Snowborn's Food for Thought

My 2 Cents on Life, Change, Self Development & the Rest

Some Downsides of almost constant Travelling

I just watched the movie “machine gun preacher” and besides it being an intense movie based on true events, it also raised another consideration again in me. The main character is helping kids in Sudan against the by-now-famous Kony and LRA, but  he is mainly also torn between his family back home and his “new family” in Sudan.

As several of you might know I have already been in several different countries around the globe for a longer time – the US (Texas), Togo and Brazil for a year each. Often people say that it must be quite awesome to get to travel that much. But there are also some rather longer-term downsides. I by no means want to leave the impression that they outweigh the benefits, but they seem to be not so visible to the non-travellers. I already explained the potential loss of a “home” to come back to in another post. It might also have the aspect that you have several homes and obviously you cannot be in all at once – with all the friends you made there.

Feeling at home in Brazil

Feeling at home in Brazil - I am the guy on the very right btw :)

But I am not talking about the direct impact, like getting Malaria or being stuck in bureaucratic processes – which make life rather more interesting!

Relationships

Just take relationships e.g., which either become long distance or take longer to build up in my experience – since they often evolve in environments where you are comfortable and can be yourself, which takes a while in new environments. And when you have finally found somebody – they tend to have the same passion as you and are thus probably abroad once you finally got some time back home. :P But obviously there are also some good side about it as this blog posts beautifully states – “date a girl that travels“. Of course you can also take somebody with you during the journey – but also that has pros and cons. :)

Then, depending on how much you travel, your best friends might be all over the world, in different time zones and difficult to visit again (although it becomes easier and cheaper to travel these days).

Personality and Understanding

Longing for different places, friends and being understood might be a bit harder sometimes

Longing for different places, friends and being understood might be a bit harder sometimes

You also change a bit every time you  leave, which is not a bad thing in itself, but it may become more problematic blending in again. I always need some internationality in my life now (which is easily served by further travelling and studying an international master), but it also becomes more difficult for people to understand you sometimes. Especially family.

 

Voodoo in Benin

Voodoofestival in Benin - Explaining Voodoo experiences in full intensity can be quite a challenge :)

My mother has also already been backpacking in India in the 70ies, hitch-hiking around France with sometimes just about 23 cents left in her pocket, being robbed in Paris under the bridge and asking via collect call for more money from home. She was also hosting international students at her house later, so I think so got the same bug I did, but still sometimes it becomes difficult to really grasp what I am telling her. Might also be due to parents and their kids having generation differences, but still …

Other Perspectives

For more impressions on this topic also read other interesting blog posts (not by me):

The Ups and Downs of a Nomadic Lifestyle and Are you a Good Traveler?

They provide some insights from a constant traveller / nomad. I personally still love more to have a place that I can call home and do not just “check up on” as some other people have the tendency to do after they have been abroad for too long – they simply cannot settle anywhere for a longer time anymore but “have to keep going”. It gives me the impression that the beforementioned blogger already has the tendency to do so. It took me several years abroad and also some good talks with e.g. children of diplomats (that have to change the country every 3-5 years) to see how much I want to be mobile and where I draw my limits. Right now I see that I want to at least have a fixed place called “home” that I can and do come back to at least every week on average. But obviously it also depends on whom I call my family – a wife and such – that I want to be closest to. If they are there it does not really matter all that much …

Sometimes your life might also change forever after your experiences – but then mostly for the better. :) Check out this blogpost if you want to travel just for some time and then get back on track and really do your thing …

Did you have similar experiences? Did I miss something? Do you have questions? Let me know in the comments! Looking forward to hearing from you! :)

Sources: Pictures are all my own.

Related posts:

  • Thomas says:

    Hi Felix,

    nice article.

    I can relate to some of the stuff you write about. But for the most part it is not an up and down as in your own home but rather and up and back down to normal =).

    Many of the things that are perceived as a down are connected to nostalgia. So I am trying to live in the now. Of course I am not having as much contact any more with my old friends. They went different ways. Thats fine. They are still my friends. But through my traveling I made new friends that i can strongly relate to and with whom i built very strong ties through shared experiences. So in fact the personality and understanding thing is a constant up for me. My family might not fully relate to what i am saying … but that was to be expected. There point of view sometimes amuses me – in a good way. I think at some point it becomes a generation thing =).

    Relationsships…yep, that’s the one getting to all of us. Sometimes I just miss my woman =). But even there, I am able to enjoy this longing for my beautiful woman (fortunately she is also infected with the travel bug =)). So that really is an up to =). Because if you didnt miss her from time to time and are reminded of how much you like her, than your relationship is in trouble anyway (talking from experience =)).

    But one thing that really is a sort of dip for me if i travel longer than two months is that some of my business projects start to slow down. So even though i dont have to work much, it is still a decision between complete focus on business or traveling. But than again it is also much nicer to get back to business after a while of than it was before.

    Haha, so I guess it just depends on how you look at change and the way you look at the half full glass of water. I am trying to always see mine half full. ;)

    August 14, 2012 at 11:45

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *