There, I've said it. I don't want to travel. By Orrin Onken
Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash
I don’t want to buy an RV and see the country. I don’t want to visit the Galapagos. I don’t want to cruise the rivers of Europe.
I recently retired from practicing law. I liked working. I ran my own office, got to do things my way, and earned a lot of money. But it was always work, and I never mistook it for anything else. It was not my calling or what I loved to do. When I had enough money that I could live comfortably for the rest of my life without working, it became harder and harder to go to the office every morning.
The day came when the money I made from working was no longer worth the hassle of earning it. So I quit.
My lawyer colleagues, who hadn’t quit practicing and had no intention of quitting, asked me what I was going to do and I didn’t have a good answer. They would follow up about how they couldn’t imagine themselves retiring, but if they did, they would use the time to travel.
Now that I am retired, I feel a lot of pressure to travel. But I don’t want to.
I traveled before retirement. Sometimes, I traveled for work. That wasn’t a lot of fun. Other times I traveled because I was on vacation and traveling is what a working person is supposed to do when on vacation. I traveled so when the vacation was over I could answer the question, “Where did you go?”
I’ve done some interesting things and met some interesting people while traveling. I’ve also spent a lot of time bored spitless, deprived of amenities I love, and meeting people I hope to never see again. Today, I don’t have a single friend I met while traveling. I can’t say whether my horizons have been widened or my cultural vision expanded. Maybe they have, but if they have I’m not sure it has been worth the stress and discomfort.
Travel did give me different scenery to look at. I like looking at scenery — for a while — I’d say for three hours at the most on any given day.
Photo by Jake Blucker on UnsplashSince retirement, I have been taking geology classes in the Senior Learning Project of a local university. There are some rocks out there I’d like to look at, so my wife and I have planned a trip to look at rocks. I don’t mean to suggest that I don’t thoroughly enjoy the rocks behind my house, but I will probably enjoy seeing different rocks. Traveling to look at different rocks shows some promise of being something I would like to do.
My concern about going to look at rocks is whether what I might see when I get to my destination will be worth all the driving, flying, walking, hoteling, restauranting, and discomfort it takes to get there. I will try it once and see how I like it. I doubt it will become a habit.
So, my friends inquire, if you aren’t going to travel, what are you going to do?
Well, let’s see:
I want to grocery shop on a weekday morning
I want to use gardening in my front yard as a way of getting to know my neighbors
I want to make a perfect cheese souffle
I want to read War and Peace
I want to go to high school baseball games
I want to grow herbs
I want to sit on my deck with my old-guy friends and so we can lie to each other about the old days.
This is not an exhaustive list, and I will not make it into a spreadsheet. It is not a list I would have made when I was middle-aged. Then I thought that people who weren’t working should travel. But I am not middle-aged, so I don’t think that anymore. Who knows? Maybe when I have checked off everything on my list, I may decide I really do want to travel.