Why Being a Long Term Traveller (Sometimes) Sucks

Why Being a Long Term Traveller (Sometimes) Sucks
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*GASP!* You’ve been traveling for over three years straight?! I’m so jealous of your life! I wish I could do that!

These are the words that I’m sick to death of hearing. If I’m in a good mood I’ll give you a smile in response. If I’m in a realistic mood I’ll straight up tell you that while sometimes it rocks, sometimes it downright sucks. Some days I fucking hate being a nomad. But I simply am one. I can’t turn myself into a person who is perfectly content in a sedentary life, so I have to just put up with it, suck it up, and keep on moving.

Cause that’s what I do; I move.

A few month trip is a glorious adventure filled with highs and lows, new friends from around the world who you’re just positive you’ll stay in touch with forever. Then you return home, perhaps with a twinge of sadness, only to be reunited with all your favourite humans, rejoicing at your return. You regale them with tales of your travels, and while you may miss the road, you’re also pretty happy to be home.

That’s a trip.

I, on the other hand, have no choice but to live a complete nomadic existence. I have no place I identify as home. I have few very close friends, and they certainly can’t all be found in one town – hell, they’re spread across the entire damn globe. My home is my backpack, my tent, myself.

Some of you are thinking how utterly freeing that must be…

Driven by the irony that only being shackled to the road may ever I be free. -Frank Turner

 

And it is freeing. But it’s also fucking hard as hell. Do you have any idea how lonely I get? There aren’t always people around that you connect with (in fact there rarely are) and when you’re as antisocial as me you cringe at the thought of making small talk for an hour with someone you have nothing in common with (and who will almost certainly say the opening line of this article).

And bored. I get so bored without anyone to talk to. Oh sure, I could go see some museum or climb that hill for a stunning view. I could go for a swim or a hike or whatever the hell is around. I’ve done it all and I’ve done none of it; sometimes doing these things alone, especially when I’ve done similar things before anyways, just feels empty.

Then there are the times I run out of money and I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do for food or shelter until I am forced to figure it out. Shall I be trying dumpster diving today? I’m inexperienced at it so it may prove difficult. I’m excellent at finding a place to stash my tent, but being a chick on her own, some spots can be sketchier than others. Is that the wind outside my tent or someone about to rob and murder me? (It’s always the wind, but that never stops me from staying awake terrified.)

Being a nomad has transformed me from someone who loved chatting with anyone and everyone to preferring to listen to music over making small talk with idiots (or non-idiots I just don’t connect with). It has shown me my own resourcefulness in the face of supposed disasters. I have found out that I can do absolutely anything I want with my life, and I can go anywhere. Making decisions has become increasingly more difficult with this realization, but I’ll still choose my freedom over a lack thereof which would provide for easier decision making.

I have no idea what I’m doing nor where I’m headed. This is just my life. I’m a nomad and some days it’s the coolest lifestyle ever, while others it’s just bloody awful. Much like any other life.

This is just who I am.

Perhaps next time I receive the typical response of excitement towards my lifestyle I shall respond:

*GASP!* You’ve been sedentary for over three years?! I’m so jealous of your lifestyle!

Cause I’d love to feel satisfaction in a so-called normal life, but that just isn’t me.

So if you’re a nomad, go be a nomad, but know you’ve got a hell of a lot of sacrifices ahead. And if you aren’t, for god sake enjoy your little trips and don’t be jealous of me, cause we’re entirely different types of people, and long term travel ain’t what you think it is.

Danielle Ditzian

Thinking of taking a long trip? Check out this long term travel planning post, a balanced view from a fellow experienced traveller!

Danie

Danie is a lovable and insane digital nomad of sorts. If you ever wondered what's a nomad, you've come to the right place. She enjoys oversharing, telling every detail of her life, and chilling on the beach, among other things. Danie is rather odd, and she likes it that way. Be sure to subscribe to hear more of her ramblings, and find out when Danie finally gets to fulfill her biggest dream: cuddling a platypus.

9 Comments:

  1. Wow.

    What a brilliant read. So resonated with my experience even down to quoting Frank Turner (something I had only just done myself, having returned from India in the early hours of this morning and already having clothes washed, dried and in a bag “somewhere secret somewhere safe and somewhere close to the door”)

    It is indeed a lonely existence. I too wish I was able to be content with the mundane. I have tried. My uni best friends all work for commercial banks and spend their weekends converting lofts or whatever it is that grown-up people do while I am preparing for the next stage of the adventure.

    I thought that having a child would change it, but it merely turned me into a full time part time adventurer, awaiting her turning into an adult and opening up longer roads for me.

    And as for finding I have no interest in others tales, it is a curse. Some tales are worth hearing, most are less so. Do I really want to searching for cheese toasties with tie-dyed gap yah people or tucking into a masala dosa with a Tamil truck driver quizzing me about cricket?

    Lasting friendships that become more than an add on fakebook? Few to find.

    So yeah, thanks for arming me with a few truths for those who envy the selfish life of a nomad.

    • It’s so nice to hear someone who really relates to the whole experience – makes it feel less lonely, even if it’s from a stranger a world away!

      • What’s the saying? A stranger is just a friend you’ve never met. Or something equally glib and vacuous.

        Glad to resonate.

        Keep shining!

  2. Can really really relate to this. People do not realize the deep lonliness that is involved in being a nomad.

  3. This is quite possibly one of the best long term travel articles I have ever read. I love the honesty and openness. It’s good to hear that there is so one else out there with no home but the road. I’ve just recently started on my nomadic journey but the fears you mentioned are some of the main ones I worry about. Thanks for sharing.

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