When being asked what I do and then answering I’m traveling all the time, people always say something like: “What a life! You are so lucky to get to see so many places. It must be incredible.” And yes, it is. I love traveling more than anything but as it is with everything there is a downside of long-term traveling as well.
A life on the road is definitely not always sunshine and glory. Even though it looks awesome from the outside, it can be hard, energy draining and taking you to your limits. Most of the time this negative side on traveling gets overshadowed by the glory and beauty of exploring the world and it’s good that way because more people need to step outside of their comfort zone and travel. However, when deciding to travel long term you should face the fact that there is a downside of long-term traveling coming with it and today I want to show you some in order to prepare you for what is coming.
This post should not stop you from traveling the world. Going out there and experiencing different cultures, meeting new people and seeing amazing places is the best you can do.
Related: 4 reasons to travel more
My aim is more to prepare you for what will come once you chose to go down the travel path. I don’t want to take the joy of traveling from you. However for you to really be able to enjoy everything that will come during your travels it is important you know about the negative parts as well. This way you can’t get caught off guard and have a way to deal with the setbacks and struggles coming along with traveling the world.
Let’s look into the downside of long-term traveling.
Seeing and experiencing bad things
This one is the most obvious one. Like everywhere you will also experience some bad things while traveling. You might get stolen something or get lost, miss a bus, plane or train or just have to deal with other unpleasant situations. Let’s face it, bad things happen everywhere so no need to hide the truth.
In addition, especially when traveling to third world countries you might see things, bad things, you never saw before and you wish you wouldn’t have ever seen.
A common effect of traveling and seeing many different, exciting and beautiful things is that you are getting restless. The ordinary will not be enough anymore and nothing will ever still your wanderlust. Traveling is an addiction. The more you see the more you want to see and the less satisfied you will get with what you have. It’s human, that is how we function.
So, the longer you will be on the road the more you will feel that precious feeling of wanting to continue and not being able to stop.
Not for nothing there are so many people getting lost and not coming back.
Being alone even when not alone
Of cause, you will meet a lot of people during your travels and yes you will build amazing, true and deep relationships. Yes, maybe you will even find love or your best friend. But to be fair the longer you travel the less you will be able to deny that feeling in the deepest of your heart. The feeling of not having someone who really knows you, who understands what you are going through and who’s always there, physical and mentally. There is this little feeling of missing someone all the time, even if it’s not the same person.
In addition, you will find that building friendships based on a distance is hard and takes effort from both sides. Don’t get me wrong, it is amazing to have friends all over the world, but it takes a lot of energy and time to make those friendships work.
Along with that, saying goodbye all the time is one of the worst things during traveling. Imagine you found a very special person, someone you got along so well. You guys experienced many amazing things together, had fun and got to really enjoy each other’s company. Then suddenly, the next day, you have to say goodbye. And most of the time it is not just a goodbye and until soon, it’s a goodbye for ever or for a very long time at least.
I must admit, this is something I struggled and am still struggling with a lot. The thought of meeting an awesome person and never seeing them again and yes is sad, I would do almost anything to see those friends again sometime in my life. I truly believe you meet a person twice and I know for a fact long distance friendships can work. But I still have to be honest with myself and with you, many people you won’t see again because you can’t visit all of them. You have to make choices. Also, mostly it will take years for you to see them again because they will probably be traveling as well. And lastly it always takes two. So, you both have to work for seeing each other.
Saying goodbye is part of traveling. It is sad and it won’t get easier the longer you travel. However, it too should not stop you from going.
Having no ship in the harbour and losing your roots
The longer you travel the more unstuck you will get. That at first is a good thing tough by time you will feel something is missing. The further you go away from home and the longer you stay away the more you will feel disconnected to your friends and family there. Of cause, they won’t just go away but once you will come home things will be different. You will change and they will change. Life at home goes on with or without you.
Getting overwhelmed and tired
Lastly, the longer you travel, the more things you see and the more people you meet the more tired you will get off it.
Seeing and going somewhere new every week or month makes your senses overwhelmed. By the time a year of traveling has passed you will have seen and experienced so many things you’re overwhelmed by all this and because it keeps going you don’t have time to process any of it. You just keep getting input.
This constant wave of information and sensation makes you get tired of it.
If you believe it or not, there will be a time when you are longing for a break of exploring. When you feel like you want to set roots and build something for the future. Be it a career or relationships.
No matter how much we love traveling we all need a break eventually.
Conclusion: GO TRAVELING.
Long term travel will take a lot of you and for sure it is not for everyone. You need to be independent, deal with saying goodbye, being able to adjust and be confident enough to handle setbacks.
Say yes to having no home, no constant relationship and no rock in the sea. You have to have the will to move out of your comfort zone and deal with uncomfortable times.
Though, despite all those things you might experience that will make you tumble you should still go traveling.
Because as cheesy as that might sound now: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
And every bad experience you will have will help you prevent future struggles and give you confidence to handle difficult situations.
Traveling has so many more benefits and advantages then disadvantages. You will make incredible friendships, grow personally, find new homes, discover your passions and experience the beauty of nature and different cultures, just to name a few.
All the downsides of traveling I just mentioned can be dealt with. There is no single negative aspect that should make you cave. And if you feel you need a break of traveling, take it. Take a break for as long as you feel it is necessary and once the longing to discover the world and that tempting wanderlust starts to return, then you will know, it is time to set the sails again.
Traveling doesn’t have to be forever, it can be but it mustn’t be. There is a phase for everything in our lives, so there is for traveling. So, go and conquer the world until you get sick of it and then start a new chapter.
Thanks for reading. For me a lot of those things are getting bigger and bigger and more draining the longer I travel. But as long as the wanderlust is stronger I will continue seeing the world. And once the downsides overshadow the joy of traveling I will stop and move on to another chapter of my life. Though I know, I will always want to see the world. Even though at some point it will be in a less extended amount of time.
I hope you too choose to travel the world, despite those negative sides. It is so much fun and joy.
Also feel free to share this post if you know someone that might want to read it.
And then let’s enjoy life.