Leah: So – you’re a 63-year old dude hopping planes. Why now?
Pete: The whole “travel culture” has changed so much. When I was a kid it was so rare for people to travel for pleasure the way they do now. Now it’s the norm. Everyone knows someone who’s living abroad; backpacking the world; doing something big and notable.
I’m 63 years old so yes – I do feel a sense of “I need to do this now while I still can.” So I’m doing it, and I’m glad that I am. That said, I think this whole phenomenon of living in the moment can be a bit overrated. I think there’s this pressure on young people – and people in general – to immediately (and constantly) live their life to the fullest. And often travelling is grouped in with that. But the thing is no – I didn’t always want to travel. My interests changed as I got older and that’s probably the case for a lot of people. You don’t have to do something just because it’s the hot thing that everyone’s doing now. Just do what interests you and if in 10, 20, 30 years you decide you want to do something that’s great – do it then. You didn’t ‘miss out’ by not doing it sooner.
Leah: As a so-called young person I can attest to that idea – Society IS obsessed with living in the moment. I never feel like I’m doing enough; like I’ve done enough. I’m paranoid about wasting these moments we’re supposed to epically leverage at all times. And so often that means you enjoy NOTHING because you’re worried about whether or not you’re enjoying it enough – enjoying it the way you should be.
Pete: It’s an interesting thing because on one hand time is limited. You can’t replace it. So, there’s something to be said for using it in ways you want to use it. But I guess that’s the other thing – there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy your time. Everyone enjoys time differently and that’s fine.
I’m going on a tangent now, but I do think social media has enhanced this pressure. I mean, even in my day we’ve always been competitive. We’ve always wanted to be as good as our neighbours – to have what they had and be as successful as they seemed to be. I think that’s innate human instinct. But I think it’s become heightened recently because we never used to be this constantly, obsessively aware of how everyone else was living their life.
It’s this whole idea you have to do things to the max. You can’t just work out anymore, you have to work out in the hardest, best, latest and greatest way. There’s always a new ‘thing’ that you’re either doing right or not doing right, and it’s like we can’t just do anything anymore with it becoming a competition.
And hey – I don’t want to sound like a crotchety old man. I don’t know if this is all good or bad, it’s just different. Constantly posting what you’re doing – it wasn’t like this before. You were never this constantly aware of what everyone else was doing and thus weren’t as constantly attuned to what you yourself “should” be doing, eating, thinking, etc. It’s weird, these constant updates to your Instagram feed, thread, whatever you call it.
Pete: Right – so these constant updates to your “feed” mean the line between play and non-play is so blurred. It’s like, you can’t just enjoy something to enjoy it anymore. You have to enjoy something because that’s who you are – that’s the image you want to portray.
Leah: Right! It’s this added layer of stress that you have to be something specific – which is empowering in some ways but overwhelming in others. But okay – circling back to the original thought about maximizing your time. On the other hand, this idea of utilizing time can be inspiring when you don’t get too in your head about it. Like, I think my obsession with making the most of my time has led me to do a lot of cool shit.
Pete: Yes – at the same time, there IS something to be said for actually doing things. You can always, always come up with excuses not to do something – such as travel. You shouldn’t spend the money; shouldn’t take time off work; it’s too close to the holidays; it’s too far from the holidays. There’s always a reason not to go. And admittedly yes, I probably did listen to those reasons for a long time. And it wasn’t until I was in Thailand last year when I realized that this kind of ‘not the norm’ travel was actually quite doable/attainable. I mean, we’ve gone on a number of family trips. I’ve travelled for work. I’ve travelled for fun. But I’d never seriously considered the idea that I could buy a backpack and do the whole ‘off the beaten path’ thing. For a long time I’ve wanted to go to Machu Picchu – and in Thailand I felt like, for the first time, this is something I would actually still do in my lifetime. I would go to Peru. And here I am!
Leah: Here you are indeed. Cerveza?