This may sound like an odd title for a travel blogger to write a post with. 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. Here are five ways that travel has ruined my life…
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, on the road to that new adventure!
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.
I get terrible lows after coming back from a trip, especially if it was a long trip and I don’t have anything planned for quite a while. 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. Travel exhausts me because I want (I NEED) to do it all. And when I come home, and I know I didn’t do things or see things, I get the travel blues.
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.
Then I went to university.
Then I had to take a year out due to illness but still had eight months post hospital appointments and medical fun to ‘recover’ until the correct semester rolled around to go back to studying.
I was bored.
I wanted to DO something, something worthwhile.
So I ended up looking for inexpensive volunteering opportunities.
Then I went to Honduras. I volunteered for a month. I extended my trip. I worked freelance as a social media marketing consultant and even helped the set-up of a community organisation in the mountains. I worked for two months. I dated someone.
Then I went home. But more travel ensued – I had an internship in Austria.
I flew to Austria via Ukraine (why not? The flights were the same price. / But Penelope, that’s mental! / It’s fun! / Wasn’t there a war on? / Calm down, only in certain regions and it wasn’t like I was holidaying to Donetsk or Crimea…) and then, while in Austria, I visited Slovenia and Slovakia. I visited other cities in Austria. I loved it!
Then, at the end of my internship I was off to Romania for a group trip. How was I supposed to get to Romania from Austria? I mean… I COULD fly, but where’s the fun in that? So I took the long route.
I took the train from Klagenfurt, Austria to Villach and onwards to Ljubljana. I took the bus from Ljubljana to Niš in Serbia. I stayed in Niš for a day and then took a bus onwards to Skopje, Macedonia (FYROM). I stayed in Skopje for three days and I LOVED it. In Serbia and Macedonia, people weren’t used to British tourists. Everything felt so authentic and untouched by the heaps of tourists in other countries and cities. Then I took the bus from Skopje to Sofia, Bulgaria, where it was -21 Celsius and covered in snow (now I have to go back when I can see things, of course) and then a day later the train from Sofia to Bucharest, Romania.
And this, dear readers, has completely and utterly scuppered all my life plans. Now I don’t even know if I WANT to get a job and settle down after university – the digital nomad life is calling to me. I know so many people who gave up their jobs to travel.
It isn’t that my life plans have changed. I just don’t HAVE plans now. I don’t know what I want to do after I graduate. I don’t want to buy a house and settle down in one town or city.
You know what? This is 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.
It’s often a relationship killer (aside from the “I’m only looking for something casual” gem). The concept of being in a relationship comes up.
But Penelope, you’re moving to *insert country here* in a month.
You travel too much.
You’re moving away for a year.
I mean, heck, maybe I’ve just missed that guys are trying to let me down kindly by blaming it on my travelling (if so then this section is REALLY awkward), but it still gets in the way of my dating life. You might meet someone in one country, but you’re both only there for a few days, maybe a week at most. You may try to keep in touch, but life happens, people move on.
So travel has destroyed my dating life, also because it’s made my standards much higher (the travel related standard at least). I’m not going to date someone who doesn’t have an interest in travel, who doesn’t want to travel with me, who would prefer a weekend at home over a weekend in Italy. I’m going to wait until I find that person who I’m truly compatible with and who doesn’t mind my slight obsession with Skyscanner.
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’ve seen too much. I’ve had a taste and I want more. I’m always on the search for my next adventure, trying to find time in my schedule to go. 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.
Has travel affected you and your life plans? Tell me in the comments what you think of my opinions and tell me your experiences on the matter. Don’t forget to pin the above image if you enjoyed the article!