On keeping up appearances, or staying sane at home


Blue Pool, Thailand


Life is a series of decisions. I’m not quite sure who said that, but it sounds intellectual enough for a first line.

Everything is a choice- how you react when things go wrong, the people you have around you and how you present yourself to the world.

Your image or how you choose to come across to others is also a decision, particularly if you’ve affixed a label on yourself, whether it’s ‘traveller’, ‘nomad’, ‘globetrotter’ or ‘modern-day hippie’.

Living up to an image isn’t easy nor it is cheap, because once you’ve described yourself in a particular fashion, you need to prove that’s what you really are. Right?

After all, you’re not much of a globetrotter if you’re stuck in the office day after day, week after week just working and only managing two-week trips at the most. Not much globetrotting going on there.

And you may have ‘nomad’ all over your blog or social media profiles but that’s not what you are if you’re stuck at home. That’s not what a nomad does.

Hence the false need to always be on a plane somewhere, to show that you’re on the move and when you aren’t, to be anywhere but settled, or at home. When you’re away, to resist going back to be with the folks and when you’re at home, to publicly pine for faraway places.

One thing I’ve realised in the past 12 months is that people should stop trying to live up to labels they’ve bestowed upon themselves. If you have to resort to borrowing money to travel so that you can live up to your image as a traveller, don’t. Life shouldn’t be that difficult.

Either that, or it’s easier not to have a label.

I understand how it feels to want to be somewhere far away. I get itchy feet every so often, but if nobody wants to give me a free ticket or if I can’t afford to travel just yet, I won’t. Even if I receive hundreds of free trips a year, I still wouldn’t be able to survive. I still need to get paid for something- but that’s a different story.

For the past three months I’ve been at home, trying to stay sane from not going anywhere, partly because of work and partly out of choice. But that’s okay because I’ve waited long enough. Five weeks from now, it’ll be time for my next trip.


© 2014, Anis. All rights reserved.

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8 Responses

  1. Khai says:

    Nicely said Anis. I am keeping sane at home too since my last backpacking trip last year which was few months back. And I also feel the itchy feet to go somewhere now and then.

    But as you said, if I don’t have the mean, don’t. And that is why I am still here. 🙂 I wanted too, but there are other commitments that I need to prioritize. And I believe, the day for me to go for my next trip will come, sooner or later.

    Gladly I did not put any label on me. Haha.

    And love reading this post, because I too can relate to myself 🙂

    • Anis says:

      Thanks Khai :-). Staying put at home isn’t a bad thing at all. That way I can be with my family, eat home-cooked food (very important!) and save some money. I love travelling but I don’t believe in constantly being on the move if I can’t afford to.

  2. haizdarr says:

    Thanks for writing this. If reflects me too. yes why being on the move if I cant afford too. Quietly & silently stay at home. Save money for next trip sooner or later

    • Anis says:

      I know a few people who try very hard to show that they’re always on the move when it’s obvious that they can’t afford that kind of lifestyle, and then they end up borrowing money from people. Tak faham betul. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Ying says:

    Good one, Anis. I’ve have called myself a nomad though that’s not who I am now. Right now, I’m just clocking in and out of my office at a certain time, take the same old goddamn MRT everyday to the same place and even promptly putting on weight for lack of movement.

    But being a nomad can also be an attitude, or a perspective. If I can’t get out there, then I do my best to have adventures in my backyard. Everything counts. And while doing so, I’m saving money so that my next adventure could just be as sustainable as before. I’m just paying my dues, sucking it up and as much as I’d hate to admit it, I’m learning things that I didn’t and couldn’t while I’m travelling.

    Enjoy your next trip! 🙂

    • Anis says:

      Ying, have you heard of the microadventure? It’s coming up to the weekend, so maybe you should try it! It’s such a wonderful idea and it’s perfect for working people :D. Have a look at this: http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/microadventure-infographic/. There are lots of other stories on his website, so do have a look. I’m a big, big fan of what Alastair Humphreys does. Tell me if you ever go on your own microadventure in Singapore!

  4. So true. I feel like this whole idea of excess and living beyond your means goes beyond just travel though (of course notoriously are those who borrow money to keep up appearances) like buying designer handbags that can’t be afforded.

    As for travellers who feel the need to leave, but can’t just yet. There’s always the option of being a Set Jet Traveller! Be inspired by travel movies, or books or more and let your imagination run free

    • Anis says:

      I agree with what you said you about travel movies and books. That’s kind of like travelling as well!