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Dear Chris,

As always, sending lots of love and warm energy your way.

I’m a 25-year old guy with a decent-paying job and a nice chunk of student loan debt. The job can be intellectually stimulating, but is ultimately spiritually meaningless, stressful and one I am in principle ethically opposed to. If you’re curious, I work at a trust company in South Dakota, a burgeoning “international finance center,” aka tax haven.

I want to be debt-free. If I remain at this job for 2-3 years, I can pay off all my student loan debt, and get this “load” off my mind. I read horror stories about folks who never stop paying student loans, and I’m aware that when someone declares for bankruptcy, this doesn’t get rid of their student loans.

What I most want to do is travel, and live in a Spanish-speaking country. I’m certified to teach English as a foreign language, and have been volunteering for a couple years doing this, and also have been learning Spanish the past 3 years to the point where I’m conversational. I’m confident I could find a teaching job elsewhere, at least enough to support myself. Also, I don’t want to live in a country (US) where my medical bills can wipe out my savings. I’ve considered just fucking off with a few thousand dollars and forgetting about my loans. But as stupid as it sounds, I am worried that, if I ever come back to the US to live, it could destroy my credit score and future financial life.

In short, I’m curious if you’d have any advice for someone like me. Should I just suck it up for the next few years and pay my loans? Perhaps my first priority should be a job I’m not ethically opposed to?