Once upon a time, I was all about the long-term travel life. I was constantly keen on saving up a big chunk of money so that I could be away from Canada for months at a time – living life the way I wanted to, seeing whatever I wanted, and going wherever I wanted on a whim. I poured over dozens of blog posts about the destinations on the top of my list, namely — before the start of my long-term trip in 2017 — Granada, Lisbon, and pretty much all of Croatia. I waxed romantic to my friends about all of these places, having them come out for tapas with me, or to try Croatian wines. I became immersed and then, I hopped on the flight to Madrid.
It started out okay, as trips like this always do. On my bus ride from Madrid to Granada I remember sitting in the very front seat, taking in the gorgeous landscape and hearing “Despacito” on the radio for the first time ever, thinking that it was just some great Spanish tune.
But over time, the aura surrounding the trip changed — it changed as soon as it drifted out of the few-week range and became long-term. After three weeks into my trip I left Spain and began a 4 month excursion where I saw a new city or region every four to five days.
As it turned out, this lifestyle wasn’t really for me. Because as anyone who has ever done it knows, spending months on the road, especially alone, teaches you about yourself; the good and the bad.
Why I’m a Terrible Long-Term Traveller
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
In my day-to-day life at home, I’m a do-er. I’m constantly working on something whether it’s my blog, a website project, my virtual assistant position, my marketing manager position, radio promotions… you get the idea. I find it extremely hard to just hang out and chill. This is precisely the reason why, no I haven’t seen that new series on Netflix.
And of course, just like you can’t leave your problems behind once you jump on a plane, you can’t leave your must-be-doing-something-at-all-times mentality behind either.
Every day I’m out doing something, exploring, seeing what’s up. And when I get tired, I feel pretty guilty about wanting to stay in and just chill by myself for a while. It’s a mentality thing, but still.
Which takes me to that time I actually broke my foot once due to a stress fracture while traveling. My foot swelled up to the size of a balloon, it was incredibly painful to put pressure on, especially in the mornings, and yet… I went out every single day and walked at least 20, 000 steps on it. Which, in my defence was down from my usual 30 – 35k.
What, was I just not supposed to see Bratislava?
…And I’m Exhausted All the Time
So yeah, when I’m traveling, I’m constantly on the go and, because of this, I’m constantly tired. At first I thought there was something wrong with me like, everyone else seemed to always have tons of energy no problem…why not me?
Well, 2017 Taylor, it was probably because they took a break every now and then.
I Need a Certain Amount of Stability
When I’m at home, I crave adventure, and then when I’m off having adventure, I crave a place of my own to go back to at night. Over my travels, I’ve stayed in tons of hostels, hotels, and Airbnb’s, and while most of them are great and I meet people super easily, nothing beats my bed. Nothing.
…And Personal Space
This took me all of two weeks into my long-term travels to realize. I mean, I always kinda knew it, but nothing will shove the fact that you’re an introvert into your face harder than working at a hostel…and then leaving said hostel due to no alone time.
The very essence of travel means getting off the couch, being sociable, diving into different cultures, and exploring. Which is all fine and dandy, but if I don’t have some serious alone time, I get majorly bitchy. And by alone time, I don’t mean putting on my headphones and zoning out in a hostel dorm – I mean holing up in an apartment where nobody can see me or hear from me for hours at a time.
I Crave The Other Sides of Myself
When you’re a long-term traveler, that’s pretty much what you are, and when I took off on my 4-month trip around Europe, I hadn’t yet fully realized this. Sure, I’m a traveler, but I’m also a writer, and I have a million other things on the go – business oriented things, and personal-life things. Maybe it’s because of my go-go-go attitude, but I often leave little room for anything other than travel life when I’m on the road.
So, granted – this is definitely a “me” thing, cause you know, other people incorporate their full lives into their travels all the time. That said, being a digital nomad is not for everybody.
I Eat… Everything
That’s not to say I haven’t tried to buy groceries and make food in my hostel or Airbnb, it’s just that food is so much easier to just order in a restaurant… and that’s not always the healthiest way to go. Of course, this is somewhat balanced out by the amount that I walk a billion miles everyday, but it certainly doesn’t make for the most sustainable lifestyle.
Traveling in the Future
Because I’m such a shoddy long-term traveler who apparently just can’t stop herself from making any of the above mistakes, I’ve devised a new plan. I’m always thinking about my next destinations, right now I have California, Mexico, Southeast Asia, and India on the brain, but instead of crossing off say, all of Southeast Asia and India in one fell swoop, I’m going to have a home base.
Renting an apartment with Wi-Fi for a few months in Bali or Thailand before moving on to the next destination is way more my style than continuous travel is. That way, I can truly dive deep into an area, have my own space, take the travels at my own pace, and not burn myself out.
To the future!
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