It’s easy to see traveling as glamorous, going to all these amazing destinations, having life-changing adventures, making new friends…these are all the parts I love most about traveling, yet it’s not all travel is.
It’s rare to hear people talk about the dark side of long-term travel, how exhausting it can be – physically and emotionally. How it can drain your energy and leave you feeling like you belong nowhere in the world, because you’ve been exposed to so much that no one place ever feels completely right anymore.
How each of those amazing experiences comes to an end quicker than you anticipated and were prepared for, and how each of those new friendships you gave your all to only really last for a week. Sure you’ll keep in touch and see each other in the future, but nothing ever beats face-to-face contact to build relationships.
No one talks about how traveling long-term makes you miss out on birthdays, family gatherings, weddings, and anniversaries. How it makes you slowly fade away from the minds of your loved ones and how, which each person you meet, you slowly become more and more open, yet more and more heartless, because you know each of these places you’re visiting and each of these friendships you’re forming are only valid in that moment. Next week you will start all over again.
I get messages everyday saying how inspired they are by what I’m doing and how they wish they could also travel like me, well the truth is its not all butterflies and rainbows.
Lately I have been feeling absolutely drained, like a dark cloud is hanging over my head at all times. I cut my trip to Crete short because I couldn’t stand being there anymore. There was nothing wrong with Crete, it’s a beautiful island and somewhere I never in my dreams thought I could visit! My time there was absolutely magical, and because of this it made me fall into a dark hole.
You see, in Crete I had one of the best experiences of my life! I got to stay in a self-made home in the middle of the mountains in Crete with the coolest hippie and an amazing woman who was also visiting the island.
I met Leslie and Mireille via Couchsurfing, my platform of choice for traveling lately. We spent only 4 days together, but it felt like we had known each other for much longer. This is the way it always is when I meet people during my travels, I feel like they’re my soulmates, like they’re family, even though we only just met. We shared meals, went on a roadtrip around the island, camped at a pink sand beach and slept under a blanket of stars, cliff jumped, hiked waterfalls, and had deep conversations about our pasts, presents, and futures. It’s a beautiful thing opening up completely and sharing life-changing experiences with complete strangers, but it also takes so much out of you if you don’t pace yourself.
With long-term travel you go through these same experiences, perhaps more intensely as time and fear passes, but you don’t get to go back home to recharge and appreciate what you just experienced. Instead you have intense experiences, form intense connections, see incredible places, and then you leave. Say goodbye to your new friends, and head to the next dreamy place to do it all over again. Only this time you’re emotionally drained. And with each passing trip you fall further. You don’t get a break to think about everything you just experienced or to recover from the “breakup.” You just told these people your whole life story, shared so much together in such a short time, and now they’re gone!