There is No “I” in Team– and That’s Okay

During high school and even my first year of college, I had some pre-set deadlines in my life, which included a car and being engaged at the end of college; and a happy marriage/partnership with kids and house by the time I was 27. I’m not sure the 15-year-old high school freshman Dana envisioned herself boyfriend-less, still working the same summer waitressing job, driving her parents car, and sleeping in her same twin-sized childhood bed at the old age of 24 (nor did her parents!) However, on the bright side, I’m not sure 15-year-old Dana envisioned her 20-something-self to have studied abroad, worked abroad, and traveled independently to over 15 countries, either.

Coming home for the summer has sucked me back into the American Dream as well as rekindled some kinds of peer pressure within myself and my everyday life. I mean, my awesome 20-something friends and cousins are developing serious relationships, getting engaged or married, and really jump starting their careers, whereas I continue to be the third or fifth wheel!

Being nomadic, and not knowing where you’re going to be in the next year usually also means that you’re usually single or have a very short-term dating life. I would be lying if the “So do you have a boyfriend?” or, “But isn’t it lonely?” questions didn’t make me a little insecure or uncomfortable. But then I am reminded by all of the people who have told me that they truly admire what I am doing with my life right now, and that they wish they had the courage to do what I was doing. I am told that I am a role model, an inspiration, and have given others the courage to pursue their travel dreams.

Because let’s face it, instead of pinning my dream wedding on Pinterest or going to the gym for the sole purpose of meeting men, I spend my free time reading travel blogs, researching cheap flights, and planning out my twenties based on where I will obtain a working-holiday visa or where I backpack during each summer vacation. The truth is, when it comes to my travels, I’m selfish. I don’t want to sacrifice travel right now (and hopefully maybe one day I will meet the right person who won’t make me choose between the two.)

But for the time being, travel and nomadic life has taught me that I do not need someone else in order to be happy or fulfilled. It’s taught me to be independent and to enjoy doing things alone. Perhaps living in France and continuing to move around means saying, “goodbye” to meeting someone serious in my twenties. But then again, maybe my twenties weren’t made for a duo— there is no “I” in team, after all.



14 thoughts on “There is No “I” in Team– and That’s Okay

  1. Dana, you are only 24 years old right?

    I’m not saying this because I think you’re immature, quite the opposite. It’s just that I feel that you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself when you don’t have to. You still have a lot of time to travel and work abroad and then settle down if that’s what you want. There really is no rush, despite what your friends at home are doing.

    There are a lot of people who wait until they are older to travel. That usually means once the kids are raised and they can retire. For me this is just not an option. I want to travel now, when I’m young and healthy and able to do almost anything. Travelling after retirement age is not the same as travelling when you are young (not that I’m being a snob to retired people). And then I always have one thing at the back of my mind: What if I don’t live long enough to make it to retirement age? I know this is gloomy, but this is a major consideration for me.

    I was with someone for a few years who wanted to settle down asap and didn’t want to travel. I tried to make it work, but ultimately I had to leave that relationship because I just couldn’t see a life without travel. Now I’m married to somebody who travels a lot for work and I tag along on quite a few of those trips. Maybe that’s something to aim for – finding someone who shares your love of travelling?

    I spent a few years in Europe with almost no money. Those were some great years, let me tell you.

    1. You’re right- a lot of it is internalized pressure . That’s something I’ve thought a lot about since being home for the summer. I judge myself in so many ways that I wonder if my parents or friends are thinking similar thoughts or not– not just with relationships but with jobs, travels, etc.

      I’m with you that being with someone long term who wants to travel is non negotiable! Definitely a requirement in a partner. 🙂

  2. I hope it’s obvious that I love being married and that being with my husband is more important to me than anything else.

    That said. I still miss the freedom of living in France (and in New York, and in Toronto). If I hadn’t met my husband when I did, I either would have stayed in Toronto, gone back to school for my Master’s degree, or moved back to France. Being a serious relationship requires major sacrifices. I gave up my mobility and my traveling to be with my husband. I’m really really glad that we met when we did, when I had already worked in France for two years. I’m glad we started off long-distance so I could enjoy living in New York and in Toronto.

    So you just keep doing you. You have all the time in the world to settle down.

    1. Of course i know you love Beau more than anything in the world 🙂

      I’m glad to hear this from someone with whom I have so much in common.

      I have almost no money left so going back this time is going to be more of work no play except at the end , as you did!

      You’re right about sacrifices- I never dates in college because a lot of my friends mad serious changes and sacrifices to their lives for their partners. I still am a little selfish but at 24 sometimes I worry that my lack of relationships will really hurt me in a few years..


  3. There is give and take with everything… Be happy and follow your heart! All will work out as it is meant to be for you. Trust your instincts and go with what your gut tells you to do. It will lead you to where you should be!!!

  4. I always wonder what life would have been like if I settled down earlier. What sort of job I’d have. Where I’d live. Etc. But that scares me. I like where I ended up. Though the fun is definitely not over yet!

    1. Too true!

      We can always move and start over– as Americans we love having that “nothing is permanent (especially in careers!” Mentality !

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