Photo by Marc Sebastian
So you finally did it. You moved back home. You gave up on your dreams of being a lifetime traveler in exchange for a pension, a steady paycheck, and a stable home environment.
Good for you. The only problem is, we both know it may not stick.
You can feel it already, can’t you? Not exactly a sense of loss, but rather, some part of you is being slowly diluted, your true self fading from a lack of stimulation.
Escape. Get out while you still can. Hit the road, and be grateful you pushed yourself.
How do you know when it’s time to go traveling?
10. Recycled Coffee Starts Tasting Good
You’ve become so complacent with your 9-to-5 cubicle job that that caffeinated mixture of grounds and office sweat is actually making your mouth water. You’re spending too much time staring at an LCD screen. Water cooler talk is fascinating to you.
GET OUT NOW, while you can still remember what sunlight feels like.
9. Celebrity Gossip is the Most Interesting Part of Your Day
You watch too much TV. You have excuses for not reading books. You’re unchallenged and unfulfilled. The best way to break this? You need to feel uncomfortable in a totally new environment, do some volunteer work, meet people from different backgrounds. Carpe diem.
8. You Can’t Find Authentic Foreign Foods At Home
The Thai food in Boston isn’t nearly as spicy as you remembered it from Chiang Mai. That Japanese fugu tastes more metallic than sweet. Some business executives have no problem driving hundreds of miles for a decent meal.
7. You Got Dumped
Doesn’t have to be a dumping. Any traumatic event that makes you feel like you need a fresh start could work: your boyfriend cheated on you; you got fired; a close family member died; you’re about to get married and feel like one last blowout; a baby is on the way and will surely tie you to a domestic life.
Whatever the reason, you are in some kind of emotional upheaval that only exploration will cure.
6. You Talk With More People Abroad Than You Do At Home
Your friends from Germany on Facebook get more attention than those living a hundred feet away. Go and be a part of their lives again; you miss them, and hopefully they miss you.
5. Sick And Tired of Being Ignorant of World Affairs
“Hey man, did you hear about all this protesting in Thailand?”
“[A market in Iraq is] like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summer time.”
“What’s Mugabe done now?”
Stop listening to others describe it (assuming they even know what they’re talking about, i.e. quote #2). Go and live it.
4. You Have Too Much Money
Do not buy yourself a dozen iPods or blow it all on a 64,000 square foot mansion for one. You could help out a fellow traveler (perhaps one needing sponsorship for his Antarctica Marathon in 2010… shameless self-promotion), but really, go out into the world yourself, don’t just send your money into foreign markets.
3. The City Skyline Just Isn’t Doing It
The shades of grey towering over the horizon just don’t provide that same sense of excitement or visual stimulation as when you first arrived in the big city. You need a change…unfamiliar surroundings…a new city, a green mountain, endless ocean, ice, ice baby…whatever works for you.
Other people – boss, girlfriend, family – are telling you not to go, or even you can’t go. You’re a rebel. Traveling sounds like the best idea in the world when you’re forbidden to do it.
1. You Don’t Want to End up Like Those Guys in “The Bucket List”
You know: The Bucket List. Two old guys find out they’re dying. They do everything they can before they kick the bucket.
Instead, do it while you’re young and healthy. Keep it up. Maybe along the way you’ll discovery the secret of immortality and eternal youth, in which case, no worries, mate.
What are some other reasons you know it’s time to go traveling? Share in the comments!