There are undoubtedly pros and cons to every lifestyle, decision, and action. I’ve been meditating lately on the up- and downsides of travel. There are countless in both categories, but I figured I’d point out the top three of each in my opinion:
3 Worst Things About Travel
- Missing – When you leave home, there are always things you will miss. From family, friends, weddings, birthdays, and parties to your favorite restaurant, secret spot, or simply your extra-comfy bed! A lot of times this is what travelers have the toughest battles with, causing some to promptly return home early. What’s worse is even if you’re not wrapped up in missing home, along the way you will meet the most wonderful souls – and have to say goodbye at some point. Another pitfall is the fact that the minute you leave, you are disconnected from lots of people who called themselves your friends. What I’ve realized is that leaving truly separates you from some – but in the end, the people who make the effort to stay in your life are the ones that were meant to be there. If nothing else, this is a wake-up call to who truly has your back. It makes me appreciate all of you who are sticking it out, scheduling Skype and FaceTime dates, and keeping in touch no matter what.
- Sporadic Routine – Traveling will jostle even the most adventurous of spirits by the day-in-and-day-out changes. People are meant to be in a routine to some extent, and getting out of rhythm proves stressful. Unpacking and re-packing on a daily basis will wear on anyone, and I’ve found that a quick cure to this is to stop in one place, soak it up, and develop a routine before continuing travels. This also ties in with obtaining money for travels – people like having a sense of security. Traveling can be just the opposite. However, breaking the everyday-is-different path up with some long-term stays can also bring in the bank roll as you settle in a place for a few months (or more!) and stash some cash for what’s next on the list/map.
- Nomad’s Paradox – When someone is (nearly) always traveling and never settling, it can be hard to plant roots and have deep relationships with people. While enriching one’s life with experiences and destinations beyond imagination, it seems that the richness of a close friendship may fall to the wayside. Now, this does not have to be entirely compulsory. It is absolutely possible to maintain friendships and ties with family, but it is no doubt more difficult. For the homebody who enjoys the comforts of having a friend a five minutes’ drive away, traveling for long periods of time might be less than rewarding. On the flip side, if you choose to travel with your partner, friend, or family member you will surely see your relationship deepen. Traveling will bond you with teamwork, problem-solving, and learning more about one other.
3 Best Things About Travel
- Discovery – It is no secret that when you travel you will see new things, meet new people, learn lots, and experience different ways of life across the globe. There is nothing that can replace the knowledge and skills you acquire from this aspect. Seeing the world and how people live in radically contrasting scenarios will open your eyes and your mind. The simultaneous pulchritude and ugliness, tranquility and desolation, and order and chaos of the world will mold you into a completely different person than when you started. You might see horrifying things but you’ll also see amazing things. No amount of reading, watching documentaries, or talking about things will ever equate to the first-hand discoveries you make while traveling.
- Freedom – When you’re on the road you have true freedom. You are not governed or tied down by any one set of ways. You get to do whatever you want, whenever you want, all the time. I mean, freedom can be defined in many different respects. But I’ll tell you one thing: You will never feel as free as you do when you have no mortgage, no car insurance, no obligation to be anywhere unless you choose to, and the choice to up and leave whenever the whim strikes you. Whether you’re camping on a week-long hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, partying at a hole-in-the-wall hostel in Chiang Mai, or simply watching waves crash from the boardwalk in St. Kilda, you are in charge of your destiny. Your days and activities are subject to your impulses, and I can hardly imagine a life more free than that.
- Adventure – Life’s uncertainty becomes more extreme with travel. For example, back home, you could get hit by a bus on your way to work; out here, you could get eaten by a shark (there’s a much lower chance of the shark attack, however!). You never know what any day will bring, ever, whether you’re at home grinding out your 9 to 5 or you’re bungee jumping off a bridge in Costa Rica. People incessantly regurgitate the mantra, “Live every day as if it’s your last,” but immediately rescind with the reminder to “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.” So what gives our life this delicate balance of making the best of each day in every way without being supremely irresponsible? There’s no way to predict life, but there are undeniably ways to guide it in a certain direction. Ultimately, uncertainty is what makes us what we are. It’s what gives us purpose. It’s the reminder that we have an expiration date. So with this in mind, we do our best to make life the adventure that it should be. The unpredictability of whether or not we’ll wake up tomorrow shouldn’t scare us so much that we don’t try anything – it should make us realize that life is an opportunity. Traveling will most likely not kill you – in fact, it’ll make you come alive. But if it does kill you? Well, personally, I’d rather go getting eaten by a shark than hit by a bus.