Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my situation in Glasgow and how there’s always something wrong with every situation I find myself in. It didn’t take long for me to realise I can split my life up into chunks and tell you what I was happy with and what I was unhappy with. Knowing all of this when we moved to Glasgow I set myself goals to make sure I didn’t make the same mistakes. I decided I wanted to say yes to more things, I didn’t want to get bogged down in the city and by the end of our 10 month placement have seen nothing outside of Glasgow. I also wanted to save some money so I can travel for three weeks after Glasgow and have some money behind me for when I start university in September. The problem is when you set yourself these two goals that completely conflict each other it’s very hard to be satisfied with the outcome.
As I mentioned in March on The Little Backpacker, I recently had a change with my jobs and have now started to notice the drop in money I’m earning. I’m very good at budgeting for things normally but because I have said yes to so many things my budgeting was worked out months in advance with my then job situation. As I’ve found my work load change my budgeting has gone completely out of the window, especially as I was still trying to recover from it taking so long to find work when I first moved up to Glasgow.
It’s hard describing this to some people who aren’t as money conscious as I am, I know I put unnecessary pressure on myself but I do that for a damn good reason. I want to travel and I want to be financially secure without having to worry where the next penny is coming from. It’s just who I am and who I’ve always been. Recently I’ve been getting a lot of people asking me how I’ve afforded to do all of this travelling. When I tell people I afforded all of it off my own back, by working very hard and saving even harder, people are genuinely shocked. It seems they think I’ve gotten it for free or something. I learnt a long time ago if you want something you have to work bloody hard to achieve it.
As I’ve been struggling with the fact that the first three months of this year have been exactly what I wanted in terms of getting out and seeing things but nothing like I wanted in terms of saving money, it’s made me realise that you can’t have everything and although some things are going right here some things aren’t too. And that has to be okay, life is never going to be perfect, there is always going to be a struggle to achieve everything.
Take when I lived in London for instance: I was a nanny, on a decent wage, with concrete hours and the loveliest family. Yet I said no to everything because I was obsessed with saving for Australia, I had a crap social life because I didn’t have a job with colleagues and by the end of the six months I was tired of living in a city.
Compare that to when I lived in Melbourne: I hated my job, I said no a lot still and I got completely bogged down in the city while trying to save. Still, I got paid well and earned a lot in tips, saved enough for my upcoming travels, had a great social life and lived in a fancy apartment.
The one constant in those places was I saved a lot, I was a little obsessed and worked very hard at my job in order to achieve my goals but I did it because I had something to save for. Since being in Glasgow I’ve only had an idea of something to save for, and I haven’t forced myself into working as hard as I used to. I am in limbo what with starting a degree in September and having no qualifications currently has made getting a job harder this time around but I don’t see why that should be an excuse for me failing at the saving so badly.
I say all of this and yet I know exactly why I have failed so badly these last six months. The reason is because I have spent hundreds of pounds flying home each month. Being away for so long meant people were desperate to see me, for me to attend things and to begin with I was desperate to be part of their lives again. That soon wore thin as I found every month I would wait for pay day only to spend half my pay packet on booking flights, car parks and transfers to some location in the UK. This month as I did that for the final time I finally felt free. Being in the UK has made me feel responsible for being present in my friends’ and families’ lives but when they live in the south of England and I live in the heart of Scotland my feeling of responsibility has become more an unwanted burden.
I tweeted the other night about missing the simple life, not expecting anyone to reply – it was just a throw away comment. However I did get a reply and when someone asked me what is the simple life it got me thinking. The simple life for me was when I lived abroad with no pressure, no ties or no responsibility to be part of things I was missing out on. Sure to begin with there was FOMO but that soon disappeared and a regular Skype conversation soon became enough for me. The simple life is where if you take yourself out of the place your worries disappear. It’s being able to up and move because you’ve decided it’s time to move on. It’s only having to worry about yourself (and your travelling partner) and I know that sounds really selfish but travellers are selfish really. To me the simple life is also one where finances are simple; you don’t have to waste money on doing things for other people and you are rarely stung with unexpected costs. The simple life is having a secure job with secure hours and knowing exactly how much you will earn each month. The simple life is just breaking down and making life simple for yourself, the simple life is selfish but the simple life makes me happier.
I don’t really know what my point is in all this rambling, I certainly don’t want it to come across as a moan at my friends and parents. They didn’t pressure me to continuously be part of their lives, like I said before I have put un-necessary pressure on myself to do these things. I put myself in this situation, like I have put myself in all the other situations I have described. My choices are my own and I don’t wish to blame anyone else for what I think and feel. What I needed was to write about it, for someone else to say I know exactly how you feel and for me to feel better about it. Exactly like people did when I posted the very personal blog of Should I follow My Head Or My Heart?