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12 Irresponsible Things You Should Do as a Traveler Before Having Kids and Settling Down

by Matt Hershberger Oct 24, 2014

I love getting old. I’m 28, and I much prefer it to being 22. I found a few gray hairs earlier this year; I’ve finally grown a decent beard; and I’m getting carded less and less at bars. I actually enjoy adult things like having money, too. I spend it on “investments” (i.e., a basic savings account) and fancy Scotch whiskies. If I pass an abandoned pizza box, I’m not as tempted as I used to be to just take a chance on it for the free calories. I don’t even eat ramen from styrofoam cups anymore. Welcome, adulthood. I’ve been expecting you.

But earlier this year, I started to feel my first twinges of panic about my fading youth. Earlier this year is when I got engaged to my longtime girlfriend. It’s when we started talking about having a family and buying a house. It’s when we started talking about settling down.

So my fiancee and I are trying to cram all of the irresponsibility we can into the time between now and whenever we inevitably decide to buy a house and have kids. This is our last chance. Take heed, young’uns. These are the things you’ll regret not doing when you suddenly realize you can’t do them anymore.

1. “Paratroop” into a city

Paratrooping is when you go to a city with no place to stay. Usually, it’s because you plan on finding someone to sleep with at the bar, and you plan on using their bed after the festivities, although it’s far more likely you’ll end up on a bench.

2. Try chemicals at random

You just can’t have kids at home and take a hit of the unnamed substance being proffered to you by the Keith Richards lookalike at the music festival. Worst-case scenario without kids is you go insane or die. Worst-case scenario with kids is you go insane or die and your kids starve to death. The choice is clear. Toke it now.

3. Go on a BASE jumping / shark-diving / parachuting / lion-smacking excursion

It’s in a similar vein to the drugs, and the theme is this: When no one else depends on you, it’s sad if you die. But it doesn’t matter if you die.

4. Run with the bulls

You’re not Ernest Hemingway, you can’t spend the rest of your life facing down charging animals. Also, you can’t be drinking sangria at 7am when the kids want to go on a hike later in the day.

5. Live for days on street food alone

Plenty of people who are better than you have gotten tapeworm. Your kid shouldn’t be one of them.

6. Skip a return flight

There’s way more romance to staying and “just living” for a while when the word “foreclosure” never enters the picture.

7. Go to a city and ignore its museums

Yeah, there’s a ton of great art in the Louvre — art your future kids would benefit from seeing — but there’s a ton of wine outside the Louvre. Wine your current self would benefit from imbibing.

8. Don’t buy bottled water or iodine tablets

“Meh,” you can tell yourself, “if I just go ahead and accept that I’m gonna have diarrhea now, I’ll build up a resistance to it for later.” You can totally do this to your kids on your family trip if you want to build up their tolerance to bacteria and viruses, but you should expect them to justifiably hate you forever for it.

9. Go to remote places

A 20-day hike through the Amazon is awesome at any age, but is the worst if you’ve got a kid asking “Are we there yet?” or “Can you just carry me?” the entire time.

10. Go to dangerous cities

Just because a place is dangerous doesn’t mean it’s not awesome. But the awesomeness will be lost on kids.

11. Go anywhere that isn’t kid-oriented

My dad used to take us on long road trips through Yellowstone. We were too busy bickering in the back seat to enjoy it. We ate Disney World right up, but the world’s most beautiful national park? Nah.

12. Underpack

“I’ll just find what I need when I get there,” doesn’t work in a world where wet wipes are an integral part of your day.

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