Long-Term World Travel: Are You Setting Yourself Up for Failure?

I recently read a blog post titled 5 Reasons NOT to Quit Your Job and Travel the World….and I totally agree! That’s right. I AGREE!

If you read the aforementioned post, you’ll see that author, Alexander Heyne (a fellow world traveler), argues that you will not find happiness, purpose or resolve your problems simply by traveling. Many travel bloggers (especially long-term travelers) say they’re ‘sick of the 9-5 grind’. They say they want to see the world ‘before it’s too late’. Sometimes they say they want to ‘escape my boring life’.

Well, those are some great reasons to travel…but oftentimes, people who leave home to travel end up living the same life while they are overseas. Or worse, they return to their same life.

It’s sad, but true. I’ve met travelers who leave home and only hang out with other travelers who share the same passport they do. They eat at McDonald’s and drink Coca-Cola every day. They speak their native language the whole time and even spend their hours watching TV shows from back home. Doing these things in moderation is fine when you’re on the road (we all get homesick at times), but the whole point of travel–especially long-term travel–should be to see and experience things that you can’t at home. If this isn’t your primary goal, then perhaps you’re running away from something.

So before you quit your job to travel for a year (or more), ask yourself if you’re running away from something or running towards something. If you are running away from something, rest assured it will be waiting for you once you get back. If you’re running towards something (or want to run towards something) then you have a lot of hard work ahead of you…and that shouldn’t be seen as a negative thing. It’s actually wonderful!

For those of you who want to run towards something meaningful, answer this very important question before and during your travels:

What do I want to get out of this trip?

Not only should you consider the purpose of the trip, but also think about why that specific place during that specific time of the year (or during that specific time of your life). What’s your real reason for going on this trip? Is your reason to see a new place? To try something new? Is it to take a break from a stressful situation? Or maybe you’re traveling without a reason.

Whatever your reason, make sure it’s clear before you hit the road. If it’s not, your trip will have been a waste of time.

YOUR TURN: What’s your purpose for traveling long-term ?

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