She Asked Me When I’d Settle Down.

I sat down for brunch at a beautiful seaside pasta restaurant in Brazil, with a new friend. She’s travelled the world and also been through the transformative process that everyone who has lived abroad knows. That’s why I was stunned when she asked me a question I’m no stranger to, but I have never heard from a fellow traveller. She asked when I’d “Settle Down”.

Settle down Wateef

I told her that if by “Settle Down” she meant that I was able to fill my life with glorious adventures around the world, live debt-free, and spend my time in the company of women who enjoy savage men, then sure. I settled down years ago.

Then my mind took a more grim, somber tone. I explained to her that for most of the men I know, or have read about through the ages, “settling down” was usually defined as one, some, or all the following:

  • Waking up next to a woman who you love, but know doesn’t respect you the way she once had because you’d lost your fire and become domesticated.
  • Going downstairs to have cereal with children that you love, and that love you unconditionally.  While you still carry resentment because no one in society or your family was ever completely truthful about the emotional and financial hardships that children bring.
  • Opening the garage door to a house that is worth less and less every year as you step into a car that is simply a miniature representation of the same thing.  Both things that you were told you needed as signs of “maturity”.  A lie that unfolds itself in short order.
  • Working +40 hours a week in a job that will never give you fair compensation for your hard work and dedication because you chose a “safe” career field.
  • Not having the courage to embrace the pain of changing the things in life they don’t like, starting with themselves, every day.

As a very, very young man, I made the decision to live a different life. Because of it, I have lost a lot of friends.

I lose more every year.

It becomes more and more uncomfortable when I talk to guys who chose the traditional, and so-called safe life. When men I’ve known for years boast about being promoted after years of toil and follow it up with questions about what I have accomplished I talk about everything in this picture.  We have less and less in common every year as I watch the light in my friend’s eyes go out slowly.

It’s like watching a runt puppy being strangled by a cruel master that only wants the strongest, best, and brightest.

It’s painful for us both because we are all still so very young but have chosen paths that are results of decisions we made a long, long time ago.  Most of my friends that come to me to talk about life while asking me to mentor them on how to get out of the “rat race” still don’t have the courage to do it.  So instead of watching me go forward, they choose to slowly drop out of touch.


If what I wrote helps, send $5 in BitCoin to this address.

It’ll buy me coffee to fuel my mind while I write!





YusefWateef (at) Gmail (dot) com


  1. Pingback: She Asked Me When I’d Settle Down. |
    • YusefWateef

      I spent some time reading things other travellers write about their adventures. A lot of us talk about how hard it is on our families, and that it limits romantic endeavours. I just haven’t seen anyone talk about how it may hurt the relationships we have had with longtime friends.


  2. Melanie Peters

    This topic is so relevant in the community of travelers. It’s very hard for most people to imagine living a lifestyle that seems to be so unpredictable and unstable because you simply choose to exist in surroundings that are unfamiliar to you. There’s obviously nothing wrong with living a more predictable lifestyle, especially when children are involved. Stability will always outweigh other plans when it comes to parenting. But as 26 year old woman from America, I value a sense of adventure and discovery. I enjoy immersing myself in foreign languages and cultures. Thankfully, the people in my life are very supportive but I can understand how former friendships would have the potential to drift because there might not be as much common ground because of the changes in our lifestyles. I think it’s best to make an effort to not simply exist in the world but to really live and expand your international connections and dimensions. Having a bit of wanderlust is very healthy. Traveling is much more valuable than material possessions in my opinion. The memories created and sensitivities learned from experiencing other cultures will never grow stale in our minds. I guess that’s what keeps the wanderlust in us alive. As far as settling down is concerned, I think it’s possible to find someone who loves to travel and wants to live with the same passion for life that you have.


  3. retreatswithrenee

    This is a fascinating topic in the travel world. As a 40 y/o single traveler, I have thought about this also and currently revisiting this topic. I believe the traditional settling down can work for some, but not everyone, at the same time I believe in another type of settling down, one in which you can have a family and travel together with. I met a family in India back in 2010 with a baby in a stroller. I sat down with them and asked them about traveling with a child. They made it sound so simple and easy they said it is the same as if you travel alone but just with a child that you care for. They were also world travelers. They just had to make sure they had everything they needed for the child as well as back up securities in place in case of emergencies, but they did not let a child stop them and they felt the traveling with the child made their family unit stronger as it required much trust and communication. If I find my partner, hoping that he has that adventurous spirit as I, I would definitely continue to travel as a family. I could not see myself “settling down” in the traditional sense.

    As for friends, I have been able to maintain friendships and earn more. My friends from home love to hear my stories. Our conversations have definitely changed as I am not up to date with the Kardashians and whatever else is going on. They love to hear about my adventures and most which they could have done as me. Now, I have felt more like a stranger within my family since traveling and need to see how that can be rectified. We shall see what happens.


  4. Richard Ranney

    … you’ll settle when you are ready – and that time is not in your control. It will happen as your construct comes into balance with the non-predictable world about you. You will flow with, rebel against and or counter life’s happenings until you sophisticate into more functional levels of acceptance. Sophistication, aging, to mature, may be defeated, would become a “loser…” all different ways of describing what happens in our lives as we “travel the road”. It has taken me a long time – longer than most for I am now in my eightieth year. Loving it, hating it, trying to explain it, reminiscing, finding anger, finding new levels of enjoyment… what a complex path it has been, is, and will continue to be. There is a notion that has given me peace, well – a level of peace in which I find a comfort and contentment, and that comes from meditation utilizing a prayer. It’s just a bit unusual for an atheist, as myself, is called the “Serenity Prayer”. …my experience only.


  5. Diana

    Good Evening, Hope all is well.
    I’ve been receiving emails about your latest posts and have been wanting to email you saying hello.
    Every time I see a new post it reminds me of how much I’d love to travel if I could and how I missed out on the conversation we were supposed to have before you left Vegas.
    You might not remember me so well, I’m the girl from LV. Haha.


  6. Maria Haukilahti

    There are only a few people who have to courage to make strong decisions AND stick with them. However, heavy decision might have unpredictable consequences. I have come across studies and interviews of incurably-ill patients and their thoughts of life and their past “mistakes”. Most of them regretted that they had spent too many hours working and not enough time with the family and friends and doing things that you truly loved. Well, in your case, you are doing exactly what you love. You are also familiar with the noticeable consequences of your choices, but please, be careful with the hidden ones too.


  7. Ray Soselitemedia

    I was in a long term relationship, and my girlfriend wanted us to settle down and get married. I kept saying no because deep down I knew that marriage to the wrong person is a dream killer. In fact, women have everything to gain, and men have everything to lose in a marriage, especially in America. The laws do not favor us. And because I have a strong sense of adventure, settling down is the furthest thing from my mind. I have two best friends who settled down and got married. Both have more than two kids now, and still growing their families. Our differences are growing farther apart by the year, and I hardly hear from them now. But I knew this was coming and I have accepted it a long time ago. I have peace in knowing that as I continue to travel and network with like minded ppl, new experiences and friendships will be forged.


    • YusefWateef

      Thank you for sharing that with us. While generally I disagree with absolute statements like “and men have everything to lose in a marriage,” I have seen quite a few of my friends suffer enough for me to understand why you may feel that way. I haven’t had anything tragic happen to me when a relationship has run its course, but I have never had any delusions about who/what I am. That went a long way towards me having a clear view of who each individual woman is.

      You’ve stirred thoughts! I need to flesh out a few ideas, you may have just inspired me to pen a piece on that sentence alone!


  8. Pingback: Kiratiana: Storyteller, Journalist, Techie! | Yusef Wateef, Adventurer!
  9. Linda

    I understand that many people (OK, maybe even the majority) go for the “standard” or expected lifestyle. I guess I just always assumed that those who chose differently were happy about it. Or did I misunderstand – you’re happy with your choice, just saddened by the loss of your old connections, is that it?
    I’m one of the ones who chose the “safe” path. Although it didn’t work out the way I would have liked, I still respect it and part of me kinda knee-jerked at first when I started reading your article. Like, what’s wrong with that??? LOL! But then I read on.
    Allow me to be trite for a minute and state the obvious – there’s advantages and disadvantages to both styles of living. I agree with one commenter who suggested that the traveling lifestyle, accompanied by a like-minded partner, is probably as close to the best of both worlds as possible.
    Do your thing, young brother! Just because your old buddies can’t relate doesn’t mean they don’t still love you.


  10. DonnaTruly

    I did not expect you to end on that sentiment. Is the satisfaction from the life you’ve chosen worth the pain of the friendships you’ve lost? Can you find a middle ground that allows you to maintain the lifestyle you desire, while allowing you to be close to family and friends as well?


    • YusefWateef

      It’s 100% absolutely worth the pain of losing friends. I have seen what happens to men who compromise, and settle for less than their life ambitions. Still, I make a consistent and concerted effort to remain connected to the family and friends I have known for quite a while. It’s hard because we are losing the common ground that once kept us together.

      Sidenote: Donna writes quite a bit of insightful prose, pulled from her global experiences at If anyone hasn’t seen it, go take a look.


  11. Lotus Brainchild

    You. Sir. Are an Asshole.

    That was my initial thought. Then I considered the rest of the content and found interesting points to utilize in my upcoming project. Discussions and shit.

    Interesting logic though.


  12. curiouscece

    I really love your definition of settling down. I feel that everyone should have and try to live according to their own definition of having a successful life rather than what society tells us what’s right, whether that is a more standard lifestyle or a more unpredictable one. Over the years, what I’ve found interesting is that some people get even angry when you aren’t living life according to their terms or society’s cookie cutter standards! There also are some folks out there that also want to belittle you if you don’t own the materialistic items that you mentioned that we are “supposed” to gain as a sign of maturity. Someone will always have something to say even if you are living a more expected lifestyle!

    I think that losing friends due to different lifestyles can be tough, but then again, as we grow, so does our friend circles and connections. Who knows – to SOME of your old friends, maybe you’ll finally become the kick in the pants that they need to finally live out their dreams with their loved ones.


  13. throughtheeeyesofmeinspire

    I enjoyed reading what you had to say. I found it to entertaining and true to a certain extent. Yes, I do believe people play it safe in life. However, that’s not a bad thing that people do that. Although, it is my dream to travel for a living and get married one day, I don’t feel people who are “settling down” are less happier than people who decide to travel for a living or follow what their passionate about. No matter what lifestyle you choose, you will be sacarficing something. You just have to be okay with the sacarfices that comes along with the journey you decided.

    Some people want to get a full time job, get married, and have children. While others want to travel the world and become entrepreneurs. There is no right or wrong path. As long as you find joy in the life you live, that’s all that matters. I say joy because that’s something that stays with us no matter what life throws your way, you’ll be okay. Whereas, happiness comes and goes. It’s an unstable emotion.

    Also, no matter what you choose in life, sometimes friendships fade. There is levels to life. You can be single and have friends who are married. You can have children and have friends who don’t. There will always be a point in your life where some friendships will fade and others won’t. You’ll meet new people wherever you go.

    Overall, this was a good post and I enjoyed reading it 🙂


    • YusefWateef

      Thank you for sharing your insight and take on what I wrote. I agree that things comes and go in cycles, and its impossible to predict or stop the ups and downs.

      If you ever decide to dig in and expand on what you’ve written here, I would be glad to have you as a guest writer!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: 40/40 Vision: A Retrospective. | Yusef Wateef, Adventurer!
  15. Water Cannon Boy

    People group and bond in their endeavors and in their complaints. The adventurous, more mobile will drift away from friends more settled not only from not sharing as much of the pleasures of travel stories vs pleasures of soccer moms watching kids grow stories. But also through lack of comparative down side of the routine of the suburbs stories.
    All the people with “rather be at the beach” in their twitter profiles tend to not want to be around people who go to the beach on a somewhat frequent basis. They’d rather be around other people who say “rather be at the beach”


  16. p. ray

    Settling down can me a lot of things to different people. I am not sure if I have “settled down” by your definition (most obviously because I am single and don´t have kids) but the fact I have found some stable work, a nice little house (I rent not own), and the real killer “a dog”, kind of shows to me that there is a part of me that wants to just find my place in the sun to cultivate and grow in.

    I still see the world as my playground, and have allowed myself to be in a position where my line of work and the friendships I make (and even relationships I get into) never infringe on my ability to just get up and explore, but the “settling” part (which someone above mentioned has to happen naturally and not in a forced manner) also means I am happy in my surroundings now and wouldn´t want to pick up and start from zero somewhere else. Shit, I may even buy some furniture this year LOL

    Nice post, though. If anything it is an alert for everyone to measure where they are in their own life and measure their own definitions of “settled” and “unsettled” and make the right moves to get themselves to a place where they feel more aligned with their heart and mind´s definition of such.


    • YusefWateef

      Thanks for the words, I like the way your phrase “just find my place in the sun to cultivate and grow in.” I am rapidly approaching maturity, so I may look for a warm spot in the sun for myself!


  17. Pingback: Creating The Ocean You Swim In: The Crayola Edition | Actionable Adventures!
  18. Anonymous

    A different perspective. I think people grow apart from old friends, regardless if you’re a traveler or not. I feel like he would’ve had a similar experience with friendships had he “settled down” because of his different mindset.

    Plus, travel isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Most like stability, comfort, and familiarity. 🤷🏿‍♀️

    Honestly, I like dislike perspectives like these because it paints two polarizing pictures. Either you’re settled and miserable or traveling and happy, and both extremes miss out on all the gray nuances in between. You can be leveling up at home with a family, house, and job and miserable overseas.

    Also, the part about the depreciating home made me go hmm. Unless you bought a home in certain cities during the height of the bubble, which is a small percentage of homeowners, this shouldn’t be the case.


    • YusefWateef

      Travel is certainly not for everyone. Even though it was for me, my friendships haven’t settled down at all. I wrote, quite specifically, in the context of a man’s outlook and relationship with women.

      What you said about Houses is true, I profited from the financial meltdown.

      Thanks for your insight!


      • Anonymous

        Hmm, I don’t feel like you addressed a man’s relationship with women much. Like it was like two Snapchats. I felt like the post had the potential to say and expound further about friendships, relationships, and living non-traditional lifestyles while traveling but it cut off abruptly.

        My issue with the vast majority of these kind of posts about traveling, working abroad, and living differently is that they often paint an elitist view of I’m better than those regular folks because I’m living the dream and not “settling down”. It’d be different if it were told from the perspective of an equally fulfilling alternative instead of looking down on others for their choices of not choosing the travel path.

        Keep it real about the pros and cons and realities of constantly moving or life abroad. It doesn’t come without it’s heartaches and difficulties.

        Lastly, all people settle down to some extent, but it just looks different for different folk. There is no shame in stability.


I want to know what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s