The Struggle of Wanting Conflicting Things

The other day I was walking around with Andy, enjoying the nice weather, when I saw an incredibly cute dog. It was a little Yorkie, might’ve even been a puppy still, and it had a little bow, like a ponytail on its head. It was soooo cute!

And you know what? It made me cry.

Now, I cry easily anyway, but this was even a bit strange to me. The desire to get a puppy is so strong that it’s actually painful sometimes. I cried looking at that adorable dog because I want one of my own so badly.

But I know it’s not the right thing for me.

Why I’m not getting a puppy

wanting conflicting things, like dog vs travel - Luna
Gigi’s dog Luna – isn’t she so cute?!

Even though I know people who travel with their dogs, like Gigi who travels full time and works from the road with her dog, it makes travel difficult. I’m not ready to compromise on where, how, and how often I travel right now.

I need to be able to hop on a plane and go somewhere new, and having a dog would change that. It would limit the destinations if I were to travel with a dog, and it would limit the length of the trip if I left the dog behind.

I also think I’m not responsible enough for a dog. Many of the reasons I don’t want a dog are similar to reasons I don’t want children. I don’t want to have to clean up after it, teach it how to behave properly, or take it out for walks several times a day in cold or rainy weather. Ok maybe that last one only applies to dogs.

So for now, I will remain dog-free. Maybe someday the desire to have a dog will overtake my desire to see the world, but right now the scales are still tipped in favor of travel. Even if cute puppies everywhere continue to taunt me.

Why we’re planning an easier winter trip

wanting conflicting things, like new exotic locations vs an easier winter spot
Leon, Nicaragua – one of many stops on our winter 2017 trip

I want to preface this by saying nothing is set in stone. It’s far too early to be booking anything for our annual winter escape, but we are talking about it. And so far it’s looking like another winter in southern Europe instead of more far-flung destinations.

A few years back, we spent almost 2 months in Southeast Asia. Last winter and the winter before that, we went to Central America. For a long time, we kept talking about going to Vietnam for a month in early 2018. But I don’t think our hearts are in it right now.

I want to travel somewhere new and warm in the winter, but I also want an easier, more comfortable place this time around. Andy is 3 for 3 on getting sick in developing countries, so the idea of putting him in the line of fire a 4th time isn’t super appealing. He also hates to fly, so it might be nice to go somewhere within train distance, even if it’s several days on trains.

We also want to be able to work on some projects we have in our heads, and that’s hard to do when we’re on a whirlwind trip through several cities in a month. But if we’re based in one place for a month (or longer?) we’ll have time to enjoy that city while still having relatively normal workweeks. And we could take day trips or weekend trips.

So we have several potential spots on our radar right now. We might go back to Sevilla. Or we might choose one of the other 2 or 3 places on the list. Southern Europe isn’t exactly hot in the winter, but it sure is warmer than Berlin, and the sun stays out a little longer.

There’s even a little part of me that wants to skip it and stay home this winter. Because sometimes it sucks to sleep on uncomfortable beds or deal with super short showers because the apartment only has a 5 liter water heater (true story). But I know I’ll be completely miserable in cold, dark, gloomy Berlin in the winter, so off we go.

How do you find the compromise?

wanting conflicting things and the struggle to focus on how I want my life to look
Sevilla, Spain – possibly our #2 choice for winter 2018

I seem to have a lot of these conflicting desires lately. I want it all, even if it’s physically impossible to have it all. Reminding myself that I can have some of it some of the time helps a little. But that compromise is tough!

It’s about finding the balance between what I want right now and what is best for me long term. It’s not always easy to see that, because I want a dog right now but I also want to travel right now. But I can change my mind at any time when it comes to the travel. If I get a dog right now, I’m committed.

If our hearts are pushing us towards a more local winter, that’s the direction we should go this year. The time we spend working instead of taking an entire month off could make a big difference in the long run. We can go to Vietnam another time.

But it’s not as easy as it appears as I write it out here. The struggle is real. I have a hard time deciding which thing is the best choice and focusing on what I actually want my life to look like.

Not what other people think my life should look like, or even what I think my life should like. I have to remember to go with what I actually want, what brings me joy, and what is good for me. It’s tough, but I’m getting there.

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