journey of a nomadic yogi, cyclist, acupuncturist, and LGBT advocate
Taking care of our happiness vs taking care of families
There is a strong emphasis on “Filial piety” in traditional families that parents or seniors expect their children to take care of them when they grow old. This idea is deeply embedded in many cultures, and it is actually a good security to ensure the elderly is taken care of. However if the ultimate mission of everyone is to take care of your grannies until they leave the Earth, we human beings could never discover new things, they will just stay at home to take care of their parents.
Although I was very assertive about my travel back in 2011, the major hindrance was my family. They were not supportive of my decision at all, and thought I was selfish, that I did not want to take care of my family, that I was wasting my time. I understand that our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, they did not have a lot of options, there were no internet to connect them with other parts of the world. They only know how to live well in their own city, to raise up kids and wait for them to take care of them once they are old.
Here is a story of a Spanish family who resonate mine. Two months ago I met the happy clown cyclist named Alfonso in Santiago, he is currently cycling in Europe too! We are those touring cyclists who do not have a clear plan of where are we going, no need to say we have no ideas when will we go home.
Two months later I visit his family in Valencia and stayed with them for a couple of days, including my birthday!! I was really grateful that they took care of me well, almost treating me like their son Alfonso.
I asked his father if he supports his son traveling around by bikes, he answered me like this:
“Well, I started working since I was 14, raised up a family and now I am almost 60. I thought I am going to retire soon. However, the world economy is bad and young people cannot get a job easily. Therefore I have to work longer until my children settle down and find a job. My son has his rights to do whatever he wants, it is his life.”
My visits certainly stirred up some emotions especially to Alfonso’s mum, she told me that you young people can do whatever you want, and you won’t understand how much do parents miss their kids until you become a father one day! She is right!!
The morning before I left, Alfonso’s mum packed me a big lunch, and said that it reminds her the day when she farewell her son for his bike trip, she also prepared a lot of food for him to take it on the road.
Mothers are like that, although how much she doesn’t want her children to go, she still do her best to make sure we eat and wear enough in the “wild” world.
This is the dilemma of taking care of your inner happiness or taking care of your family….
I can tell you that no matter how many times I tried to explain my family the reasons I decide to travel, they NEVER understand. I used to call my grandparents more often, but everytime I can only receive negative energy, asking me when will I come back, and start blaming me or putting a lot of pressure on me. Why should I absorb all these bad energy? What I can do now is to share more about my inner feelings and things I have learned during the journey on the internet, to let them know I am HAPPY and doing something (not only wandering around).
I suppose all touring cyclists love their families, and their families love them too. However, there is a journey we have to PEDAL and EXPERIENCE , this is our fate! Try not to force us to be back, giving us support and love is what we need most!
If you really have to support your family when you are doing your bike tour, try to do some part time jobs during the winter, earn some money and start pedaling again when spring comes. Or you can develop some talent that you can work wherever you go, something’s like a graphic designers, a clown, or opening an online shop, or just start writing!!
Actually it does not only apply to cycling, but also backpacking or any kind of long term travels.
I really think it is more important to take care of your happiness. Once you find the path of happiness, you can achieve more than you believe, which include helping your families.
Do you have the dilemma of traveling and taking care of family? Share with you about your thought!!