THE DOWNSIDES OF LONG TERM TRAVEL

Every time I think about how I want to travel the world, I think about completely immersing myself in a new culture. I think about working among a community of people who have lived lives so dissimilar to mine that I am constantly learning new things. The idea of befriending locals in a new place and being welcomed into their community is a heartening thought. Although there are obviously many cities and countries that I will never live in, only pass through, but the thought of jumping from place to place every 3-4 days isn’t the way that I want to travel the world. I never felt like I would get the kind of experience that I was on the road in search of. That’s why I decided to pursue a life of long term travel. A life of temporarily making a new home in towns around the world. A life of work visas, new  jobs, and deeper knowledge of exciting cultures. But ultimately, what I didn’t realize, a life of constantly leaving behind people who become your closest friends and companions. And that, as I am slowly learning, is a pretty damn hard reality to deal with.

I spent 9 months living and working in Canmore, Alberta. The rocky mountains quickly became the place where I felt most at home. Constantly being surrounded by people who found themselves in the same situation as me, made it quite easy to immerse myself into this nomadic type community. I became close to a few people who became my best friends; I even found myself taking care of a friends’ pooch for several months of my stay, which ended up being one of the hardest goodbyes.

 

After around 6 months I started to feel extremely antsy being in the same place for that long. I intended on leaving after 4 but decided to stay simply because that’s what my gut had told me. But when I made the decision to move to Ireland in the new year and had a countdown showing me the days and hours that had to pass by till I could go experience different adventures, my inner travel bug kicked in hard. At this point I was working 7 days a week and not living the wild adventurous life like I did a couple months prior, because well, whose body (and wallet) can really keep up with that life? I had to save up some money for future plans and all of a sudden, found myself in a bit of a mental rut. I was daydreaming of the future instead of living in the present. I forgot that I was living in one of the most serene places in the world. The days went by faster and faster, and all of a sudden it was the day of my flight. I realized I had to say goodbye to my close friends, some of which I don’t know when I’ll be seeing again, and my LIL BABY GIRL CHLOE WHO I LOVE SO MUCH and still can’t think about without wanting to cry (she’s the cutest rottweiler/boxer mix), which made my stomach churn. It hit me that I was so excited to leave and move onto something else, that I forgot to appreciate what I would be leaving behind.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that long term travel definitely has it’s down sides as well. You leave pieces of your heart around the world and find yourself constantly missing someone and some place. I’m definitely no where near wanting to give this lifestyle up, and I still think the benefits of long term travel outweigh the hardships, but I’ve come to realize the importance of appreciating a place while you’re there. Live in the present and practice gratitude for what you have in your life because, cliche quote alert, you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.

 

 

 

 

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