THIS MAY SOUND like an odd title for a travel blogger to use, but it’s true – travel HAS ruined my life. Everyone says how amazing it sounds, that I travel all the time. That I disappear off on journeys around the world and see incredible places and have the best adventures.
No one warned me about the negatives, about the downsides of travel, and jetting off to different countries all the time, and so I found them out the hard way.
1. I GET CABIN FEVER IN ONE PLACE
I can no longer stay in one place for too long, especially if it’s a small area. I end up searching places to go to, where cheap flights are off to, where I can go for a weekend. I start feeling trapped if I’m the same place for a long period of time, especially when friends – many of whom are fellow travel bloggers – posting photos and talking about their amazing journeys.
For example, I find it really hard to be at home for too long. Not because I don’t like my parents (I mean, hello, free food!) but because I don’t have the independence that I’m so used to. We live an hour’s walk from the nearest train station. Buses are… rare, to say the least. Maybe if I drove it wouldn’t feel so constricting, but I miss being able to walk out of the front door to get to the supermarket, being a few minutes away from friends and only having a short walk to all the shops.
In short, travel has destroyed my ability to stay in one place for too long. I’m always on the search for that new experience.
2. POST TRAVEL LOWS REALLY ARE A THING
You come back from a trip on a high. You’re still buzzing from the amazing experiences, the incredible people you met, the fun you had. At first, people are loving hearing about your trip. They want to know the details – where did you go? What did you do? Then life has to go back to normal.
…Then life has to go back to normal. People start to get bored of you ‘going on’ about your travels. You start running out of photos from the trip to post on Instagram (legitimately a problem, I tell you). You may have lost contact with all the friends you made on your trip – a lot of friends made in hostels are short-term, you hang out on the trip but lose contact so soon after.
You start to feel bored. You start to feel lonely. Your time is filled with the monotonous – work, study, grocery shopping, cleaning. Your free time is filled with searching for new places to go, cheap flights so you can get that buzz of adventure again. It’s addictive. Photos pop up on your Instagram feed of Cinque Terre, of Santorini, of Cappadocia. You’re jealous – YOU want to be there too.
And yet you miss being where you were – after returning from Bangkok I missed the bustle of the city, the amazing street food. Everything also seemed so needlessly expensive too, after being in a city where I could buy a good dinner for 50 baht (£1).
You start thinking of all the things you didn’t have time for on your trip, you regret decisions you made – why did I visit X when I could have visited Y? (Hindsight is 20/20, after all.) Did you sleep in one day until 10am or 11am? You’ll feel annoyed at yourself at all that you missed.
3. MY ENTIRE LIFE PLAN HAS BEEN %#?!ED
Yes, that’s technical speak for my priorities have changed and now I’m not sure what I want from my future. I had a plan. A 5-year plan, a 10-year plan. I knew what I wanted from life.
And then I started to travel solo. That lit my fire for travel and that’s where this blog came from. I’ve always been a traveller – I’d been to probably 10 countries by age 10 at LEAST – but going interrailing at age 18, just out of college, ruined me. Not because I started to change my plans then, but because it set the ball rolling on my travel ways.
My plan was to go to university, get my degree, get a good job (likely in finance). Maybe I’d meet someone at uni who I would end up marrying, or maybe I’d meet them at my job, or just through friends (we will come back to the dating dilemma later). I’d get married in my twenties, maybe have a house by 30 (although with this housing crisis? Even if I do stay in one place I’ll be lucky to have a house by 50… but not the point!) and have children (two maximum) in my thirties. Maybe we’d even get a dog.
And now I have no plans. And you know what? It’s terrifying because I LOVE plans. Before all this I wasn’t a spontaneous traveller. I had everything planned out down to the hour. But now? Now I do things on a whim. I change plans. I extend trips. I book a trip less than a week in advance.
How do you make a 5-year plan with that?
4. DATING IS PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE
I’m not saying you can’t be in a relationship while you travel, or find the guy/girl of your dreams as you journey the world.
However, this is an area that currently escapes me. First of all, I don’t like long distance relationships. Some people can do them, and I applaud them (and am secretly amazed). I am in that other group where if you live three hours away by train, that’s a lot of effort and/or money that I could spend on travelling somewhere else.
Maybe my mindset would change if I met the right person. I’ve always hoped to find that special guy who I could travel the world with, but it hasn’t happened. There’s always an obstacle (time, money, willingness to actually travel to random places). I’m still somewhat clinging to the cliché of meeting someone while travelling and ending up falling madly in love and then travelling the world together (a girl can dream, okay?!) but I know this isn’t going to happen soon, or if ever.
5. I CAN’T STOP.
Can’t stop. Won’t stop.
There’s no turning back. How can I turn my back on my ever increasing list of places I want to visit? How can I settle for less when I’ve seen everything I can experience? How can I decide to live in a town or city forever, when I know what’s waiting for me ‘out there’?
I recently had the (extremely privileged and luxury) problem of “I can’t travel to Chile because I’m too busy travelling to New York”.
Can’t travel because too busy travelling, sorry world.
I am addicted to travelling. I am high on the buzz of a new experience and a new adventure. I cling to the desire for new destinations and new locations.
Travel has ruined my life for good.
And you know what?
I love it.
This post has been published and edited with permission from The Flyaway Girl.