I have a confession to make: I don’t think long-term travel is for me – right now.
Those of you who have been around for a while will know that I set out on a trip around the world last August with my then partner. I was full of excitement for the road that lay ahead: the endless possibilities, the chance to wake up in a different city every day if I chose to, all the passport stamps that I’d collect. I felt that my whole life had been leading up to that point in time, and I couldn’t wait to strap my backpack on and head into the unknown.
I was full of excitement for the road that lay ahead: the endless possibilities, the chance to wake up in a different city every day if I chose to, all the passport stamps that I’d collect.
I had an amazing time, but after nine months on the road we realised that we needed to be settled somewhere – mainly for my now ex, as it is difficult to build up a photography clientele base when you’re on the move. After we made the decision to stop, I felt at peace – I knew I wanted to settle but to also continue to travel as much as I humanly could.
When we broke up earlier this year, though, I decided I’d wait before making any drastic decisions about what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be. I started to wonder whether I should hit the road long-term again seeing as nothing was stopping me – I thankfully make a good living freelancing full-time, and I can afford to stay on the road if I want to.
However, now that it is coming to decision-making time, I keep getting drawn back to the same answer: I want a more permanent base.
I realise now that while I love travel and I’m more passionate about it than anything else in my life (other than writing, of course), over the years I’ve sometimes used it as a means of escaping an uncomfortable situation instead of sitting with whatever it is and trying to make things work. For example, four years ago I had reached the end of my tether in the stifling corporate job that I had. As I couldn’t find another job in Dubai that interested me enough, I decided to sell everything I owned, pack my bags and head on the road. This all happened within two months.
There’s no need for me to ‘run’ anymore. I can have the best of both worlds – the freedom to create from wherever it is I call home and to also travel as much as I feel like travelling.
While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with being spontaneous, I’ve realised it’s become something of a habit for me. The thought process goes a little bit like this:
“Oh I’m feeling some uncomfortable emotions right now. I can’t handle this. Maybe I should go to XYZ place? Yeah, that ought to make things better. I’m out of here.”
This isn’t healthy.
Luckily, I now have the life that I want – that is, I make money doing what I love from wherever I choose to base myself. There’s no need for me to ‘run’ anymore. I can have the best of both worlds – the freedom to create from wherever it is I call home and to also travel as much as I feel like travelling.
I’m craving some stability. I want a little place to myself – some place I can do up the way I want it. I want a massive bookshelf that’s struggling under the weight of all the books I’ve piled on to it. I want a meditation corner where I can ground myself every morning and also do some yoga. I want prints of all my travel photos plastered over the walls. I want a bar cart. I want a kitchen full of ingredients that I’ve collected while on the road. I want a place where I can invite friends over for dinner parties. I want a dog (not just any dog. THIS dog. And yes, I’m obsessed). I want a cosy corner where I can curl up at night, read my books and feel content.
This is what I want.
Travelling long-term while also working works for many people, including some of my favourite travel bloggers such as Carmen and Dave from Double-Barelled Travel and Jodi from Legal Nomads. But when I read some of my other favourites such as Brenna from This Battered Suitcase and Becki from Borders of Adventure who are both ‘settled’ right now I realise that you don’t need to be on the road all of the time to have interesting stories to share on your blog.
I love the beautiful chaos that comes with travel – the unpredictability, the mental scenes at airports and train stations, the excitement of arriving in a new place and not knowing what you’ll find and whom you’ll meet. However, I’m an introvert, and all these things also stress me out more than the average person. While the craziness is a novelty to me that makes me feel so ridiculously alive when I experience it in small doses, over time it can wear me down. And right now, I’ve listened to myself and what I want more than anything else is peace and stability.
I love the beautiful chaos that comes with travel – the unpredictability, the mental scenes at airports and train stations, the excitement of arriving in a new place and not knowing what you’ll find and whom you’ll meet. However, I’m an introvert, and all these things also stress me out more than the average person.
The beauty of getting older is that with trial and error you start to learn about what makes you happy and what doesn’t. When we’re younger we’re often filled with a fantasy of how we think things are – for me, that fantasy was of being on the road permanently and loving it. I thought it would be a magical cure to all my problems, but it turns out it wasn’t the case.
I don’t want travel to be a cure for my problems, which is why I’ve decided I won’t be staying on the road for the time being. Travel to me is all about adventure and magic and novelty and excitement, and I want to keep it that way. Sometimes I’ll go on longer trips, sometimes I’ll go on shorter trips, but I want to know I have a place I can call home, too. Maybe this will change in time, but I’m learning to listen to myself and my gut feeling – and that gut feeling is telling me to stay put right now.
Travel to me is all about adventure and magic and novelty and excitement, and I want to keep it that way.
So it looks like I’m going to be settling somewhere for the time being. That somewhere has yet to be decided on, although Nicosia is a major contender. Not only are rents really reasonable there, it’s close to my family, and it’s a wonderful city just waiting to be explored. Then there’s Athens, for very similar reasons.
Or on the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s the possibility of heading somewhere entirely new, like Japan, to teach English. This is one of my more outlandish ideas and one I may pursue next year.
One thing is for sure: this gal will be travelling a lot in 2016 (some places I’m keen to hit are Japan, Canada and Italy. Sweden is already confirmed! Blog post to follow soon), so loads more exciting destinations will be coming up on the blog in the very near future.
But it sure as hell will be nice to have some place to store my backpack when I get home.