“Let’s quit our jobs and travel around the world, sweetheart”, I said to my husband while my daughter was crying in the background and the molokheya was boiling on the stove, my hair half up half down in an up/down do that represents a new style that has no name.
“Sure, honey, we will then find an Arab Prince who is willing to pay our bills while we post photos of our adventures on Instagram for a living.”
I keep on seeing these posts on Facebook. I read the comments where so many people agree with the concept and I feel like the village idiot! I am intrigued to understand how I would be able to afford this whole “Eat, Pray, Love” adventure without a full-time job. I mean, who wants to be a corporate slave? Nobody! Still, who wants to be a free, yet penniless, slave? Nobody as well! I sometimes, of course, wish that the empty deep freezer box that sits in our reception at home waiting for the garbage man to take it down would magically turn into an ATM and start dispensing cash like there is no tomorrow. However, I stretch my legs as far as my le7af allows, and this le7af of mine is very much stretched! There are three prespectives on this matter, theirs, theirs and mine!
“I am intrigued to understand how I would be able to afford this whole “Eat, Pray, Love” adventure without a full-time job.”
Theirs No. 1: Whenever I get into controversy about a heated topic, there is always a perspective that is 100% conservative and a perspective that is 100% leftist or “shemal” as we Egyptians say! There is the party that wants to work 9 to 5 jobs, drive to and from work thinking about work and go home to crash on the couch like a couch batatsaya until the next day. This party will say that the real investment is real estate, cash in the bank, gold bars and Uncle Scrooge’s safe. This party will not travel around the world although they can afford it, because they want their kids to go to the 100,000LE a year school and pay the monthly installments of the twin/duplex/quadro/fankoosh villa they bought. Well, if they are happy and not complaining about stress, good for them! Some people are a better-oiled machine than others.
Theirs No. 2: Now, the other party, the #TakeMeBack squad. They are too cool for school. I mean, if I can afford to travel around the world and go to a different country every couple of months after quitting my job, what’s not to like? Exotic fruits, mysterious mountains and dangerous excursions, how fabulous! And the best part there is that you do not even need a job to pay for these trips. Please refer to the aforementioned Arabian Prince charming, or the deep freezer box for funding. I think this exact scenario is what’s wrong with Social Media! It creates a certain concept that you are so desperate to associate yourself with, a concept that makes you feel cool and refined without having to work hard to reach this state of body and mind. I want to live inside the photo, I want to be the photo and I sure want to afford the gain without the pain! Alas, reality check: you have to work hard to be able to play hard.
“Please refer to the aforementioned Arabian Prince charming, or the deep freezer box for funding. I think this exact scenario is what’s wrong with Social Media!”
My perspective: We live in a highly competitive community, one that assigns labels like “mean machine”. To be able to make it in a fast-paced competitive reality like ours, we need to step up our game. If we want to afford fancy travels, we must make money to afford these travels. It is no shame to say that we “have to” work. I want to believe that we are past the naming and shaming era of trying to show that a working woman does not need the money and is just filling her spare time. I work to afford fancy stuff, being married or not, it makes a difference to buy your own stuff and to afford your luxuries from your own pocket and that includes, but is not limited to, travel, shopping and the fancy lifestyle that comes with a healthy blend of many things. I personally want to believe the photos which every workaholic I know is posting and saying that they want to quit their job and travel around the world. I also want to ask: “then why don’t you?” and the honest answer is: “because nobody travels around the world for free!”
Featured image from the amazing photo series by Murad Osmann.