Why I Don’t Think Long-Term Travel Is For Me – Right Now

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.

Travel

Travel – the quest to avoid scenes like this

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.

A bar cart. That's what it's all about.

A bar cart. That’s what it’s all about.

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.

DSC_0352

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.


What do you think of long-term travel?


  • I completely understand. I recently got to a point where I felt that travelling – something that used to get me so excited – was starting to stress me out. It became a kind of tick-the-box exercise where I was frantically trying to visit as many cities as possible.. It’s not fair on the travel! I think you’re doing the right thing and I’m excited to find out where you end up moving! ?

    • Andrea

      Hey, yeah I don’t want to get to that point either. I’m really learning to listen to what I actually want versus what I think is best/more fun/more ideal. And this is what I want right now. Cannot wait to find a place! 🙂

  • I think the need to settle down at some point in life is completely natural, kind of innate. It gives a sense of safety and stability which is especially important for women, I guess.

    I was like you in the past – always on the move, changing places of living, flats etc. Now I’m perfectly satisfied with my stable job, part-time travel lifestyle and the fact I’ve been living in one place for a year now 🙂 I even think that travelling is more attractive if you don’t do this all the time – you get to appreciate it more when you wait for it 🙂

    I wish you good luck in finding nice place which is always worth returning to!

    • Andrea

      Thank you so much, Joanna. I’m looking forward to finally finding somewhere – it will probably be in January now.

      It sounds like you’ve created a life and lifestyle that suit your needs perfectly. It must be really nice to find that balance? 🙂

      • Balance is everything 🙂
        I’m never happy to see a journey end but, when I get home, I really appreciate all the little comfy things which I don’t notice on daily basis – my own bed, darkness at night, air humidifier etc. Adventures are great but comforts of home are nice too 😉

        • Andrea

          Absolutely! It’s going to seem like such a luxury to me when I finally have all that again 🙂

  • This must be a difficult decision to make, but it totally makes sense. I particularly like how you can tell something is wrong when you want to move on at a point of emotional discomfort. Good for you for acknowledging that! And isn’t this the silliest thing: I crave a bar cart too! Even though I’m not a big boozer, that’s what signifies settled for me. Hahaha. Can’t wait to follow along with your choice, Andrea!

    • Andrea

      Thank you, Amanda 🙂 I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with everyone over the coming months. There will be plenty to talk about!

      The decision kind of came naturally. I’ve been building up to this point for a while now and in all honesty when we decided to go travelling last year my ex was the initial driving force behind the idea. I was starting to get cosy and content with being at home haha, but then when the opportunity to travel presented itself I couldn’t help myself but say yes, let’s go! Now I know, though, that the long-term thing isn’t really for me, so I’m looking forward to getting that place and buying that bar cart 😉

  • I understand!! All the things you listed that you want (a bookshelf, a yoga corner…), I want too, and I would LOVE to have someday! Constant travel is really stressful and wears me down. I think in this coming year, I may be settling a bit too, though not permanently… but rather just staying at one place for longer. Right now, we just got to Taipei, where we will be for the next 3 months, and I’m so excited to just be here for a while! I can’t wait to see where you decide to settle, and to see you making a home. 🙂

    • Andrea

      Yeah it wore me down, too. Unfortunately I’m not very good at working on the road. I tried my best and I did make it work, but I was just ‘getting by’ with my existing clients and didn’t really have the time to expand and try new things. So on the one hand I was enjoying all these travel experiences but on the other I felt that my work was suffering. I really admire people who can make the two work simultaneously, but I think I need more of a routine otherwise I get distracted haha. Taipei for three months sounds wonderful – looking forward to reading more about it through your posts. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • I always thought “wanderlust” is an overrated word to be honest (I’m sure most nomads will kill me for saying this). I believe most who keep on traveling do so not because they cannot bear to settle down, but because they have not found a place that they would love to call home, so they keep traveling and searching. The moment you feel like settling down somewhere, it is best to just do it and settle down. If it doesn’t work out, you can always leave. After all, the most important thing is to be happy.

    And as you have just said, who says you cannot travel while still having a home? There are a million ways to travel. Permanently being on the road is just one way of doing it, not the only way of doing it. There is no point to keep forcing yourself to be a nomad if you no longer feel like it.

    Good luck with your future choices. 🙂

    • Andrea

      Thank you so much 🙂 And yes, I agree – it’s not the only way to do it. I think when you have a travel blog and you look around you and see what everyone else is doing, it’s tempting to think “jeez, how will I ever compete if I stay in one place for longer than xyz months.” But I then realised that this isn’t about what xyz person is doing, it’s about what I am doing and what will ultimately make me happy. I still intend to travel – a lot. I just really need a space to call my own right now.

      P.s. I won’t tell anyone what you said about wanderlust 😉

  • I understand you perfectly Andrea. I just came back from a long trip and crave the feeling of being home: your own bed, own bathroom, own stuff. You can still travel without having to do it all the time.
    PS I love the dog! Be sure to post pictures of him 🙂

    • Andrea

      Thanks Monica – glad I’m not alone 🙂 Felt like a bit of a ‘sell out’ but I then realised that I and I alone make the rule in my life. Isn’t Dougie adorable?! I need that dog!!!

  • It’s such a hard balance! Settling down with a traveling heart 🙂 We are settled down now with a bookshelf and a bar cart, but keep traveling at least monthly sometimes more. Its been fantastic, but it’s super tiring, I would say even more than travel full time. Sigh. Keep on calibrating — we will all get there one day, I am positive!

    • Andrea

      Glad to hear you’re still traveling as much as you can! It sure is a tough balance to find, but one that I’m sure is attainable – somehow. Gulp! But I really do miss my home comforts – I got ridiculously excited about buying a French press the other day. That tells you everything that you need to know 🙂

  • I totally agree, I’m happy to keep on travelling for the foreseeable future, even having short-term bases like I have at the moment (working in Australia), but equally I can’t see myself doing this permanently. I do want a home eventually. I want some familiarity, to have somewhere to display cute homeware without worrying about it being temporary, to not live out of a suitcase, even to have pets. I think figuring out what you really want can be so hard though. I don’t like commitments as I had them for so long, so I’d still want some freedom to travel!

    • Andrea

      Oooo, you’re working in Australia – how are you finding it? Yeah, I’m so sick of living out of a suitcase! I cannot wait to finally have a wardrobe of my own again. But, like you said, I always need the freedom to travel as much as I can! If only I were rich…

      • Apologies, I only just saw your reply! It’s great here but it can be hard to find work. I think I got lucky; I was offered a job within a week of arriving in Brisbane, but a month later my partner is still searching! 🙁 Living costs are expensive but as soon as my partner gets a job we’ll be able to save a LOT as the wages make up for it!

        I also did some farm work which was really interesting, it wasn’t my plan to do it (when does travelling ever go to plan?!) but I’m glad I did. You meet such great people out in the country too. 🙂 That’s what travel is all about! Meeting people and doing things you never thought you would!

  • Escvelocity

    Canada? I’m going back in June/July, which is the perfect time to see the country (unless you really want to freeze to death). You will love it (and we need to be there at the same time!) – Abbas

    • Andrea

      I’d LOVE to come to Canada (especially with you!). Are you moving back there or going on a holiday? I have a very close friend in Montreal, too, so would love to plan a trip next year if I can.

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