You’re Still Young, Do It While You Can

You’re Still Young, Do It While You Can

By |2016-07-21T23:57:53-04:00June 15th, 2010|Perspectives|73 Comments

The words above – those in the title of this post – confuse me. And that means I’m confused quite often as I hear these words on quite a regular basis. In fact, these very words were spoken to me as recently as yesterday after I talked about my travels of the past year to an interested person I had just met.

Let me break down these words and try to explain why I always end up standing there in silence, with a distorted attempt of a polite smile on my face, every time I hear them.

You’re Still Young

Young, old, middle-aged…I’m a firm believer that one’s age, in terms of how many years they have been present on planet Earth, is a poor indication of a person’s abilities, life views and general lifestyle decisions. However, that doesn’t stop us from using these numbers to stereotype and make broad assumptions about other people all the time.

For example, if someone learns that you’re 33 years old, they will often think that you must therefore be married, perhaps with children, be in the midst of a solid career, long past your adventurous days and just living a well-structured, responsible life as all 33 year-olds are expected to live.

Well, I’m 33 years old and none of the above applies to me.

In addition, every 20 year-old out there isn’t automatically lively, youthful and carefree. And likewise, there are plenty of 80 year-olds who put most 20 year-olds to shame in terms of energy and passion for life.

As Henry Ford once said: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

So, whether you’re 22, 32 or 102, don’t let anyone (including yourself) convince you that at some point in the future, you will no longer be ‘young’. You have the ability to stay young for as long as you desire.

I’m Doing ‘IT’!

Apparently, not only am I still young, but I’m supposed to keep on doing ‘it’ while I can. However, I have a relatively strong hunch that neither I nor anyone telling me about this ‘it’ actually knows what ‘it’ is.

Is ‘it’ traveling around the world, living overseas, not pursuing a traditional career, wearing sandals every day, not being married, napping in hammocks, eating Indian food three times per week, working on the Internet or just pursuing my dreams in general?

At the end of the day, ‘it’ seems to involve anything associated with living outside the normal boundaries and expectations of life. And this ‘it’ is often implied to be a phase that I’m expected to grow out of, just as a child grows out of their fondness for nose-picking. The fact that I consider my decisions to be more than a nameless phase oftentimes goes completely unnoticed.

So, if your life involves an ‘it’, one that you are truly passionate about, you should always take it seriously regardless of what others may think. Not even for one brief moment, should you believe that time is running out on your ability to live the life you want.

And with that said…

While I Can?

Is there something that occurs at age 35 that nobody has told me about? Does it become illegal to carry a backpack or to enter India? Do I wake up one day and find that my shorts and t-shirts have been replaced by a closet full of pin-striped suits and my passport has turned into an employee access card?

I personally find it difficult to envision an inability to do something tomorrow that I am currently able to do today.

I know the common argument is that once you have a family, you then need a career, which leads to increased financial responsibilities that make it increasingly more difficult to pursue whatever your ‘it’ may be in life. But I say, boo to that. This view of life assumes that everyone is one day required to give up the pursuit of their dreams and goals and then settle down (if settling down is not one of your goals), not because you want to settle down, but because you are supposed to settle down.

I feel that if you want to carry on living your ‘it’ for all eternity, then go for it…why not? Don’t let the idea of ‘while you can’ stand in your way. Next year’s birthday cake is not going to be laced with a ‘settle down’ drug that instantly forces you to replace your current life with a completely different version. No matter how old you are and no matter what you’re trying to achieve, you remain in control of your decisions at all times.

Once again, Henry Ford sums it up best: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

And the next time that I hear “you’re still young, do it while you can”, Mr. Ford’s words shall be my reply.

Have you been told these same words before?

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  1. Shahab July 15, 2015 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your beautiful and the most helpful guide for following my dreams.
    I am from Iran and I just wanted to know why you dont come to Iran, one of the oldest nations ever existed;
    And I also had a question to ask you:How can you get visas for visiting other countries while for getting many of them you should prove visa officers that you have money , before getting visas?

    • Wandering Earl July 16, 2015 at 1:08 am - Reply

      Hey Shabab – I’ll get to Iran one day! As for visas, it’s different for every nationality and for some, yes, you will have to show proof of money. My recommendation is to start with countries that are easy for you to visit, that don’t have such strict rules for getting a visa. There are always a few countries you could visit that allow you to get a visa quite easily.

  2. mothers little hleper February 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    I have just discovered your blog, was actually doing research for my upcoming travels. I turned 50 last year and wanted to travel a few cities in Europe with my cousin. When she cancelled on me, I was disappointed and didnt think about doing it on my own.
    I have been told that I am too old to be off wandering the world but I am going to do it this year. Alone if I have to.

    • Wandering Earl February 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      @mothers little helper – I know plenty of solo females out there who would agree that you are definitely not too old to get out there!

  3. Rhys April 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl, first off, top notch work with the site… hope to get me on of these sometime in the near future 🙂

    and to the post…. I can’t begin to express in words how much I needed to see this article! I’m nearly 27, I tried the whole career thing but it just never sat right, so when I was 25 I told myself “right, let’s get this travelling out of my system so then I’ll be ready to settle down and do as I should”…. having come back the clichéd “new man”, I got worried that this realization had come to me too late in life. However, having now re-prioritized my life goals, I stumbled upon this article and it confirmed to me that I am still young enough to live out my dreams. Thanks dude, sincerely!

    • Earl April 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      Hey Rhys – You are definitely young enough to live out your dreams. Someone was just telling me today about a 60 year old they met at a hostel here in Istanbul who wanted to start achieving his travel dreams right now after he realized that even 60 years of age is not too old!

  4. Traveling at 30 « Rogue Priest January 19, 2012 at 9:03 am - Reply

    […] it while you’re young” is the bad advice people always give me. I assumed they would stop saying this as I stopped being so young. While 30 […]

  5. Russ Mease December 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    At 36, I am doing exactly what your earlier poster was worried about, starting travel after entering the “real world”, and finding it is not for me (it took me too long to figure this out!) I feel more energized than I was 7 years ago as I was planning a 5 month backpacking trip through Europe. Now at 36, I am beginning what will be many years of travel and have no doubt that I will enjoy it many times more!

  6. Carla Hughett September 17, 2011 at 6:42 am - Reply

    Hey, I’m 53 and nobody has stopped me from entering India or Nepal with a big backpack AND wearing sandals. The taxi drivers all seem to assume I’m incapable of walking more than three steps, but they’re just trying to get a fare. I tried to settle down and start an acupuncture clinic in California in 2008, but since that didn’t work out I’ve been a nomad. I definitely can’t lead a conventional life, and I’m done trying. The old bones do ache sometimes, but there are ways to deal with it. Certainly not going to let it stop me!

    • Earl September 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm - Reply

      Hey Carla – Thank you for confirming that we will all be allowed to continue traveling no matter how old we are 🙂 I love your attitude towards life and the fact that you’re quite keen on continuing to achieve your travel goals no matter what. It’s a great example for any traveler who feels that the time might have passed for them to explore this world of ours.

  7. Renata July 21, 2011 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Hey Earl,

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I’m currently 3 years into a 6 year university degree and have recently been feeling like I am going to be ‘too old’ to go traveling for an extended period of time when I graduate (as most others in my class will be going into full time jobs). I try to fit traveling around my studies as much as possible (and am off to SE Asia in December!) but the more I travel the more I want to travel rather than go into full time work after uni. This post made me realise that I wont be ‘too old’ and that full time work can definitely wait! Its great to read about all your travels and how you have managed to sustain it for 12 years!

    Thanks for the inspiration,

    • Earl July 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      Hey Renata – Thank you for the comment and there is no way you’ll be too old after university! Besides, there are plenty of people who enter the ‘real world’, work for many years and then later on in life decide to change direction and start traveling. It’s never too late to go after your goals. And that’s excellent that you’re off to Asia in a few months. I’ll be curious to see how you feel after that trip as I’m sure it will get you even more addicted to travel 🙂

  8. […] This pressure, to live life in a certain way, has been bothering me for some time.  I see thousands of people on their way to work every morning, all of them miserable.  It would appear that they hate their jobs and have no desire to go. But in order to continue this endless cycle of owning ‘stuff’, they must.  Without ‘stuff’ they are not considered to ‘have a life’ of any discernable quality.  Except, it is this endless mission to earn the money to pay for this badge of honour leaves their lives devoid of any apparent enjoyment.  And yet, no one seems to have noticed this elephant in the room.  Or those that have are so distraught at the trap they find themselves caught in, that they try to spend their way out of the unhappiness.  Anyone with ideas to try anything different or live outside of these pressures is discounted as being childish.  Fun, it appears, is reserved for the youth. […]

  9. […] This pressure, to live life in a certain way, has been bothering me for some time.  I see thousands of people on their way to work every morning, all of them miserable.  It would appear that they hate their jobs and have no desire to go. But in order to continue this endless cycle of owning ‘stuff’, they must.  Without ‘stuff’ they are not considered to ‘have a life’ of any discernable quality.  Except, it is this endless mission to earn the money to pay for this badge of honour leaves their lives devoid of any apparent enjoyment.  And yet, no one seems to have noticed this elephant in the room.  Or those that have are so distraught at the trap they find themselves caught in, that they try to spend their way out of the unhappiness.  Anyone with ideas to try anything different or live outside of these pressures is discounted as being childish.  Fun, it appears, is reserved for the youth. […]

  10. Sarah August 23, 2010 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Hi Earl, I love this post. It so completely sums up the general attitude to life that so aggrieves me! The idea that those of us who are looking for more out of life than monotony are purely following a whim of immaturity and refusal to accept life for what it really is, really annoys me.

    It’s worth listening to a little Frank Turner who sums this up very well…

    “Maturity’s a wrapped-up package deal
    or so it seems.
    Ditching teenage fantasy
    means ditching all your dreams.

    All your friends and peers and family
    solemnly tell you you will
    have to grow up. Be and adult.
    Be bored and unfulfilled.

    But no one’s yet explained to me
    exactly what’s so great
    about slaving 50 years away
    on something that you hate.

    About meekly shuffling down the path
    of mediocrity.
    Well if that’s your road then take it
    but it’s not the road for me.”

    • Earl August 23, 2010 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      Hey Sarah – Thanks so much for that comment and those words of Frank Turner certainly do sum up the idea behind this post! It’s that whole idea of choosing a non-traditional life path as a childish escape that always stands in the face of anyone attempting to break free from the mold. Luckily, there are plenty of people who still push forward, and who ultimately reap the rewards of their determination to live the life they’ve always wanted!

  11. Simon July 21, 2010 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    I love this post. It would be a shame to see someone stop doing what they love because they perceive themselves as too old, or even too young for that matter. I think the false perceptions of age, added with so called societal norms really can take a toll on someone and hold them back from doing things that truly excite them. I glad to hear that you refuse to let a little thing like what’s typical of your age stop you from having daily adventures. Very inspiration and well said.

    • Earl July 22, 2010 at 12:48 am - Reply

      Hey Simon! Thanks so much for the comment! I can certainly understand how easy it is for societal norms to make someone question what they should be doing at a certain stage of their life. After all, that’s what most of us are surrounded by – those norms – all day, every day! But if we can somehow muster the strength to take one step away, even for just a brief moment, it suddenly becomes much easier to continue moving in your own direction, following your heart and achieving your goals, no matter how old you happen to be. Once that happens, age matters less and less…

      I see you’ve done a little Thailand traveling yourself. Hopefully the future will bring some more interesting international adventures your way!

      • Simon July 27, 2010 at 12:57 pm - Reply

        I really think you hit the nail on head. It’s often funny how the things that can make the most difference in our lives usually take the most strength and courage to act. But like you said, once we start moving, it becomes easier.

        Thailand was indeed fantastic,I have only been to a few places so far, but come December I am planing on a 1 year trip. Inspiration courtesy of your blog.

        • Earl July 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm - Reply

          Hey Simon! I’m so happy to hear that you’ve found some inspiration over here and especially that you’re soon to embark on a 1-year adventure! What places are you thinking about visiting during your trip?

          Taking that first step is always difficult, but I’m certain that as soon as you buy that plane ticket or land in the first country of your upcoming journey, the greatest challenge will be behind you!

          • Simon July 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm

            I am definietely thinking about an all Asia tour for at least 6 months, then down to South America. Any spots you think are and absolute must please let me know.

            Absolutely right about taking the first step. I went to Bolivia when I was 21 by myself. It was quite nerve racking until I landed in the country.
            .-= Simon´s last blog ..The Benefits of Testing a Market =-.

  12. Positive World Travel July 9, 2010 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Great article! I never really thought about the whole ‘while you can’ disclaimer at the end of that phrase-but it’s so true-why stop if you love what you’re doing!? We are on a long journey at the moment and loving it. Yes, there will be a time when we go home, have kids etc but I don’t think we will ever stop travelling. I can’t wait to be able to travel with our family so our children can also explore the world and not travel ‘while you can’! Thanks for posting 🙂
    .-= Positive World Travel´s last blog ..Adapting to Life on the Road- Part 1 Patience =-.

    • Earl July 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      @positiveworldtravel – I think you understand the idea perfectly! Traveling can be a part of any lifestyle, there’s no either/or decision to make. As long as you want it to be a part of your life, then it should, to whatever extent you feel is right. And I just had a look at your site…I love your no-guidebook traveling style!

  13. […] “You’re Still Young, Do It While You Can” from Wandering Earl highlights some fallacies in this statement.  When we’re 20 we […]

  14. […] making more money is because you guys are making transaction costs prohibitively high!* “You’re Still Young, Do It While You Can” from Wandering Earl highlights some fallacies in this statement.  When we’re 20 we […]

  15. Margo June 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    No limits, ever! signed, forever young woman who hates labels and thinks her husband is w/the CIA who enjoyed talking w/you the other night at boots n all party 🙂
    .-= Margo´s last blog ..Belle Views- E’s Market =-.

    • Earl June 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      Hey Margo!! Thanks so much for visiting the site. I had a wonderful time meeting you as well and I’ll never forget that conversation! And now I’ll forever be curious to know the real deal. Hopefully you’ll join him on a trip soon and find out for yourself…

      I hope you enjoyed Sunday’s activities (I unfortunately couldn’t make it) and I’m looking forward to connecting with you some more!

  16. Jennifer Barry June 25, 2010 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl, I just wanted you to know I added this to my round-up of cool posts on my blog. 🙂
    .-= Jennifer Barry´s last blog ..Live Richly Round-Up #2 =-.

    • Earl June 26, 2010 at 8:38 am - Reply

      Thank you Jennifer! That’s a great round up you put together. Lots of good stuff to read from this past week or so.

  17. […] 6. You’re Still Young, Do It While You Can – Is there a time limit on travel? Earl doesn’t think there should be. […]

  18. Trevor Turnbull June 24, 2010 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Just came across your blog for the first time via a tweet by @jetsetcitizen (John Bardos). Will no doubt become a regular reader and contributor from here on!

    “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”…..SO TRUE!! Love it!
    .-= Trevor Turnbull´s last blog ..SCB 1004 – Brian Gainor – Social Media Interview =-.

    • Earl June 25, 2010 at 9:42 am - Reply

      Thanks for the comment Trevor and welcome to the site!

      And I’m glad that you liked that quote as well. Those words seem to simplify every internal battle that we have as we decide on how to proceed through our lives. It all comes down to whether or not we truly believe that we can achieve our goals. One sliver of doubt can prevent us from accomplishing so much!

  19. Kate Watson June 21, 2010 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this great post! My husband and I hear some version of the “you’re still young, do it while you can” refrain every time we tell someone about our travels; it’s so indicative of how Americans think. What’s funny is that we’re 35 and 32, respectively, and we consciously left behind a nice home and professional careers to travel because we realized there could be more to life than the 9-5, bills for things we didn’t need, etc. Anyone can do this at any age, and I hope more people will take your message to heart.
    .-= Kate Watson´s last blog ..The curse of distance =-.

    • Earl June 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks for commenting Kate! I think the key is that, like you said, people can do this at any age. Of course, it might become more difficult to do the longer you remain in a 9-5 lifestyle, but it’s still possible, very possible! And that’s why people such as yourself, who have chosen to make a drastic life change in order to live a more fulfilling life, offer the most inspiration to others who may be thinking of doing the same.

    • Ned Five January 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      Unless someone is too young (under 18(Unfortunately)).

      • Wandering Earl January 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm - Reply

        Hey Ned – Good point indeed.

  20. Leigh June 20, 2010 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    I’m 53 – still fitter than most though I get pissed with myself when a twenty something passes me on my bike. My favourite b’day present at 50 was a new backpack. I love adventures as much as I did in my twenties. I’m still happy to camp but love boutique hotels now too. A soft bed is a welcome affair.

    The big difference is recovery time after physical exertion. Lactic seems to stay for an extra day or two so I can be sore for up to 96 hours after an epic day. That I have to say sucks.

    Youth is mostly a state of mind. I have a lovely friend in her early 70’s who has given me strict orders to tell her if she is acting like an old fart. I want to be like her when I grow up.

    • Earl June 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm - Reply

      Hey Leigh – Thank you so much for sharing your comments and I think we’d all want to be like your friend when we grow up! If at 53 you’re still active and loving your now 3-year old backpack, it appears that you already share your friend’s attitude towards life.

      And while I’ve yet to develop a love of boutique hotels, I have moved up a few levels in terms of quality of hotel/hostel rooms that I seek out, and I’m sure it will keep changing with time. But similar to you, it doesn’t stand in the way of my constant love for adventure and new travel experiences, it simply allows me to achieve my goals in a more enjoyable and fulfilling way.

  21. Audrey June 20, 2010 at 11:22 am - Reply

    I find that we find ourselves a little schitzo going between the sentiment at the top and being told, “Aren’t you too young to be doing this?”

    The second sentiment has been told to us by numerous American retirees we’ve met on the road. Their model has been to work your butt of in your “prime income earning years” so that you can retire early, sell your house and then travel around the world. I’m glad people are traveling at any age, but you don’t have to put your life on hold to put off all your dreams to the end of your life. Life is too short as it is.

    And, I seriously hope that you can still wear a backpack and enter India after 35…as that will be me in a couple of months.
    .-= Audrey´s last blog ..Living Outside Your Comfort Zone =-.

    • Earl June 20, 2010 at 7:01 pm - Reply

      Excellent Audrey, so you can let me know if India allows you to enter!

      That’s also an interesting point you made. It is difficult for many people to understand how that ‘post-retirement’ lifestyle is possible at such an earlier age. Of course, we are still working as we travel and live overseas but we are able to enjoy a similar type of freedom. When I was living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, which is home to a large population of North American retirees as well, I did find myself having to explain my situation to many of them I met. At least most of them were encouraging, although a few did try to tell me that I would be forced to return to a 9-5 lifestyle at some point!

  22. floreta June 19, 2010 at 2:01 am - Reply

    love the rant here! actually, if/when i “settle down” and have a family, or boyfriend, or girlfriend, or whatever.. i’m pretty much thinking i’ll hack the family lifestyle too 😛 i see non-traditional in my future, even when i’m in a relationship!
    .-= floreta´s last blog ..Yoga and Me =-.

    • Earl June 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Hey Floreta – That’s perfect! The idea of settling down doesn’t have to follow any set of rules, even when a serious relationship is involved. There are endless ways to ‘settle down’ and a non-traditional version works just as well. So when the time comes, you should definitely hack away!

  23. Carousel — 06.18.10 June 18, 2010 at 8:45 am - Reply

    […] You’re Still Young, Do It While You Can: Despite the sound of the title, this post is actually a counter-argument to the idea. As Henry […]

  24. Maria Staal June 17, 2010 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    I’m 40 years old too and the idea of settling down or having a carreer has not yet entered my mind. Although I don’t travel anymore the way I used to do, I love the idea that I can do whatever I want, without being tied down to all those things that 40-year olds are suppose to do.
    My goal in live at the moment is to become the excentric aunt to my nieces. Excentric being the keyword here. 🙂
    .-= Maria Staal´s last blog ..The Story Of Duke Radbod Continued =-.

    • Earl June 18, 2010 at 8:17 am - Reply

      Hey Maria – That sense of freedom can be quite addictive. And there’s no reason to tie yourself down to anything if that’s not the lifestyle you want.

      And I’d say that being an eccentric aunt is a worthy goal. I hope you’ve been successful with that so far!

  25. Liz June 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Just a quick comment to say that I loved your post. You are right, and Henry Ford is very right as well. I share your reality and his reality as well! =)

    And about “It”… let’s go for it! Lol

    • Earl June 17, 2010 at 7:16 am - Reply

      Those Henry Ford quotes are two of my favorites. And I’m glad your on board with the idea of living your ‘it’!

  26. Tweets that mention You’re Still Young, Do It While You Can | Wandering Earl -- June 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Bardos, Derek Earl Baron. Derek Earl Baron said: New at You're Still Young, Do It While You Can […]

  27. Jennifer Barry June 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    @John: I am 40 too and I hear what you’re saying. 🙂 I sure can’t stay up all night drinking or other things I could get away with at age 21. Sleeping on the floor is no fun either.
    .-= Jennifer Barry´s last blog ..Live Richly Round-Up #1 =-.

  28. Randy June 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Great post!
    .-= Randy´s last blog ..Italian courtesies =-.

  29. John Bardos - JetSetCitizen June 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    I am 40 now and I still have the same basic mentality and lifestyle as I did in my twenties with no signs of stopping.

    There are some differences, though. In my twenties, I really had no concept of getting older. 40-year-olds seemed so far separated from where I was that I thought I would never get that old.

    Now that I am that old, I can see how different 40 and 20 are. The biggest change is the physical deterioration. I still work out regularly but my 40 year old body can’t take the punishment of my old body. I cringe at the abuse I inflicted upon myself in the past. Now I have those (minor) injuries with me forever. Little aches and pains add up over the years.

    Another big one for me is that there are less opportunities to start over. Losing everything when you are 50 is very different from losing everything when you are 30. I find myself thinking and planning for the future much more now.

    Of course, I am not insane about it. I still know we live in a world of fantastic opportunities so I am not going to sacrifice any of my dreams. However, I do believe that things change with age.
    .-= John Bardos – JetSetCitizen´s last blog ..Interview with World Travelers, Jason Demant and Sharon Duckworth of LifeAfterCubes =-.

    • Earl June 17, 2010 at 7:14 am - Reply

      Excellent points John. And the first thing that comes to mind is long bus rides. At 23, I had a smile on my face during those two-day journeys on a wooden bench, while these days, it’s more of a ‘biting my lip to forget about the pain’ kind of face!

      I’m also assuming that my dreams and goals will change as my body changes. A good example would be on my last visit to India where I chose to fly across the country instead of taking a 28-hour train. I’m still exploring India, but in a way that better suits my current physical abilities. And I imagine that quite often these adjustments will have to be made as time goes on.

      The key is to understand that those fantastic opportunities, as you mentioned, are available so that we don’t wait until we are in our later stages of life to start achieving goals that we wanted at age 23.

  30. Jennifer Barry June 16, 2010 at 11:47 am - Reply

    I hope the people saying this to you are much, much older! Otherwise I don’t get it at all.

    While you may be like that guy I saw in National Geographic who was waterskiing at age 100 (and hey, the fact that you eat well and exercise helps a lot), most people gradually lose their physical abilities as they get older. This doesn’t mean you can’t travel of course, but certain strenuous activities may not appeal anymore.

    My parents, for example, did a 3 week trip to Australia and New Zealand last year where they flew to a new location every 2-3 days. They are in good health but since they are in their mid-sixties they didn’t want to put off this dream trip too long for fear one of them would no longer be able to hack it. As it was, my parents both got sick at the end of the trip due to the fast pace and the 9 different flights.

    Wow, this sounds more depressing than I was looking for, but you shouldn’t have these issues for decades! Until then, you do what works for you. 🙂
    .-= Jennifer Barry´s last blog ..Chile’s Proud People =-.

    • Earl June 17, 2010 at 7:02 am - Reply

      Hey Jennifer – Actually, one of my friends who is only 35 said these words to me once! The day he hit 35 he just decided that his age prevented him from doing many of the things he had done up until that point (travel, play sports, etc.). And now, because of that mentality, you would think he was 50 if you met him.

      But you’re right, we do lose certain physical abilities as we grow older. I’m just thinking that if we set out to start accomplishing our goals at an earlier age than retirement, by the time we reach our sixties and seventies, we will have other goals in mind that match our abilities. But if we wait until our later years to start achieving the goals we’ve had our entire lives, then we just may find ourselves facing a much more daunting challenge.

      And your parents definitely deserve credit for making their dream happen. I love to hear about people deciding to go for ‘it’ instead of giving up on their dreams!

      • Jennifer Barry June 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm - Reply

        Wow, that is amazing Earl! It just goes to show the societal pressure to “settle down,” have a family, etc. when you hit a certain age.

        Your friend sure is mentally old, and he will get physically old too if he gives up most of his exercise. My husband is 40 and he just earned his brown belt in Krav Maga – he could kick the butt of his 25 year old self now. Of course, it took him a week to fully recover from the grueling test.

        I totally agree with not waiting to retirement to work on goals and dreams. What if you aren’t healthy enough by then to do many of those things?

        My folks did wait to do a lot of fun things, but I give them credit for making up for lost time! 🙂 They are currently on a cruise down the Rhine River in Europe. With the optional day trips, it’s really great combination of relaxation and activity for them.
        .-= Jennifer Barry´s last blog ..Eat Locally, Wherever You Are =-.

  31. Mara June 16, 2010 at 10:46 am - Reply

    “I’m 65 and I guess that puts me in with the geriatrics. But if there were fifteen months in every year, I’d only be 48. That’s the trouble with us. We number everything.”
    –James Thurber

    • Earl June 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      So true. And this is the reason why so many people are deciding to stop celebrating their birthdays.

      Thanks Mara!

  32. Financial Samurai June 16, 2010 at 9:11 am - Reply

    You musta been talking to your parents or older friends, b/c it’s all relative! 33 is young in my mind, but go ahead and talk to a college student and boy will they think you’re old!

    We each have our different points of settling. You’ll want to settle and grow roots once you have a strong enough desire to start a family or are sick of traveling. We’re all rational beings!

    In the meantime, do whatever you do until you don’t find that happiness level maintained anymore!



    • Earl June 16, 2010 at 10:59 am - Reply

      Hey Sam – It is indeed all relative and as a result, the best way to cut through it all is to simply do whatever it takes to feel young, no matter what your actual age happens to be. As the Ford quote above talks about, keeping our minds active through constant learning is one way to accomplish that.

      As for settling down, once my desires and goals change then I will of course alter the course of my life accordingly. But at the moment, when I am most inspired by those who have dedicated their entire lives to travel and the education that stems from it, a settled life is difficult for me to imagine! I’m happy with my current path and like you said, once that changes, so will my decisions.

      Thank you as always for your comments!

  33. Annie Leroux June 16, 2010 at 1:39 am - Reply

    I completely agree.

    As an American, it seems like travel isn’t necessarily encouraged or supported in the same way it seems to be in other parts of the world, as least in my experience. I am 22 and planning an RTW trip. I have been told countless times that if I am going to travel or want to travel (again, many people are confused that people even WANT to travel), it is great that I am doing it now so I can “get it out of the way while [I] am young”.

    Is there a rule out there that says we must travel when we are young and the rest of our life after should fall in line with what the average person does from day to day. Narrow-minded thinking makes me very confused.

    Again, great post.

    • Earl June 16, 2010 at 10:51 am - Reply

      Thank you so much Annie.

      The “get it out of the way while you can” line is another one that is thrown around too often! It is just difficult for many people to envision a life that involves anything beyond normal expectations. And so they either assume that travel is a phase of youth or they try to convince themselves of that in order to feel better about their own decisions.

      But the main thing is to push ahead with your planning anyway and understand that your RTW trip is going to open up an entirely new world of opportunities that you’ll be able to take advantage of and which very well may shape the rest of your life!

  34. Mark Lawrence June 15, 2010 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    The optimism and inspiration here are unparalleled. I read your blog regularly, but this time found myself here by clicking on a comment you made on Brand James’ New Life Travel “Quitting the Corporate Life Post”. I remember reading your blog for the first time then last December, and being filled with a feeling of endless possibility. There can be so much doubt when going against the grain, and people will try their hardest (even without realizing it) to bring out these doubts and fears. Then Brandon was quitting his job in corporate America for the first time. Now, he has biked from Berlin to Bulgaria and is on his way to Istanbul. (Final destination Beijing). As I am in my final days in the corporate world before I embark on my own journey, it brings me great joy and a feeling of pure excitement when I read your blog. Thank you.

    • Earl June 15, 2010 at 11:16 pm - Reply

      Hey Mark – Thanks for that awesome comment! And even more so, congratulations on your upcoming adventure!!

      You’re absolutely right about all of the doubt that fills our heads when we start to think of doing something unconventional. And that doubt is powerful enough to keep the majority of people from ever taking that first step towards their true goals in life. The fact that you are only days away from taking that step is reason enough to proceed with confidence. As you can see from Brandon’s example, once you get out there, you won’t regret leaving the traditional life path behind.

      Thanks so much for being a part of this community! And I’m curious as to where you’ll be headed when you embark on your journey?

      • Mark Lawrence June 17, 2010 at 1:32 pm - Reply

        I can hardly contain the excitement!!! I have not nailed down an exact date as for the journey, but I will let you know as soon as I’m on the road! This is a great community to be a part of man!
        .-= Mark Lawrence´s last blog ..A Stunning New Journey of Discovery Has Begun =-.

        • Earl June 18, 2010 at 8:23 am - Reply

          Hey Mark – I’m glad to see how excited you are, and once you do settle on a departure date, I’m sure that excitement will multiply beyond imagination! I see you’ll be biking across Africa, and there is of course no need to tell you how amazing that sounds! Let me know when you do finalize your dates and perhaps we’ll meet out there on the road at some point.

  35. Mike June 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    There’s no ban on sandals, you just have to start wearing socks with them.

    • Earl June 16, 2010 at 11:01 am - Reply

      Hey Mike – that is even worse, much, much worse!!!

  36. Osborne June 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    You are forgetting to mention the ban on wearing sandals that is placed upon people at the age of 35. And o man at 40 it gets worse, you are required to trade in your backpack for a briefcase.

    I live my live by a simple rule “Live each and every second as if it is your last, but plan for tomorrow”

    • Earl June 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      That’s a great rule to live by Osborne. And thanks for the heads up about the sandals because I’d rather walk barefoot all day than put any form of closed-toed shoes on my feet!

  37. Fabian | The Friendly Anarchist June 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    Kyle is right. I wonder why you haven’t heard about that, Earl! And I’m afraid the mortgage is the higher the more ignorant you have been about it before!
    Apart from that, the frontier-guards in India will sit you on the next plane back home if you try to enter with a big backpack being 35+… 😉
    .-= Fabian | The Friendly Anarchist´s last blog ..Consistency and Your Creative Work =-.

    • Earl June 15, 2010 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      Hey Fabian – I should have suspected something like this…how naive am I! But I can tell you that nothing will stop me from visiting India, no matter how old I am!

  38. Kyle June 15, 2010 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    When you turn 35, you are automatically given a mortgage by the government in a mid-sized American city and a nice mid-sized car that is a pleasant, non-threatening shade of read. Has anyone not told you of this? 🙂
    .-= Kyle´s last blog ..Who Says the In-Flight Entertainment Sucks? =-.

    • Earl June 15, 2010 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      Hey Kyle – Not a single person has informed me of this, can you believe it? Although, why would I want to keep on traveling when I could be buzzing around town in a pleasantly-colored vehicle? I’m sold!

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