Monday, 15 May 2017

Happy being a stereotype

People often assume that the No Kidding amongst us can (and want to) travel the world, and that this  makes up for not having children. I’m sorry, but I know my existence just perpetuates this stereotype, and I apologise to those of you who resent being typecast. The fact that I think I would have travelled almost as much if we had had children seems to be irrelevant to the perpetuation of this stereotype; so too, is the fact that many of my most-travelled friends are parents.

This stereotype raises its ugly head less often for me these days, as - over the last ten years or so - I see my eldest sister and a number of friends also becoming free to travel wherever and whenever they are choose, as their children grow up and leave home. Our situation, where we were one of the few couples we knew who were free to travel unconstrained by the school year, is no longer unique.

Still,I remember a discussion last year with a former mentor of mine, who was envious of our three months in Italy in 2013 (and two months either side of it), noting that as she was now a grandparent, she couldn’t be away that long from the grandchildren. I realised this was very much her choice though, as I compared her with another friend who summers in France for six months with her French beau, and then returns in the NZ summer to see her children and grandchildren.

So maybe in the end this has little to do with stereotypes, and now is really all about choice. As this post is published, we will be a week into our northern adventure holiday, and I will feel okay that I am continuing this stereotype as the carefree couple without children - because that’s exactly what I plan on being for the next few weeks.



10 comments:

  1. If having children doesn't work out for my husband and I, then my hopes would be to have more time and opportunity for travel. Sometimes I think that people who don't know our situation very well probably just assume we don't want kids and have chosen to travel instead when they see my facebook photos!

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  2. It's the assumption & the stereotype that bug me... the idea that we have no cares or responsibilities (& oodles of money) because we have no kids, so of COURSE we should be travelling the world! Perhaps it's also the reminder that I HAVEN'T travelled yet as much as I would like to, and whose fault is that?? ;) Sometimes it's a matter of getting a partner onside (dh likes to talk about travelling, but when it comes down to it, he is a homebody & it's up to me to suggest a trip, nag him about it, and then make all the plans & arrangements myself... and, of course, take the flack when things don't go well...!). But yes, in the end, a lot of it really is choice & how we choose to allocate the resources (including time) that we do have.

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  3. Well, this is one stereotype I hear a lot when I go to work on a Monday and tell my peers that I slept a lot and relaxed over weekend. The response I get is "Well, I wish had that luxury." I almost always want to reply, "It was a choice." ;)

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  4. Happy Travelling! I don't mind being a stereotype when it comes to travelling.

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  5. I was part of this stereotype myself once. A treatment didn't work while we were living overseas, which was devastating. However, if I'd become pregnant, we were advised not to travel. Since I didn't become pregnant, we got to go to Prague (more: http://lavenderluz.com/2008/08/show-tell-europe-as-a-fertility-consolation-prize-2.html).

    I get your point about choice. And I'm happy (and a little jealous!) that you've chosen to have a northern adventure, too!

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  6. Relish it :-) It sounds like an amazing trip. Let other people think whatever they want to think. You don't have time for that: you're seeing the world.

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  7. I trust you are having a blast on the adventure you have chosen for yourself. Yay you.

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  8. Choice is a funny thing. Definitely prioritizing. It's like the people who said to us all along, "oh wait until you have kids..." and then listed all the things we wouldn't be able to do anymore, or the expenses we'd incur (like we didn't incur a boatload of expense to try and try and NOT have children), when I KNOW PEOPLE who manage to have kids and not sacrifice every single piece of themselves. They still travel, with and without their kids. Now that we know we won't have children, we are planning trips, but I am probably not going to be a jetsetter. But at the same time, we won't be paying for college, or daycare, so we can use our funds differently. I hope you have an amazing time on your Northern voyage! I can't wait to hear all about it!

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  9. Was just having a conversation with my husband about a related topic, the mere act of going home. While his colleagues have been mostly sensitive to his child free not by choiceness, they tend to imply sometimes that he is "living the life" when he leaves work because they have to go home and deal with their kids. Groan. "No, you have to go home and self actualize", I pointed out to my husband as we went on to talk about all aspects of our lives that were blown apart through treatments and coming out of them childless. Most of which, three years later, are still quite unsettled. Interesting what you say about your situation being less unique as you get older. I'll have to remember to throw the "living the life" comment back at people when they are wining about adjusting to their empty nests a few years down the road. In the meantime, I'm so happy for you and your travels. XO

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