People say I have ‘caught the travel bug’, but I don’t like that term. When we think of a ‘bug’ we think of something inherently negative. As if my love for traveling the world and exploring new places is some sort of illness, some sort of sickness which I can’t recover from.
People are quick to judge, as always in life. They discourage what is not ‘normal’ and find it difficult to understand why someone is so keen to jump from job to job, country to country with no stability, no secure income and pretty much no clue what they are doing.
Friends and family think I should have ‘grown out of it’ by now or wish I would realize that travel is great for a few years but that I should want to put two feet on the ground and work on my career, my relationships and maybe even start a family. That I can’t keep ‘running away’ from reality.
They cannot get their head around the nomadic way of life so they judge it and they attempt to change you.
When enough people start to tell you that it’s probably time to sink your feet in one city, to get an office job and to start saving for your future…you will slowly start to listen to them.
You will return from your adventures in Australia, South Africa, Korea or Canada, just like I did no fewer than 5 times in 10 years, and you will try to settle. You’ll get a job, buy some new clothes and maybe even think about buying a car. You’ll try to reconnect with old school friends and start to socialize.
But if you’re a nomad at heart, just like I am, you’ll never fully belong.
So here we are, us nomadic souls, with a strong desire to escape, to roam, to hike, to fly…stuck in offices doing the 9-5 shift like everyone else. We will spend every cent we earn on experiences rather than things, preferring to go camping or surfing or skydiving than buying new possessions, but it won’t be enough. It won’t stop our uncontrollable hunger to see the world. We are not meant to stay in one place. it is not who we are.
You’ll start to dream, yet again, of distant lands in exotic locations where rent is never a problem, where beer is cheaper than water and where you meet new and interesting people every day. In real life, not on your phone or on Facebook, but in the flesh.
You will start browsing Skyscanner as if there’s no tomorrow. You’ll start planning your exit, planning your escape. You’ll become disheartened with life in your home country and slowly grow sick of doing the same things again and again and again.
You see, unfortunately for your friends and your family and all your loved ones, this is one bug, one illness, one state-of-being that you’re never going to recover from. It’s apart of you and probably always will be.
If I’ve caught anything over the past 29 years, I would say it’s a major case of wanderlust rather than any type of crazy travel bug. It’s an irresistible urge to go, to leave, to escape.
Like many nomadic warriors, my desire to travel and see the world is stronger than anything else inside of me. It is a turbulent, spinning, burning passion that won’t seem to go away.
My wanderlust defines me. It makes me who I am and it makes me want to be a better person each and every day.
My irresistible desire to travel is also a pretty amazing motivator in life. Seeing a picture of a deserted beach in Thailand or animals roaming freely in the great African plains gets my heart beating. It makes me smile, it makes me yearn, and it makes me work harder and longer than ever. For without money, there can be no travel.
What if money were no object?
I’m pretty sure everyone’s answer to this question is the same. We would all get out there and travel the world. Because, at the end of the day, we are all alike in a way. We all have a streak of wanderlust inside of us just dying to escape. We are all curious by nature and we all dream of a better life, with less stress, fewer worries, less hassle.
For me, and many others, a nomadic lifestyle is similar to winning the lottery. It’s a life with few worries, where finance and bills and money are never the most important thing in our everyday lives. It allows us to live the life we have always dreamed of, meeting new people and tasting new food and exploring new places.
We still work, of course, but we do jobs we enjoy and that we are passionate about. We write, we blog, we take photos. We teach English, we work in beach bars, we work in dive centers. We are aid workers, health workers, construction workers. We are entrepreneurs. Creatives. Authors. Poets. Travelers.
We are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons. We live, we love, we laugh. And we travel.
“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.”
Travel allows us to be free, to be present in the moment. Travel allows us to live in the here and the now. To be free from the weight of the past and free from any anticipation of what the future holds. Free to realize they we are the masters of own destiny and we ourselves are the only ones who can control how we feel about anything.
Leaving behind the comforts of our own home, and moving to the other side of the world allows us to see things for what they really are and allows us to give our time and energy to what really matters in life. What really matters to us.
Travel allows me to think happier thoughts. To listen to my emotions, and to choose to feel good, to feel better than I feel anywhere else. Travel allows me to be happy, always.
As much as I will never stop learning, never stop laughing and never stop living…I will also, for the rest of my life as I know it, never stop travelling.