Coconut trees and mojitos in Central America, taking pictures with monkeys in Indonesia, safari trip in Central America with wild animals, laughing with villagers in Myanmar. Those Instagram-perfect moments are not realities. What is the reality of frequent travelling? This bucket list item is far from perfect.
That perfect exotic life with smiles every day and sunshine; the one you’re following and stalking daily on Instagram? Well, this is a cliché. It is more than those happy pictures. Do not over-expect before going on your trip that this new frequent traveller’s life is going to be perfect.
Expect surprises. Expect to experience life in a whole new dimension. Expect to get out of that comfort zone. Expect that shit is going to happen. Expect that nothing is perfect, no matter how well you plan it. Expect that your life is going to change. Expect the unexpected.
It’s Not A Fairytale
But do not expect a fairytale. It is not what backpacking road trips are for.
Backpacking road trips, and living abroad in general, is a fantastic experience. Although it is not always the smooth and easy path, this is life. This means sometimes, you will feel homesick, miss your family and be guilty about missing the special moments because you are constantly on the road. Weddings, birthdays, sick days, festivals, celebrations. Those are some opportunity costs.
Read more: The key is planning.
Being Apart From Loved Ones
You will feel lost. You will have doubts about you’re current situation, your past choices and the future ones. Luckily, you will a lot of time thinking about yourself, about your values and about the life you want for yourself. You will change, grow up, broaden your perspectives. Meanwhile, your loved ones won’t, or at least not as fast as you. Dealing with it can be tricky, and managing it is all on you. I don’t have a magic rule apart from staying in touch as much as you can.
Coming Home: Be Mindful
Make sure to mind the thin limit between sharing and showing off. This is another tricky issue, as this is all a matter of perspective. Know your audience before you communicate! Even though it might seem acceptable or even normal for you to travel or live overseas for a few months per year, this is not for 99% of people. As an example, try this sentence with your high-school friends:
“I was in New York last week for a 24h layover”.
There are very few chances that they won’t see you as an arrogant prick! This is a fact, you were in New York last week, had a great time, and virtually for free because you were smart enough to get cheap flights with a layover there, on your way back home from South America! That’s just how it is, you went to New York to visit your friends, super casually, whereas most people plan it years in advance as a “dream trip into the Big Apple”.
The Reality of Frequent Travelling
The reality of frequent travelling is that when we leave, we never come back the same person. Yet, remember that no matter how much you’ve changed, your loved ones are still the ones you left behind a while ago. Learn to be mindful in your sharing and time for them to adapt to the new you. People will not understand you just as you don’t understand their old way when you have grown. Be mindful and be patient.
In any case, you cannot please everyone. Some people will still judge and blame you for living the lifestyle you chose. Once again, that’s on you. Deal with it! Learning how to bring up things to various kind of people and how to be adaptive, are the few qualities you will develop!
Travelling expensively has changed me, even shaped me in a way. I am very keen to share this experience with people, from all backgrounds: people willing to start travelling, or doing it even more often, wiser or in a more sustainable way. I have received more help, friendships and kindness that I would have expected. For me, this is a way for me to give back, to help people in return, to inspire beginners.