I know, you’re over there thinking, “What the heck? She travels all the time!” For a travel blogger, who is obsessed with globetrotting the world and who is absolutely insatiable, always hungry to explore new places and try new things, in the long run, it has utterly destroyed any chance of having a normal life.
No one forewarned me at 14 that I might just become incurably addicted to travel, that I would never ever have a normal life from that point on. No one warned me that by traveling to dreamy, wanderlusty destinations that my idea of reality might get distorted along the way.
Millenials are a special generation with more opportunities thrown at them than any other generation before. We were told we could do anything and go anywhere and be whoever we wanted to be. The world is at our finger tips to explore.
So, how exactly did travel ruin my life?, you might ask?
We’ll start with the most obvious…
1. I Get The “3-Year-Itch”
I move. A LOT. And at about the three year mark, if I am still in the same location I start getting fidgety and irritated, itching for something, somewhere new. I don’t really understand the need to “grow roots” in one location. How incredibly dull to stay in the same place, see the same people and eat the same food over and over again. Ok, that’s harsh. Obviously it is nice to have some roots and have your favorite places to eat and whatnot. But to NEVER leave? To be born and raised in the same town and never live anywhere new and meet new people, try new things and see something new and exciting? THAT I could never do.
I start to feel trapped or stuck, desperately searching for a way out. When my parents were moving to Montana just as I was finishing college, I thought, “eh, why not?” And I followed them for a new adventure, beyond California. 3 years later, I had had my fill of Montana, realized I didn’t fit in and was bored. I ached for New Adventure. New People. New Food. New Experiences. So, I started searching for my escape route. It came when I had the brilliant idea to follow a dream of mine to Teach English Abroad in Germany. So, I bought a one way ticket and have never looked back!
Four years later, and I’m still in the same town, in the same apartment, working at the same job. And I’m desperate for a change of pace and a change of scenery. This is the longest I’ve stayed anywhere since high school! Luckily, I’ve married a man who’s willing to move somewhere new. Variety is the spice of life!
2. My Entire Life Plan Has Been Screwed Up
Well to be honest, I never really had a “life plan”. After high school, my life plan consisted of going to college, finding a good job, getting married, having babies and buying a pretty little white picket fence house. Because society told me that’s what I should do.
That life plan never really happened for me. While the rest of my friends were getting married around 20-25, I was over here like, “Uh, when is it my turn?” And I soon realized that fate would have a completely different plan for me. I was the exception. Because I changed my destiny.
I moved to Europe after college to teach English as a foreign language. It’s not the best paying job in the world, but for now it’s sufficient. It has allowed me to do what I love most. Travel. I have never saved a penny (I know, I know…) for buying a house, retirement, for children. Because I soon realized, none of those things were important to me. I don’t want a big financial responsibility like owning a house, which I could loose anyways if I lost my job or whatnot. I don’t want to plan for a retirement. I want to live my life NOW NOT LATER. I know this will inevitably bite me in the behind one day, but until then…. I’ll just book another ticket! And the idea of having children has changed. I realized, I don’t like kids. At all! Especially other people’s kids. I didn’t grow up around kids who were younger than me. I don’t even know how to hold a baby and not break it. And I’ve discovered, I’m rather selfish and don’t want to spend money on raising a screaming, crying, poopy baby when I could use that money for travel. Does that make me really so selfish? Or have I just come to terms with the fact, I am not a child person. I’m not “mom-material”.
I don’t have a “5-year-plan” or a “10-year-plan”. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow and where the wind will blow me next. I have a gypsy soul and I was made for wandering. My only focus in life is experiencing all that this world has to offer with my husband.
3. Buying a House Sounds Terrible!
The very idea of buying a house makes me break out in a sweat. I’ve never owned something so expensive that I could break or lose. I’ve already experienced the woes of foreclosing on a house during the economic downturn of 2008. I don’t ever want to go through that again.
Buying a house means growing long term roots which I’m not ready to put down. I like being able to have the ability to say, “Let’s move somewhere new” or “Let’s go where the wind blows us”.
I also don’t like the idea of constantly renting an apartment or home. It’s nice to have somewhere to come home to, but in reality, you’re forking out money to someone else who is getting richer and you get nothing out of it except a broken heater.
Now, the idea of transforming an old school bus into a mobile home and traversing the continent in my own home sounds like the greatest idea ever! And surprisingly, my husband agrees!
4. Post-Travel Depression Is Real
Quite possibly the most difficult aspect of traveling that no one ever forewarns you about, and quite possibly the hardest to deal with.
You’ll come back from an epic trip somewhere new, organize your photos, blog about it, share the pictures, maybe make a scrapbook and talk about it all the time to your friends and family. Then, when the novelty of it all wears off and your friends and family get sick and tired of hearing about your travels, you’ll have post-travel blues bringing you down, wondering when and where your next vacation will be. Every bit of spare time you have will be spent looking for cheap flights and the best hotel deals.
When you’re life starts to get back to “normal”, you’ll start to get bored being where you are and nothing is ever good enough. Life will seem monotonous and repetitious (work, clean, grocery shop on an endless repeat cycle) and you might get cranky that you’re running out of Instagram pictures to post (First-World Problems, yo!).
I dreamily scroll through my Instagram feed, missing where we have been and wondering when we’re going back, feeling down in the blues until we book our next trip and then I’m bouncing off the walls again, planning, organizing, researching. Just ask my husband.
5. I Have Unrealistic Expectations About Being A Travel Blogger
While it’s great to have ambitions, hopes and dreams, and you should reach for the stars, sometimes I need to learn to be a little bit more realistic. I’m never going to be Adventurous Kate or Nomadic Matt. I will never have a six figure income from my blog. While that is certainly a dream of mine, I need to learn to have more realistic expectations, like making $100 bucks a month from my blog.
I also have to remember that just because I am a “travel blogger” now, I can’t afford to just go gallivanting off every single weekend. I gotta earn mula if I wanna travel. I might make it look easy traveling all the time, but to people who don’t live in Europe, you have to remember how small Europe is in comparison to the US. And I don’t travel nearly half as much as some of my favorite travel bloggers. I sometimes question how they make money if they’re always traveling. This I’m still learning and have a wayyyys to go. And I’m not going to lie, I am jealous of these other bloggers who travel every weekend to somewhere new, but I know I shouldn’t be.
6. I Don’t Have A Normal Group Of Friends
Because we’re always traveling or going on day trips, we’re not home to make new friends and bond with old ones. We go weeks on end without seeing or hanging out with any of our friends, either because they’re too busy or we’re traveling. Usually they’re available to hang out when we’re gone.
And when we do hang out with our few friends, there’s not much to catch up on because through traveling, we don’t have the normal drama that comes with having a group of friends. We rarely have drama at work to give us anything to talk about. And my friends certainly don’t want to be bored to death by endless bragging stories of our trips, so I don’t talk about it. If they’re interested in our travels, hopefully they’re reading this blog!
We’re not part of any local clubs or sports and meeting people we have something in common with is quite hard. Most of my friends these days are other travel bloggers, digital nomads I chat with online and occasionally meet in person. These are my people. This is my tribe. They understand me and the constant need to be on the go.
But that doesn’t mean my friends around the world mean any less to me. They’ll always be there and I know I can count on them, and they can count on me. Even if they are scattered all over the place!
7. I Crave Food I Can’t Find
When I’m in Germany, I want Belgian waffles. When I’m in Italy, I want Fish’n’Chips. When I’m in the US, I want Schnitzel. When I’m in Switzerland, I want Macarons. And I always want In N Out.
Nothing is possibly more annoying than having an insatiable craving for something yummy you had on one of your travels which you just can’t get back home. You will try without end to find what you’re looking for and worst case scenario, if you can’t find it, you make it, but it’s never the same as the original. So the simple question, “What do you want for dinner?” is actually a tormenting question to answer!
8. Sitting at a Desk from 8-5 Just About Kills Me
Granted, I haven’t actually sat behind a desk in about 4 years, I still have a steady job that I report to every Monday-Friday. But it kills me. I have a dream of being independently sufficient, wireless and working from home, on the go as I’m traveling. It may seem unrealistic now, but my husband and I are definitely on the same page and are working toward this goal.
Life is too short to spend it going to the same job every day, seeing the same people and coming home at the end of the day exhausted and having wasted another beautiful day of our lives not living it to its full potential. We are only on this planet for a short time and there’s a lot to see and do, and you can’t do it from behind a desk!
9. My Home Decor is Unfinished
As much as I have tried to make our little apartment a home, it’s still not complete. And we’ve lived in this apartment for 4 years! (Gasssp, I know, the longest I’ve been anywhere since 2004!) I would say our apartment is 80-90% furnished, but my bathroom and bedroom are still missing items that I just can’t seem to bring myself to finish buying. That’s extra money for another vacation. And lately I have been struggling with the idea of buying more house knickknacks when they’re just going to become dust collectors, and I hate cleaning. Because of travel, I don’t want to buy things to fill my house because experiences are more valuable than what you fill your home with.
10. It Will Never Be Enough
And no matter how much we travel, it will never be enough. I will always be unsatisfied. I just can’t stop traveling. I go stir crazy and start bouncing off the walls with boredom if I’m not going somewhere new. It’s a fixation I just have to feed. I live for the rush and the thrill of new places, new people, new things.
I just gotta keep going. Like Dory!
Traveling is one of the greatest gifts of life and I realize not everyone can or wants to to explore the world, and I certainly don’t want to sound like I’m bragging or ungrateful for the opportunity and experiences I have had. I just know, like many other millennials out there, we prefer experiences than material things. We grew up having every opportunity thrown at us and told that “the world is your oyster”, so we are different than any other generation out there. I know I’m not alone when I say I haven’t saved a penny or don’t want to buy a house. Travel is our main priority, while we are still young, fit and able. We will figure out our next move as it comes.
Even though travel has “ruined my life”, I wouldn’t trade it for any other life. It has made me the person I am today. Not only am I more cultured, but I have learned so much history and can ace a geography test like a pro! As a traveler, we are more aware of of what’s going on in our world, more accepting of other cultures and ethnicity.
We travel to learn!