The World Won’t Miss You for a While – a Sunday Travel Poem by Kathryn Simmonds

The World Won’t Miss You for a While

Oh, how busy we all are.

How central to the success of our families, places of work and communities.

In our corner of the world, we are important.

But wait….. Perhaps the world will continue turning if you take a break now and then. And, just maybe, on your return  you’ll make a better contribution to it.

This, in part, is what long-term (career-break) travel is all about. It’s about learning your insignificance and then your significance.

Last week on the Solo Travel Society on Facebook, we discussed the idea of a career break. Few were not keen on the idea. Almost all had either done it or dreamt about it.

What stops us? In some cases it’s money but money can often be sorted out. No, prominent in the cocktail of self-inflicted tactics used to delay taking a long-term trip is the notion that we are important, that we will be missed and, our contribution to the world will be missed.

I’m here to say that I went away for 10 months and the world did not stop. Jeff of Career Break Secrets took his career break and the world managed without him too. Sherry of Meet Plan Go went and the world continued to turn. In today’s poem, Kathryn Simmonds, a British poet born in 1972 illustrates that stepping off the planet is not just for busy Type A personalities. It is for Hare Krishnas, sous chefs, apprentice pharmacists… It is for everyone. .

The World Won’t Miss You for a While

Lie down with me you hillwalkers and rest,
untie your boots and separate your toes,
ignore the compass wavering north/north west.

Quit trailing through the overcrowded streets
with tinkling bells, you child of Hare Krishna.
Hush. Unfurl your saffron robes. How sweet

the grass. And you, photographer of wars,
lie down and cap your lens. Ambassador,
take off your dancing shoes. There are no laws

by which you must abide oh blushing boy
with Stanley knife, no county magistrates
are waiting here to dress you down: employ

yourself with cutting up these wild flowers
as you like. Sous chef with baby guinea fowl
to stuff, surveillance officer with hours

to fill, and anorexic weighing up a meal,
lie down. Girl riding to an interview,
turn back before they force you to reveal

your hidey holes. Apprentice pharmacist,
leave carousels of second generation
happy pills. The long term sad. And journalist

with dreams, forget the man from Lancashire
who lost his tongue, the youth who found it,
kept it quivering in a matchbox for a year.

poem from “Sunday at the Skin Launderette” by Kathryn Simmonds


Posts about Long-term and Career Break Travel





  • Vic Philpott

    Wow, I love this poem now. Thank you for introducing it to me :)

  • Jenna Harrison

    “It’s about learning your insignificance and then your significance.” I like that. It also rings true for those of us nurturing a business: sometimes you need to step away to see what can happen without you, and where your best contributions lie.

  • LifePart2

    Nice. The truth is we are all too wrapped up in our own self importance. Sadly, many people make themselves miserable wanting to be “needed” when really they should be useful by living a happy life.