Wednesday, 17 March 2010

How OId is Too Old?

Having recently finished my stint working at Whistler for the Olympics, and with a couple of weeks until my next trip around the US with some of my best friends from home, I decided to head south of the border to check out Seattle and Portland. The main pull behind this was being able to see my favourite NBA team, the Toronto Raptors, play against the Portland Trailblazers, who also happen to have young Aussie Patty Mills on their roster. While the Raptors lost, and Patty didn’t get even close to getting court time, it was a fun trip. It did have its interesting moments.

While having a few drinks with some other travellers from the hostel I was staying at in Seattle, one girl from California – upon finding out I’d recently turned 30 – asked in all honesty, “aren’t there age limits for staying in a hostel?”

Way to kick a guy while he’s already starting to feel a bit old. While up in Whistler many of my co-workers were a good 10 years younger than me and had never lived out of home. I’ll admit, there were times when I thought to myself, am I too old for this?

Most of my best friends back home are working great jobs, owning houses (or at least mortgages), getting married and even having kids. When I got back from a few years in Europe two years ago, everyone – including me really – just assumed I’d jump on the same track as all of them. The moment I got home though I realised that wasn’t gonna happen.

A lot of people comment that they’d “love to be able” to do what I do, but cant because of their responsibilities. I often have to point out to them that me having no responsibilities is no accident. I’ve made it a point over the years to avoid things like a career or any other responsibilities. Makes it very hard to travel with commitments back home.

One thing I do want to avoid though, is becoming one of those crusty old guys you always see in the hostel. You know the one. They’re generally in their 50’s, bald and smelly, banging on about how “you kids these days have it so easy. When I was your age, I walked for 3 days across four borders while being chased by armed militia. And you think you’re travellers!”

I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but I do have a long list of things I want to get to in the next few years, so chances are I wont be “settling down” back at home until my mid 30s, penniless and without any career prospects. And ya know what, I’m good with that, because if its anything like the two-and-a-half years I spent in the UK & Ireland or the last nine months I’ve spent in North America, its gonna be a hell of a lot of fun.

So while some people may think that 30 is the age one should settle down and “grow up” I can assure you, that with me, its not happening any time soon.

Now if you don’t mind, its St Patrick’s Day. Time to go act like a 20 year old.


  1. Hey big boy!!

    It's with tears of joy in my eyes (not) that I read your latest post and wanted to add this, 30 years old people are still backpacking across the world, they just go to Asia or Latin America. When I was travelling in India last year, my friend and I were impressed to see that we were always the youngest in the "hostels", at 24! We met couples who had taken a sabbatical year to travel around the world, a 45 years old woman who was going through a rough time and just decided to quit her job and travel, even a young family who had came to India by car all the way from France! Trust me,these people were far from being hippies or crusty. They were just like you and I, normal people who think that there is more in life than a 9-5 job with a nice car, a nice dog and a nice house.

    In terms of career, I guess an international work experience can only be a plus (and I'm not saying that because I'm studying expatriate management!). As the economic world is getting smaller, companies are fighting for people who are willing to work abroad or have experience with all kind of different cultures. These are not the kind of skills you can easily learn in a book, you must have lived them.

    You're only 30! Learn French, go to South America, get your passeport stolen, do a threeseome with brazilians girls, save the world and THEN.. we'll talk about settling....

    who knows where...

    On se croise bientôt!


  2. Cheers for the feedback "Mimi" ;-)

    I like all of that advice. Learning French, and going to South America are definitely on the cards. Certainly wont be doing those by getting a "real" job at home.

    I like your style!