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“I Have Seen Too Much Of This World… I Am Not A Good Slave”

By |2016-10-25T17:32:09+11:00November 2nd, 2012|Blog, Freedom, Off Topics|16 Comments

I firmly believe that if you have your freedom, and you are lucky enough to have love, then happiness is yours.

When I think about my travels over the past 7 years it all comes down to two things… my freedom and my passion.

For me, To travel is to breathe. I strap on my backpack and my feet take me off into the world. I do it on the cheap, I travel for months and months on end. I see new cultures, I learn new languages, I eat food I’ve never seen before. I see history. I touch structures that the ancients have touched.  I hike over mountain tops to arrive at breathtaking destinations. I make friends from all over the world.  For me ‘home’ is not a place that is confined to four walls.

And I am proud to say that I have made my life extraordinary.

This is no easy feat. It takes work. I live in the same world as everyone else, and money does not just fall into my lap. I have to work for it just as you do. But it’s what I do with it that makes all the difference.

Since I finished university in 2004 I’ve never had a permanent job. Never. Now don’t mistake that with not having ‘a job’, I’ve worked since the legal age of 14yrs 9 months almost to the day, when my mum marched me into Coles Supermarket and I became a ‘deli chick’. Then it was various café’s, bars, restaurants, and even in women’s ware Myers Burke Street store, until I finished uni. But since my ‘professional career’ began (if that’s what you‘d like to call it), I’ve contracted. I duck in and out of society as and when I need to put some money in the bank, and I purely contract.

I’ve thrown in the ‘security’ of having a permanent job to keep my freedom. I get a contract, I suck it up and work hard for the short term, I save my money, and when I’ve saved enough I pack up my backpack and off into the world I go… and I can breathe again.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told “Oh, you’re so lucky, being able to just go off and see the world”. But luck has nothing to do with it, I will tell you that now. It is a mindset. An idea. A decision. One decision. That is all it takes…. Then the world is yours.

I’ve travelled to almost 50 countries throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. I’ve lived in Brazil, Mexico, Canada, London, Belfast, and even Wales. I’ve climbed around in the ruined temples of Baalbek, The Rose city of Petra, Machu Picchu, The Lost City in Colombia, I’ve touched the hieroglyphics on the pyramid walls of Egypt, strolled the alleys of Venice, put my finger in the bullet holes of houses in Sarajevo, hiked through Patagonia, marveled at Rome, taken a 52 hour long bus ride in Argentina, nearly drowned under a raft on the Zambizi River in Zimbabwe, been thrown off a camel in Morocco, watched the sun go down over the dunes of the Sahara desert and watched a full moon come up over the Atacama desert. I’ve slept in hammocks on secluded beaches, and even stood naked in a cold shower in a concrete box at Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania and watched as an elephant came right up to the window and stared at me through the bars… and that is just to name a few… all because I value experience over stuff.

… and then I wonder why I don’t fit in in standard society?? I know I am not the only one.

The headline for this post is a line from a movie I went to see last night, Cloud Atlas. The movie adaptation of the book by David Mitchell. Never before have I seen a film like it. It had a profound effect on me.

“I have seen too much of this world, I am not a good slave”

… It resonated with me like nothing before… it gave me an answer as to why I don’t fit in.

Modern Day Slavery. Being tied to a cubicle, a desk, a ‘department’. Having to work 9-5 in a job you don’t love, waking up in the morning and the first thought being “Shit, really??… Do I really have to do it again??” rather than a smile and heart fluttering excitement for the day ahead. Slavery, in today’s western world, wears a suit and a tie and the chains have found a way of disguising themselves in a shiny set of cufflinks. I can assure you that as human beings, we were not born for this.

Slave to the system. Slave to the 9-5. Slave to The Man. Slave to the mortgage. Slave to the ‘Inner Ring’ as C.S. Lewis profoundly puts it.

And a good slave puts his head down. He does not question. He does not ‘get involved’. He does not have an opinion. He does not want to stand out and not fit in. He does not think for himself… he does what he is told…

And I…. as I have found out… do not make a good slave.

It’s taken me the past year and a half to figure out that this is good thing. And that being the minority does not make me wrong.

You see, I tried to go back. After living overseas and travelling the world since 2005, I tried to go back. It was 2011. I tried to settle in to the system and be just like everyone else… let’s just say that it didn’t exactly go according to plan.  As it turns out… I just don’t fit the mould.

How many of you know someone who’s been off travelling and has such a hard time fitting in again?? I know quite a few. Maybe that’s even you. What I’ve come to notice is that after leaving home, the traveller cannot always go back. That’s something no one tells you. Now that is not everyone who goes off to see the world, but if that is you… you’ll feel it heavy in the centre of your chest. Something just isn’t right.

It’s not the going home that’s the problem, it’s returning to the system.

My ‘profession’ is an Occupational Therapist (or OT for those abbreviation savvy folk). Try saying that one three times as fast as you can. Fully In-The-System. The worst possible place for me. What was I thinking when I went to university?? No idea. Just something that would make an income I think, something that would keep my future family off the bread line. OT departments in large hospitals are among the cattiest places you will ever come across. They’re generally full of women who want power at all costs, a set of rules to enforce, and a nice set of shiny kitchen tiles. And if they so much as smell that you’re different to them, or you have something that they want… its game on.

And I am not often someone to stray away from a bit of adversity.

I question… I question all the time. I don’t bitch. I don’t bully, and I do not have a need to be a part of any ‘Inner Ring’. I have no need for power, over anything or anyone. But I don’t stop there. I do get involved.  And I do stand up for what I feel is right. And for that, I don’t fit in. I’m a ‘trouble maker’. And you know what? I’m ok with that, in fact I am proud that I do not fit in.

So in a few days time I have to go home again. I have to take a contract and focus on my finances, which I manage only in short bursts. Life is a balance, and with the good comes the not so good. As for my goal of freedom all year round without having to go back to the system to fund life, I’m solidly working on it. I’m changing the game, and changing the game takes time and a large set of silver balls. Yes, I am ready for the adversity this time. I am not a good slave, and I am proud of that.

So now I have a question for you… A challenge if you like.

The next time you have a choice….

A choice to stand up or keep quiet. To open your mouth or to keep it shut. To have an opinion. To get involved. To stand aside from the crowd or to fit in. To put aside your passion for the 9-5. To grab with two hands onto what stirs up your soul or to let it go. To be a part of an Inner Ring or to take the lonely road… What choice will you make?

Will you change the game?

Kimberley Casey

Founder of Time as a Traveller, where Independent Travellers share their extraordinary experiences. Kim is an Independent Traveller since 1997, and has travelled to 60+ countries. Writer. Photographer. Lover of Freedom. Specialist in off the beaten track, adventure, long-term budget travel and everything Latin America. Good at roughing it, long haul trips, and sleeping on all modes of transport. Read her story at

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  1. Loren November 2, 2012 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Kimberly this post really resonated with me. I spent a large amount of time between the ages of 16-30 travelling the world. Living OS for 4.5years at one stage when I thought I would only last 3 months. I now work for myself and would have it no other way. I haven’t had a “proper job” for about 8 years now and prior to that only ever took on jobs that enabled me the “flexibility” to live my life. I will stand beside you and scream from the rooftops “I am not a slave”.

    • Kimberley Casey November 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm - Reply

      Thankyou so much Loren, I’m glad to hear there are others out there. People who have done what you do inspire me, my goal is to be able to do just that within the next year too. Shout it from the rooftops 🙂

  2. chico pila November 3, 2012 at 1:41 am - Reply

    spent most of my life as a seagoing gypsy as for trying to fit i found i could’nt and i tried.

    • Kimberley Casey November 3, 2012 at 2:12 am - Reply

      Chico, You are truly inspirational, Isla Mujeres seems to be a haven for freedom seekers 🙂 Thanks for reading, I miss you guys and Mi casa en el Caribe.

  3. Alex November 4, 2012 at 5:55 am - Reply

    Really excellent post Kim. I feel quite sad for the people who say things like “wow you’re so lucky” and “wow I wish I could do what you do”. Travel should never be put on the backburner or the bottom of anyone’s priority list. There’s a whole world out there besides offices and suburbia

    • Kimberley Casey November 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Hey Alex, Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. The world is your oyster, and you’ve definitely run with it. Great to meet you in Belfast over the summer, Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. Ondrej Carda November 30, 2012 at 12:56 am - Reply

    I’ve seen this movie yesterday evening here in Czech rep. and this short answer by the slave guy is the main thing in my head from whole 3 hours. “I have seen too much of this world, I am not a good slave”.
    This is the reason why governments are thinking of internet censorship and scaring people with terorism. People are more and more informed, we are travelling in natural or virtual way… and old fashioned slow thinking guys ‘up’ there are loosing power. Right now is the best time of our universe. Humans have such a great chance to look at ourselves from a different angle. And start to enjoy the simple truth – love,passion and amazing gift of every second miracle called life…

    • Kimberley Casey January 16, 2013 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Ondrej,
      What an incredible film, I see that moment in it had a similar effect on you! We do indeed live in interesting times. Freedoms in the modern world… keep a close eye and hold them dear. Thank you for such a beautiful comment 🙂

  5. J From Travel on Inspiration January 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Hi Kimberly,

    Great post, I am currently trying to break away from the 9-5 existence at the moment. I havent heard of Cloud Atlas before but I am going to check it out now thanks to you.

    • Kimberley Casey January 16, 2013 at 11:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks J!
      Yes, it is super hard to break away. And even when you have it’s often an ‘in/out’ type maneuver. Congratulations for making the decision… the value in Freedom. Great blog site by the way, looking forward to see where your adventures take you 🙂
      Cloud Atlas is a mesmerising film, and has quite the effect…

  6. Nomes January 25, 2013 at 10:22 am - Reply

    There are no ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’ when it comes to life’s path, only choices. Having known you for over 10 years now, it never ceases to amaze me at your constant quest to discover more of life, this planet, and to challenge what many accept as ‘the norm’. The question we ask ourselves is; how do we define a successful life? Is it one in which we work a steady job until we’re 65, die old, with lots of money in the bank, in the hopes of having some friends or family left to look after us? Or is it that carving out our own paths of discovery into the experience of life is more important than anything material that we can hold in our hands? Or is it about creating a better world for our children to grow up in, and to give them the inspiration to challenge and conquer? The answer is; there is no ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’, only choices, and that ultimately we hope to reflect upon a life in which we have truly lived, and die grateful to have been a part of it.

    • Kimberley Casey January 27, 2013 at 10:30 am - Reply

      What beautiful words, I’m glad to have inspired such a response! Well here’s to truly living, however it is that we define it for ourselves, may we look back with a soft smile and be proud of those choices…

  7. Stephie May 30, 2013 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Hi Kimberly,

    Having caught the unquenchable thirst to travel at the tender age of 12, I can relate to a lot about this post. My boyfriend and I are currently saving, planning, and waiting (oh GOD, the WAITING) to leave for our big adventure next May (2014). We are documenting this time (and all the highs and lows that come with it), since we noticed that most travel blogs are started once the traveller has already departed.

    I, more so than my boyfriend Eric, especially struggle with the boring 9-5 job, commute, and I feel like my time spent at home is always just time spent waiting to go on my next trip. I am in a constant state of wanting to travel when I am not on the road. My body aches for it.

    I truly hope that our lives turn out to fulfill this need to travel, experience cultures, learn new things, and meet interesting people. I really can’t even imagine what my life is going to look like when I have returned from our trip 2 years from now, but I certainly hope it is not the “norm”. Like you, I am proud to say that I do not fit in. Thank you for this post. I will definitely keep up with your blog.


    Stephie (one half of The Wandering Soles)

    • Kimberley Casey June 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Stephie,
      Thanks for posting such a lovely comment, I’m glad you liked the post! When i wrote this I had no idea so many people felt the same, it’s refreshing to hear! It definitely helps knowing that there are others who don’t fit the mould and are searching for something better. I entirely get the ache for travel you’re feeling!

      Congratulations on making the decision to do some more long term travel, it’s such an incredible experience! I’ll definitely keep tabs on your blog and check out your adventures (looks awesome by the way).

      Here’s to making the move to freedom more permanent 😉

  8. Mark August 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    I rarely feel like commenting on blog posts, but I came to this website as it was the best hit on “I have seen too much of this world”
    Was delighted to see the same line have impact on another wandering soul, I felt and feel the same as you since I’m also a freelancer.

    • Kimberley Casey August 13, 2013 at 12:25 am - Reply

      Hi Mark, thanks for commenting. In a world like this It’s so nice to hear that others feel the same way.
      (thanks for the info too, I didn’t know I showed up on the search! great news.)

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