Instagram paints a nice picture of long-term travel, but it is not accurate. I have traveled virtually non-stop over the past four years and, while it is certainly great and I love doing it, there are serious disadvantages. It is not for everyone.
Since I studied at home in Ireland in 201
Sounds incredible, right? And it is. I love to travel like this, but the longer I do it, the more I can see the disadvantages. There are many "digital nomads", "#vanlife" people and the like who post a distorted, positive image of constant travel on Instagram. If you follow them, you would be forgiven if you think that they are all beach days and coconuts. There is much more than that – not all good.
You lose your life at home
In the four years that I have been away, life at home in Ireland has continued without me. My friends have built a career, started serious relationships, fought, dropped out and generally continued their lives. If I go back a few months every year, things are not the same.
Don't get me wrong, I still love my childhood friends – they are some of my best friends in the world – but their life is safe I have not paused while I was away. They have changed a lot, and I have changed a lot.
After traveling for a few years, it has become increasingly difficult to spend time at home. I've been left a little behind. If I went back permanently, I am sure things would gradually find a new normal, but as it looks now, I am an outsider.
You miss a lot
And while things change at home, you miss a lot. I was the best man at a wedding earlier this year, and it took me several thousand dollars to be there. I can pay for nothing else than for the biggest events. Early on, I missed fairly everyday things such as 27th birthday parties. In recent years, however, I have started to miss larger events.
Only this year I missed another marriage and two of the thirtieth of my best friends. By coincidence I was home when my elderly dog died, so I could say goodbye, but I doubt I will be so lucky with the next one. I say goodbye to him every time I leave.
If I keep traveling, I will only miss more events like this. Births and birthdays, weddings and funerals. They will all continue to happen, whether I am here or not.
Relationships are difficult to build
It's easy to meet a lot of great people when you travel – it's a lot harder to build or maintain a real relationship with them.
When you meet people who travel, you tend to go all in, fast. Life stories and confessions come out. You make contact with people quickly and often spend days or weeks with each other. I made some incredible friends this way.
The problem is that your lives overlap only for a short time. You may feel like you will be best friends forever and you promise to meet again, but it is rare. I have made this happen to dozens of people.
And good luck dating. If maintaining friendships is difficult, maintaining romantic relationships is difficult. Short-term flings are fine, but something more serious is loaded with misunderstandings, sacrifices and pain.
Working while traveling is a difficult skill to master
I have had the freedom to keep traveling because I keep up to date while I work. I think being able to work anywhere is really one of my top skills, but not everyone is able to do it, and it can be a real challenge.
Most people who travel are on vacation. They are there to have fun, view the sights and relax. If they want to party on a Monday evening, they can and will.
Unfortunately, this means that most people you meet and are friends with have a totally different local lifestyle than you. They want to go out for long meals and day drinks. And believe me, you want to do it too.
Resisting the temptation to treat life as a vacation is one of the most challenging parts of long-term travel. I could write it and pack it on the outstanding invoices for a month or two. Then I would be broke.
Some people get it, and the popularity of online work on Instagram has helped, but many people don't. They try to seduce you with trips, activities, drinks and parties. They don't do it out of badness, but because they haven't fully understood that the only way you can keep traveling is if you don't treat it as a vacation.
Although it is absolutely worth it, it is still difficult to say no all the time. It's hard to sit alone in a cafe and work while your new friends are having fun. And it's hard to do it all again the next day, at the next location.
It is difficult to keep a routine woman at home
Routine can be annoying, but it can also be empowerment. A good routine frees you from making constant decisions and keeps you productive and healthy. It is almost impossible to stick to it while you are traveling.
Every day you have to decide where you will eat, where you will work and what you will do. If you want to eat healthily or train, you should constantly look for good restaurants and gyms. If you don't do it actively, you suddenly notice that you skip the gym to eat pizza.
And so it is with every part of your day. I always have to find coffee shops where the WiFi is good enough to work. I try to work & # 39; s first so that it is ready, but when I go from location it is often impossible, which means I & # 39; have to work in the evening when I am tired and smelly.
My favorite thing about going home for a month or two is that I am able to get a rock-solid routine. I can get up at the same time and start working immediately before I go to the gym and get the same sandwich from the same store on the way home. I always feel much more productive there.
But when you are traveling, you simply cannot do it. The novelty is great, but it is also physically and mentally exhausting.
I love to travel, and I have been very lucky to do it for the past four years. However, they are not all coconuts. It was difficult, I almost ran into problems, and I often looked at flights home. If you want to do it, go for it. But don't look at those Instagram accounts and think it will all be perfect.