I agree with many travel bloggers that long term travel is liberating. There’s nothing like the feeling of going wherever you want to go and do whatever you want to do. This is why so many people these days choose to take a gap year or career break to travel long term.
For some, the idea of continuous long term travel is something to aim for. It was for me at one point in my life. But, no more! I no longer travel long term, and this article is all about the reasons why.
The Downsides to Long Term Travel
I have to agree with Nomadic Matt – there is a Downside to Long Term Travel. Travelling can become mundane and lose its excitement. But, what’s even more of a problem is losing the sense of community that you have when you are either at home or somewhere you have roots.
The Excitement of Long Term Travel Wears Off!
Firstly, the excitement starts to wear off after a certain amount of time. The first time this really happened to me was after 6 weeks on the road in Russia and China following my graduation.
I arrived in Chengdu, and there were amazing things to explore, including seeing the Panda’s in their natural habitat. But, I felt like I had no purpose. There were no reasons for my travel at this point, other than selfish ones. “I want to see a Temple”, “I want to see the Monkeys”, “I want to go for Karaoke”.
It all gets a bit ‘samey’ after a while. I had no job or income, and the pressure of that started to increase as my travel fund slowly ran out. I also missed university and having something to ‘work for’.
You will Miss People and your Community
Most of all, I miss the people back at home when I travel. If you are constantly on the go, it can be a challenge to maintain friendships and relationships. There is always that feeling of ‘missing out’ when you are abroad.
The cut off period for me in travel seems to be somewhere between 6 weeks and 2 months. After my sixth week of traveling, particularly when traveling solo, I greatly miss people back home, especially my mom, my sister, and Sy.
Why I no longer Travel Long Term
Since I got engaged at York Minster on New Year’s Eve, I now have even more of a reason to miss home. My gorgeous Fiance Sy can’t accompany me on every trip, and that is tough. But thanks to Skype and What’s App, there are many technological advances that make solo travel easier and less lonely. We have to work out a schedule that we are both happy with.
My health is also an issue. Because I suffer from asthma and epilepsy, along with a few other health conditions, I need to look after myself. I always wear my medic alert bracelet when traveling. Coming back in-between short trips gives me the opportunity to visit my GP at home and keep my health in check. Of course, you can pay for private treatment as you go, but I do still have trust in the UK NHS!
So, I no longer travel long term, and I’m happy to admit that. I think that you have to find something that works for you and be proud of it. I value my roots and my community. Most of all, I value my family and my relationship. I no longer want to be on the road for more than 6 weeks at a time, because I know that I would find it too tough.
If Sy could come out to join me, I could probably manage much longer! We plan to travel in South America together later this year, or early in 2017. Perhaps I will go for a few months, and he will join me for a month in the middle. Either way, I know that we will work it out!
By traveling on a short trip once a month, or for 6-week stints at a time, I effectively can get ‘the best of both worlds’. This approach helps me to enjoy the excitement of travel while retaining good relationships and family life back at home.
Do you travel long term? If not, why not?