A lot of you older folks are probably thinking, what is this guide, what is this madness? I want to runaway, but not like this. Admittedly, my guides are on the extreme side. However, no matter how old you are, you can runaway too! You can pick up, change your career and change your life! All you have to do is believe and have the courage to do so. I once met a 65 year old Irish man who, 10 years earlier, had decided to embark on the backpacking trip he had never taken in his youth. He was one of the most enlightened people I have ever met.
In fact, the dogma of Hinduism actually promotes running away. It posits that after 20-30years of societal obligations, it is now time to withdraw from society, and seek the true meaning of life. And that this requires a pilgrimage out into the world or into nature. According to Houston Smith, on Hindu conceptions of retirement, “Must the human spirit be indentured to society forever? The time has come to begin ones true adult education, to discover who one is and what life is about.” At the extreme, this implies that one must completely forgo the ego and live as a beggar. On the other hand, it can be interpreted as simply a removal from ones society in order to better comprehend the self. So, if Hinduism rings true for you, than your golden years are when you are actually meant to travel.
If you’re, according to Sinatra, “young at heart,” open to adventure, tired of the rat race, and enjoy the teachings of Hinduism, it may just be time for you to runaway too. In this guide, I will present you with a series of runaway travel options that range the spectrum from the extreme to the extremely comfortable.
1) Become Homeless: Homeless!? What? This reaction is understandable. Homelessness is a word with a rather negative connotation. Our whole lives we have looked down on the homeless as failures or weak. While this may be true for most homeless people, some are the antithesis of this. The latter are people who are well educated and sober but due to an inner calling or terrible accident, have decided to resign from society. For instance, one man I met lost his entire family in a car accident. So distraught over this, he preferred a life of solitude and contemplation. He is another extremely enlightened man. Practically speaking, the best place for you to become homeless is the south of France. The climate is beautiful, the bread and cheese are compliments of the state and there is a great tent community along the beach. More, the French government will provide you with, regardless of your nationality, 500 euro, deposited monthly into a special bankcard. So, if you’re broke and don’t mind camping, going homeless in southern France may be the path for you.
2) Work A Yacht: This sounds more like it right? If you’ve ever wanted to travel the high seas of the Caribbean and Mediterranean, working on a luxurious private yacht may be your ideal. There are a few different positions where age is not an issue. Depending on your experience, you can apply as an engineer, chef or maid. All of which pay considerably and provide you with free room and board. The best places to seek out this line of work are the harbors of Spain, Southern France and Ft. Lauderdale. For more information, refer to the following runaway guide, “How To Work On A Luxury Yacht.”
3) Volunteer: Two of the most accommodating and well known agencies are the Peace Corps and United Nations Volunteer program. The peace corps generally consists of recent college graduates but has many older professionals as well. Basically, it is a 27 month commitment. You can pick what region of the world you would like to go to but can’t pick the specific country. They will provide you with a stipend and language courses and at the end of your service they will grant you 6500$ to help you get back on your feet. Another great volunteer program is the United Nations Volunteers. The UNV is more oriented towards professionals. Unlike employment in the UN, you won’t need an advanced university degree. So if you have experience in any relevant field and believe in the goals of the UN, you may want to consider signing up with the UNV .
4) Finally, you can always go backpacking. There really is no age limit. Whether you’re 18, fresh out of high school or 65, there are no prejudices among travelers. They are a community of people from all backgrounds, cultures, nationalities and ages who share a single passion. Travel. If you ride a motorcycle or row crew, then you are probably already familiar with this. When you are flying down the 101 freeway in California at 101 mph, you can’t help but smile and wave to other bikers. The freedom and euphoria is shared. And the same goes for travelers. So don’t think you are too old for backpacking or worry that you won’t fit in. You are never too old and you and your life story will be a source of intrigue for other travelers, I guarantee it.
These are just a few of the options that lay waiting for you. If you have the courage to chose one, you will surely have a blast and, perhaps, even discover a deeper sense of self. It will be frightening at first but it will quickly get easier. So why not take a chance, break the mold, do away with conceptions of age, and runaway too!?!?