The Problem with Waiting for Someday

Last Updated on September 17, 2018 by Natasha Amar


When it comes to the kind of people who’re curious about the world outside their front doors, hometowns and cultures, there are only two types; those who go and those who don’t.

The thought processes and motivations of those who go are well known, thanks to numerous viral pieces around the internet. Fearless, free and occasionally even reckless, they walk the world, sometimes embracing their labels of ‘minimalist’, ‘selfish’, ‘hippie’, ‘vagabond’ and ‘digital nomad’ but often indifferently shrugging them off like stray autumn leaves on their shoulder.

Then there’s the kind that doesn’t go. The kind that says they’re waiting; for a better time, for someone to go with, for a certain level of financial stability or for their children to settle down. They truly do intend to venture into the world and believe that they would miss out on many invaluable life experiences if they were never to travel. In their minds, it’s just a question of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.

Here’s the fundamental problem with this belief:

We don’t know how many minutes, days, weeks or years we have left.

Well, of course we don’t know, you say, nobody does but that doesn’t mean we expect the worst. The general human condition is to go through each day working hard at things that don’t necessarily make us happy in order to prime the course of our lives, in the hope that someday, we’ll finally be able to paint our grand masterpiece.

Of course, this way of living life, or rather existing makes one critical assumption; that someday is a supposedly better day in the future and when it comes we’re going to be ready for it.

So as we prep and prime each day, believing that the harder we slog through tasks that are both menial and inconsequential to the condition of our happiness, the greater will be our reward for endurance, we fail to recognize an important pattern that we begin to adopt.

It’s one where we begin to postpone events that make us happy to a future time when we believe we’ll actually deserve that happiness.

Sort of like how we were treated as children, ‘If you finish your homework, I’ll take you out for ice-cream’, except that the tasks we’re telling ourselves to get through are much bigger in terms of the effect they have on our lives than boring math homework.

It’s not uncommon to hear things like, “I’m going to work hard, climb the corporate ladder for the next ten years and when I’m financially strong, I’ll see the world in style”. There are two aspects to this that I find it hard to wrap my head around. One, there’s something really wrong about postponing the fulfillment of a dream to a time so far into the future and two, it’s overly optimistic to believe that other variables (such as poor health, debt, other commitments) won’t come into play in the waiting period leading to further delay or a complete abandonment of the dream.

Then there’s the classic, “I’ve got no one to go with”. If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard that one, I’d take all that cash and book a trip to Antarctica (it’s expensive, I hear). Of course, what’s really being said here is, “I don’t want to feel and look lonely. I don’t want to dine alone in public. And I definitely don’t want to be the person people stop on the street to take a couple or family photo of them.”

To someone who really wants to see the world, the minimal cost of ‘looking lonely’ versus the obviously greater benefit of having his or her mind blown by spectacular landscapes, new cultures, exotic cuisines and a wealth of experiences should be a no-brainer.

At this point, if you’re thinking, ‘Well, travel is not a priority for everyone and that’s okay’, I must say that I agree and this isn’t just about the travel dream, it’s about anything that makes us happy but doesn’t necessarily come with a financial reward. For obvious reasons, it’s easier for me to use the travel context.

Thanks to the internet, it’s now common knowledge that we don’t need to be trust fund babies to travel. We don’t need a whole lot of money saved up before we embark on long-term travel and there are ways to earn while we do it. For those of us who don’t like the idea of a permanently nomadic life, or have jobs that we love, there are plenty of ways to balance our other priorities with travel and ensure we see as much of the world as often as we like. Some people have found ways to travel while they pay off their debt by traveling slowly and working while they travel. So, it can be done.

My problem is with the belief that we don’t deserve to live our happiest moments in the present.

Almost like it’s just too good to happen to us right away and we must wait for some ‘right’ time in the future. So we weave a whole lot of conditions around the core of our ultimate dream, like having an x amount of money saved up, or finding the right person to go with, and then spend a lifetime disentangling it all to get to the center.

Life isn’t just something that happens to us. Even when we’re being lazy, hesitant or less than proactive about how we want our lives to shape up, we’re actually doing something we may not always realize; we’re deliberately keeping ourselves from happiness because we believe that we can’t, or rather shouldn’t have it all. But why shouldn’t we? Why can’t we have it all, or at least try?

There is no someday. All we’ve really got is today. So let’s begin to deal with it.


What are your thoughts on waiting for someday? Please share in the comments below.

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  1. says: Bryson Fico

    Very true, sure we have to be responsible and provide for our families and help others when we can, but no one on their death bed says, “I wish I worked more.”

  2. A great post! I think we most definitely should have it all, nothing wrong with that. The thing that keeps me travelling is like you said, we don’t know how many days we’ve got and in what condition. I mean there could be an accident, I could lose a leg so then how am I going to trek in the Andes? So better do it as soon as possible! For some reason travel has always had a sense of urgency to me, and I like it!

  3. says: Ryan Biddulph

    Agreed fully Natasha 😉

    I freed myself by making uncomfortable but inspired choices regularly. One such choice was living in the moment and NOT waiting for someday whenever I felt the urge to do something cool.

    Thanks for the inspiration!


  4. These inspirational posts are exactly what I need to push me over the edge and get my family traveling! Thank you! We have plans to take off in Jan but haven’t actually put them in motion!

  5. says: Dariece

    Yes!! I love this article. There are so many excuses out there, it’s amazing. Like you said, we don’t have to be trust-fund babies to travel, there are ways to make money on the road and life the lives we choose to. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, and we’ve always just “gone for it”, sometimes, without even having a plan 🙂

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. I’ve been to the gym so I’m allowed this chocolate bar… Oh how we love to justify! What struck us when we set off on our 18 month career break (to travel) was the number of people that said to us – I’m so glad you are doing it, everyone says they’ll do it and no one does. I find that strange but maybe it’s because Craig and I were both encouraged to travel by our parents, who are not actually travellers themselves.

  7. says: Laura Lynch

    You make a good point about it not just being about travel, but about anything that makes you happy, any dream that you’re putting off for another day. I think it’s just fear of the unknown. When you’re slogging away at home, you know what to expect, but when you commit to traveling or giving up a job, etc, it can be really scary. Comfort zones are our nemesis.

  8. says: Ana O

    That taking the bull by the horns attitude can be applied toe very aspect of life, not just travel. It’s not easy, of course, but worth it!

  9. says: Sue Reddel

    Could not agree with you more. If you’re waiting for someday I’m pretty sure it will never come. I’ve seen so many seniors who wait to travel when they’ve retired they have a hard time getting around and enjoying themselves fully. There only seems like there’s never enough money or enough time to do everything but waiting means you may never get there. You have to make a conscious effort to do the things that will make your life immeasurably better. Great post!

  10. says: Jennifer

    I really enjoyed your article and could seriously relate. We decided to leave our homes and our comfort zones for a life of full-time travel about a 1 1/2 years ago. It has been easier and less expensive than I thought. I lost my father this year and I know there are many things that he didn’t get to do, for a variety of reasons. It takes courage to follow your dreams, but the rewards are endless.

    1. says: thebohochica

      It does take courage to follow your dreams and many people don’t manage to take the first step. Thanks Jennifer!

  11. What a great article and just the conversation that I was having with somebody this morning.
    And I agree. It doesn’t have to be travel. You could insert ‘take dance lessons’, ‘learn a foreign language’ or ‘write a book’ here instead

  12. Hi Natasha, thank you for a marvelous read. You are so right. So many people are putting their ideal lifes on hold with one excuse or another, I even see it on myself. It is a hard state to break out off, really, since for most of us we just have been indoctrinated from the time we were born on what is the right thing to do, even if you come out of a family of travellers like myself. They all had their lifes “sorted” before incorporating travel into it in one way or another.
    But then again, you see those people like my father who always said he wants to go to India as soon as he retires. Now he has been retired for over five years and you think he has gone? No, he now feels too old and thinks it will be to exhausting and stressfull for him to do such a journey.
    If you put off your dreams to “someday” the likelyhood you ever do it decrease by every day you wait. So as you say, lets deal with now instead of waiting for a future that may never come.

    1. says: thebohochica

      Thank you for the comment Eva! My dad’s the same, he always says he’d like to travel but always ends up putting it off for a later time- a ‘someday’.

  13. says: Jen Silver

    Some really good points here. I have been surprised, just in the short time since we launched on our own nomadic adventure, how many times people write me and say “I only wish I could do what you’re doing.” And then I look, and they often have tons of savings and/or location-independent businesses, no family ties holding them back, etc. I think it comes down to fear and/or not feeling like we deserve such abundance. It took us a few years longer to launch due to health issues, to the point where people probably DID think we were all talk and no walk. We were definitely not waiting for someday, just getting through the day-to-day in order to get going asap. And going through that extra struggle to launch has made the rewards of a traveling life extra sweet. Thanks so much for this post, you made me feel extra grateful today. Happy travels to you!

    1. says: thebohochica

      Thanks Jen! ‘I wish’ is an easy thought but going through with something that you really want to do takes real courage. The only thing that stands between an ‘I wish’ and ‘I did’ is actually taking the risk of doing it.

  14. I completely agree with you. I write about family travel and have always travelled with my kids (just as my parents always travelled with us when we were younger). I find that a lot of families want to *wait* before they travel with their children – wait until the kids are older, until they can be sure that the kids can remember the trip, until it’s *easier*. I’m firmly of the belief that you could wait forever if you wanted to but instead that you should seize the opportunity and do it now.What people also forget is that travel doesn’t have to be to far away lands, it can be to places nearby, all that matters is leaving your house and exploring what’s around you.

    1. says: thebohochica

      You could wait and wait until you’ve got no idea what you’re waiting for and see your dreams eventually fade away into nothingness. Unfortunately, far too many people let that happen.

  15. says: Renuka

    Seriously, there’s no someday as most people say….there’s only today. Well written post. I hope it encourages many people to book the long-awaited ticket to their dream.