Packing up for Prague

Today, one of my coworkers just up and left. He wasn’t part of my team, and I barely knew him. (Hell, I only met the guy like three weeks ago when we changed offices, but he sat in the cube next to me.) Today, however, he dropped a bombshell on his managers and his workgroup, by announcing today was his last day. He basically turned in his laptop and said goodbye, shook hands with his bewildered team and that was it.

I asked him where he was heading and he gave me this sort of sheepish smile and said he had a one-way ticket to Prague. He was leaving on Monday. Never been to Europe. Thought he had a couch to crash on when he got there. Thought he had a teaching job waiting for him (teaching English). Had COBRA for health care. (Though who knows if it would work in Europe). Knew he would be heading for India at some point, and then Asia.

He looked at me and shrugged and told me he was only 26 and that one day he’d be where I was, with the kids and the rest of it. He knew he probably had another 25 years of cube-life in him, but wasn’t quite ready to start that just yet. I told him that was cool and mentioned airbnb.com, in case his plans didn’t quite work out.

I have to admit, I’m a tad envious. Okay, more than envious. There was a time I thought I might do the same thing. Give it all up and travel the world on $6 a day. Fill up my days with new places and my evenings with music and one-night stands with dark-haired strangers. (And yeah, I did hang out in Ireland a bit here and there – did my share of youth hostels for a few weeks at a time. Fun, but shared showers get old fast.  No, I didn’t do the one-night-stand thing, though several of my travelling companions did. Go Scrumpy Jack! Also managed to get groped a lot in clubs. *eyeroll* Good times.)

These days I don’t think it’s in me to wish for a Gypsy life. I like to travel, but I like my creature comforts too.

On the other hand, I kinda wonder about those words of his. Just where, exactly, am I? Settled? Cube-monkey by day, smut-writer by night? A mom? A wife? A keeper of cats?

I’m certainly not in Prague.

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5 Responses to Packing up for Prague

  1. Simon says:

    Ah, the lure of the unknown, the exotic, the not-here. I feel it every time I drive past an airport or see a container ship in port. But then I go home to my children and realize that my travels just have to be in words. That's enough for now.

  2. Scopique says:

    People like this actually tick me off. They think that they're going to find the secret of the universe or something by backpacking in some fetid backwater in another part of the world. That's fine for them, really, but when they start feeling sorry for YOU (or me, or anyone else in our situation), then they've just got their head up their asses.

    I'll save him the cash: what you're looking for isn't in India, or Prague. It's you, man. Start understanding the world by understanding yourself. When you become comfortable with your lot in life no matter where you are, who you're with or what goes on around you, THEN you'll be on your way.

  3. Danica says:

    I'm downright envious of your former co-worker. I frequently think 'If I didn't have responsibilities, I'd be happy to take odd jobs around the country and just travel.' But my parents did their job too well by making me know that I have obligations. Now, I'm swamped with them. I think I can be content to take vacations though…cause at least I know my own bed is waiting for me at the end of the adventure.

  4. Jeffe says:

    You know, I'm with Scopique on this one. Allison, don't you dare let some twenty-something with no direction make you question your very full life and your amazing literary accomplishments. Nobody likes to work, in a cube or otherwise. That's why they pay us. Then we have teh monies build something interesting with our lives. There's nothing profound about sleeping on someone else's couch.

  5. mynfel says:

    Heh – I think I struck a bit of a nerve with this post. I don't think I'm questioning my life choices. Maybe it's just an untempered longing to be young and feckless again. You know, when you were 20 and you could be a selfish prat and that was okay? Though maybe that's not right either.

    Life is short. Suppose I'd like to taste it all.   🙂

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