Why I Won’t Settle Down (But I Will Settle Up)

settle down

A white picket fence is not for me. Photo: Steven Guzzardi/flickr; Edited: Jessie on a Journey.

Fact: Every 2.3 seconds, a nomad is asked the same harrowing question: Aren’t you going to settle down soon?

Well, okay, I’m not sure that’s an actual statistic; but if my life is representative of the traveler population then I’d say it’s pretty darn close. No matter how happy I am, how much my blog grows or how many wonderful experiences I have around the world, there are still those who don’t think I could possibly be happy without a ring on my finger, a mortgage and baby bump before 30.

This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Love Is Powerful

Let me start by saying I 100% do believe in love. There is nothing more moving, more powerful and more fulfilling than finding someone who you truly connect with. Having someone on my team, a life partner I can “do life with” as I like to say, is something important to me that I do hope to find.

I’ve had some really wonderful boyfriends up until now who tried as hard as they could to understand the whole digital nomad thing and my intense wanderlust. Some even came on trips with me. While I love traveling solo I’ll admit these instances made me realize how amazing it is to share new experiences on the road with someone you care about.

Traveling with a partner made me realize how #special these instances were. Click To Tweet
settle down

Couple on the road. Photo: Tord Sollie/flickr.

Yes, dating a non-traveler as a traveler can be very rewarding, but as I near my 29th birthday as a single woman I’m beginning to think that to truly “settle down” and live my best life I need to “settle up” with someone who not only understands my lifestyle, but shares it.

I don't want to #settle down. I want to settle up. #life Click To Tweet

Sharing Values

For many when dating, it’s important to have the same values. Typically these include things like wanting/not wanting children, generosity, being spontaneous vs controlled, or monogamy. Travel often falls into the shared interests category vs shared values; but what about for someone whose entire life and career revolves around globetrotting? Doesn’t it then become a value?

I’m starting to realize that, at least for me, it does.

The American Dream

I’ve said this before, but for me a white picket fence, a yard with a tire swing, a dog and two children sound more like hell on earth than the perfect life. Having a steady daily routine aside for weekends and two weeks per year when I go on vacation is not the life I’ve created for myself. That’s not to say it’s a bad life — for many, this is the American Dream. For this American, however, I dream of a life of impulse, of working for myself, of doing what people think is impossible and crazy, and of waking up in the arms of someone I love on new shores.

No white picket fences for me. Here's why. #life Click To Tweet

Me, enjoying every moment as fully as possible

Sharing My World

When I tell people this I’m often told that I’m afraid of commitment. I don’t think this is true at all, as I’m fiercely devoted to the lifestyle I set out to create for myself in 2011. When I graduated college with my BA/MA in Communication I knew I did not want a 9-to-5 job, and that I definitely did not want to give up traveling. So, after seeing other bloggers making a living off their websites and realizing that you didn’t need to be Rick Steve’s to make money travel writing, I signed up for an online blogging class — similar to the ones I teach with Writers.com — and pursued the craft aggressively. Today, I’m extremely proud of the little empire I’ve built and am excited to see how it grows in the future.

I’m definitely not ready to give it up, and I don’t think I ever will be. What I am ready for is someone to share it with.

What Is Settling Up?

This is what settling down would mean for me: finding someone special to share my life with, to travel with and to find new cities around the world to stay put in for six months to a year per time. To immerse ourselves in new cultures, sample new foods, have new adventures and look back on it all when we’re 100 and say “Damn, we really knew how to do life.”

I want us to look back and say 'Damn, we really knew how to do #life!' Click To Tweet


Enjoying the view at Lake Bled in Slovenia 

I guess for me settling down would mean settling up, as I’ve decided to call it. Not staying put, but staying on the move, appreciating the fruits of life but never fully quenching our hunger. Creating a path, but one that’s always changing. Deciding on a future full of surprises. And, to be honest, never really settling.

What does it mean to settle down to you? Please share in the comments below! 


Going Against Societal Norms: Following My Dreams Instead Of The Crowd [Blog Inspiration]

Life is a Trip: the transformative magic of travel by Judith Fein [Great Reads]

Recommended: RoamRight Travel Insurance [Travel Safety]



  1. I really loved this post. I turned 30 last week and instead of settling down, I am 3 weeks away from quitting my job (for the second time) to travel the World. This time I’m determined to make it permanent and start making my own money so I can live the life I want to. And my family, friends, current colleagues all think I’m mental. But that only spurs me on more to make it a reality haha!

    1. @Stacy: I totally feel you on the friends thinking you’re mental thing. I was in the same boat when I first started. My family has laid off mostly since they now see I can live on the blog. But what’s great is once you really get going there’s a HUGE community of bloggers that are out there doing the same thing and supporting each other 🙂

  2. Nice post Jessie. I really admire your spirit. I hope you find someone who will understand the path you’ve chosen and will be willing to go with every step of the way. Happy Travels!

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