, my infectious wanderlust outweighs my fixed life envy. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. But don’t be surprised if one day I decide to chuck the backpack and empty out the storage unit–and don’t worry, that’s when I promise to be a CouchSurfing host.
Do you ever get a bit of fixed life envy? Do you plan on a permanent nomadic lifestyle or eventually settling down?