I write this post as I am in the back of my dad’s car, en route to Manchester Airport, from which we will fly to New York City; as part of his 50th birthday celebrations. It is the first time the rest of my family will have traveled to the Big Apple, my parents are like little children who are off on holiday for the first time, excited for the unknown that is the concrete jungle. Yet, it gives me pause and makes me think about an alternative lifestyle, and potentially one I may have been engulfed in had I followed a particular path.
In recent years, I have taken to travelling solo, or within a small group, to America on a mixture of social visits and convention meet ups; all spanning from a spontaneous decision to book flights to both San Francisco and New York City (within the same two week period) back in 2012. Now, I know a lot of you will say that that isn’t essentially traveling as most would define it – for example, backpacking across Asia, but it was my own personal experience, and something I see as one of my life defining moments. I stayed with Tyler Oakley in SF, and Hank Chen in NYC, both Youtubers who I know through the community and reached out to regarding this… Spontaneous whim? And I had the time of my life. The entire experience, for someone who had only been on family holidays before, never on my own, or with a group of friends, was phenomenal; from the solo flights, transferring at NYC for SF, following a very simple guide on how to get to the Castro that Tyler sent me (he then met at the metro station!). I was actually in San Francisco for the annual Castro Street Fair , which is pretty much a mini Prode event in its own right… You’ve never seen so many GoGo dancers in one place! To experiencing my first horrifying 6 hour delay getting to NYC, which totally demolished Hank’s surprise plans for us to be in the Tweet seats for the Anderson Cooper Show (he had to tell me when I somehow was able to get in contact regarding my delay), we still got there… But with a very tired John. There is a very poor montage video of my trip on YouTube, back in my early days, which you can see by clicking here.
Following on from this initial experience, I have since travelled to Anaheim, California, alone, for VidCon 2013, and had an amazing time hanging out with this community I originally had only interacted with online and through videos. That was definitely something else, making me feel lucky to be part of that community. To then traveling to LA, and onwards to Anaheim for VidCon 2014 with a very small group! Each time, I have not struggled to meet new people and remain in contact with them, even when I would have initially doubted my own confidence levels. There are montage videos from both these experiences within the same playlist link shown above.
This leads me on to this line of thought, though I do enjoy travelling, in a limited sense – short bursts etc as I do enjoy my home comforts and a sense of routine, which can then be broken up, how do people simply live out of a suitcase? Constantly travelling from place to place, week by week. If I had truly followed the pathway that is within the TV Industry, that is “go where the work is“, I genuinely don’t believe that I could do it. You cold be working in Manchester for 6 weeks, Glasgow for 2, London for a month, etc and having to find, what we call, digs (a place to stay for the short period you are working in that area). I don’t think I could handle the stress. There used to be a time, I wanted to be an actor, and I always think “What if you pursued that, and got amazing jobs that requires travelling?” Well, I guess that is self explanatory, you would jump at the opportunity, but I think in that respect certain elements would be organised for you as part of a tour of production company.
But then there are those who take absolute thrill in the simplicity of having a few items of clothing and jumping from hostel to hostel, living life as they see fit. It seems a glorious life, if even for a time, but I feel I would worry too much about what would come next – my own personal demons of being overly organised with that little spice of spontaneity. OCD to the max.
I guess it is food for thought, in that you can love the notion of travelling and seeing the world, but have different ideas and methods of going about it. Could you up and leave if your partner was offered a job elsewhere? How about if they moved about, would you go with them? And what if the situation was reversed, would you take on board opportunities with the knowledge in the forefront of your mind, that there was someone else to think about other than yourself?
It is interesting… Adventurous, joyous, frightening. But hey… That’s life.
’til next time, see you in the time change.