Lately I have been feeling a bit different about this path we have chosen. The life of the traveler is always an adventure, but sometimes the adventures grow old. Sadly, when I feel frustrated, or exhausted, I have the terrible habit of blaming those around me, rather than examining the real reasons I am down. Or I simply give up and want to go home, settle into a desk job once more and return to the routine.
I know it may seem crazy that I could ever feel anything but ecstatic at this wonderful life we have been blessed with, but it does happen, and l recognize that I may sound like a spoiled brat when I complain. However, part of the journey is dealing with one’s own self in different places; you never leave yourself behind.
So I must be honest and tell you a terrible truth: Long term travel can occasionally suck!
- Staying too long:
You know that feeling that got you to leave in the first place? The grind, the day to day, the mundane? That continues on, even in tropical paradise, or beautiful cities, or remote villages. The abnormal becomes the norm, and all you want to do is escape once more. This can happen in a day, week, month, or year . . . but eventually everywhere becomes home, and the little annoyances and the exciting new can become the viciously hated and the terribly boring. It’s strange, but everywhere you go is sort of the same.
- Staying too little:
You arrive late after a grueling flight, you find a little hotel to stay, and the place is not at all what you expected. The alleyways are darker than you would have thought, the food is underwhelming, perhaps sickening, and the people are cold and unfriendly. You book the next flight out, never taking the time to get to know the place better, arrive at the next destination, and all the other travelers you meet are talking about the place you just departed and how wonderful it is. Suddenly you realize you missed out, only because it wasn’t a long enough stay to appreciate it. The jaded traveler can seriously under appreciate amazing places, and then it is too late.
- Miss all of the things:
Salsa, burritos, that stupid hole-in-the wall coffee shop that you had grown sick of back home. The annoying friends, the same old conversations, and even the familiar shopping centers can sound like Christmas. And don’t even get me started on Christmas . . . How I have pined for the stupid jokes, the crappy sweaters, and the fattening foods of family holidays. . .
- Exhaustion is life:
With our without a toddler to hold, the road can really wear you out. Each day requires new energy, and new drive, and new excitement about the paradise you have found. You must put on that smile, have the same conversations about where you are from, what you are doing, and do your best to speak the local dialect. Then go on another adventure into some broken down part of town to see something you could really care less about. All you really want to do is crawl up on a couch and rest your weary bones, and not have to talk for a month. Binge watching TV becomes so exciting.
- Decisions, decisions, decisions:
What do you want to do today? Where do you want to go? What time? With who? Should we get a ticket elsewhere? Do we need to do a visa run? and on and on . . . Making decisions, huge and small becomes the whole of your existence. At times you wish you were on a cruise, and could just let someone else wait on you and and foot . . . but even then you’d have to decide when to eat and sleep. Or whether to swim or dance or . . . or . . .
Okay, so that is just five things…. Could there be more? Probably.
But even as I type this list I realize that it is so amazing that these are the things that I get to complain about. How fortunate we are to have these “difficulties.” Long term travel is a commitment, and like most commitments it requires a lot of work. It can be the most fulfilling and rewarding of experiences, but to not admit that at times it gets old . . . Well that will only make it worse.
Thank for listening.
Answer back: Tell me what you think of this life we have chosen. Does this scare you from going? Do you think I am a brat? Or do you fellow travelers agree and want to go home after my ranting complaints?