Long Term Travel Is Not All Excitement & Wonder

As we plan our trip we try to keep a nice cup of realism brewing. Kept on the backburner, we don’t worry but do notice. Here’s a nice post by Peter from Nomadical Sabbatical. While you’re on his site  take some time to enjoy his spectacular photography.

I have been asked the question fairly frequently on my travels: What exactly is it like to quit a career to travel the world long term? In the opening acts of my journey I would have responded with something akin to: ‘I guess it must feel a bit like it does when you retire’ and after slapping the asker on the back I’d probably yell for another beer… However as time has drifted by and I have emerged from the initial honeymoon stages of the journey I might respond with the more accurate and thoughtful answer of: ‘It’s both amazing and exciting, yet not without its trials’.

The reality of long term travel is quite different from the ‘honeymoon period’ we enjoy in the opening stages of a long trip; and so it follows that a big difference between long term travel and a short vacation is simply the fact that vacationers never emerge from this ‘last day of school’ honeymoon period; their journeys are simply just too short. On the other hand  the long term traveller inevitably breaks through this invisible barrier, emerging into unfamiliar and unexpected territory.

So what happens when this brief period wears off? Well the realities of long term travel sink in, the tiring reality of constantly moving, the expenses, occasional boredom, disputes between travel companions etc.. all realities of long term travel that holiday makers fail to experience on any real level (except maybe expenses.. depending on where you go/stay/do).

These more negative experiences mingle with the positive new experiences we all enjoy while abroad and long term travel becomes a realistic mix of great, frustrating, amazing, annoying and ultimately memorable experiences.

I’m certainly not saying that it sucks, far from it, it’s an amazing, wonderful, enlightening and character building experience that I believe should be as much a part of our education as high school, yet it’s naive to imagine there won’t be trials and tribulations along the way, things that are rarely considered from the outside.

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