Why Do not Much more Persons Travel Extended-Term?


Nomadic Matt in Madagascar looking out at the sweeping view

Posted: 11/04/19 | November 4th, 2019

As travel blogging, remote function, and social media “influencing” have turn out to be extra mainstream, extra and extra folks have began to travel the globe (and turn out to be semi-permanent nomads). There are far extra folks going off on lengthy trips now than when I began traveling only a tiny more than a decade ago. There’s significantly less pushback now than in yesteryear when you say, “I’m going to travel for a while” alternatively of going correct to college or an workplace job.

But for all the gains that have been produced in terms of generating lengthy-term travel extra acceptable, it is nevertheless relatively uncommon.

Yes, extra folks are performing it, but it is nevertheless not substantial numbers. A 2017 study from Expedia shows that a single-week or two-week trips are the typical lengths of time that folks devote overseas every year.

Why do not extra folks travel lengthy-term?

Not the “ten years a nomad” sort. (Couple of folks are going to do that.) I’m referring to the “just for a handful of months on the road” sort.

Yes, lack of free of charge time has anything to do with it (specifically for us Americans!).

So does income.

In the United States, our “vacation culture” also plays a huge part in this. (See this post for extra on that.)

But I consider these are quick go-to excuses folks use to hide the genuine, deeper cause they do not travel.*

Soon after all, there are a lot of methods to travel inexpensive if you know exactly where to appear for suggestions, and there are a lot of folks who have the time to travel but do not. Revenue and time can not clarify it all.

So what are the genuine motives that preserve folks from traveling?

Worry and self-doubt.

Worry of operating out of income, becoming alone, feasible danger, obtaining off the profession trek, sick, obtaining no security net — there’s an endless list of fears folks have about travel. It is scary jumping headfirst into the unknown and leaving your complete life behind, with absolutely nothing but a backpack and a dream.

Our comfort zones may perhaps make us unhappy or bored at instances, but extra normally than not, they preserve us just pleased sufficient to resist alter. We may perhaps hate our routine, we may perhaps complain, we may perhaps daydream — but we do not normally alter. It is the devil we know. It is exactly where we really feel secure.

Plus, our DNA tells us to favor security more than threat. Why leave the cave to venture exactly where the monsters reside, when we can keep secure inside our shelter and reside a further day? To go out into the evening is to court danger and death. Our primitive brain screams to us: Keep right here! This is security! This is life!

So, when folks everywhere may dream of traveling the globe, it is only these whose need is powerful sufficient who head out — and keep out — on the road.

Read Also:  27 Golden Guidelines For Becoming a Master Traveler

But powerful sufficient to do what?

Robust sufficient to overcome the instincts — and societal norms — that inform you not to leave your secure harbor.

Robust sufficient to overcome the fears of folks who really like you — like my parents, who nevertheless to this day e mail me travel warnings and news of terrorist attacks.

Robust sufficient to overcome the negativity of these who share your dream — but not your intestinal fortitude.

But most importantly, powerful sufficient to overcome your self-doubt.

The concerns folks ask me (just after “Is it secure?”) are usually the very same, no matter whether by e mail or on my book tours:

“Do you meet travelers like myself out there?”

“Do you get lonely?”

“How do you deal with language difficulties?”

All of these concerns share an underlying theme: “I’m worried I do not have the expertise to survive.”

I know this self-doubt all also properly.

As I faced the daunting activity of turning my travel dreams into a reality back in 2006, I also worried about this. Though trudging by way of the seemingly endless preparations, I found a new everyday mantra: “Fuck, what am I obtaining myself into?”

I didn’t so substantially care about shirking my responsibilities. Bills disappear when you cancel the solutions that produce them. Automobiles payments go away when you sell your vehicle. And I knew my job at the hospital wasn’t going to be my profession, so I had no worries about walking away from it.

What worried me had been the individual expertise I believed I required to have to travel — the courage, the capability to go with the flow, the capability to speak to strangers, the self-confidence, the maturity — and no matter whether or not I had sufficient of any of them just after just two two-week trips more than two years to two nations that had been complete of English-speaking travelers like me.

Yes, I knew that a lot of folks travel the globe. I had observed hundreds of them in Thailand just after all. But in contrast to these folks, I wasn’t “hardened” or “experienced.” Heck, I got scammed 3 instances in a single day in Thailand, and in Costa Rica I got lost in a jungle!

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I was a sheltered kid who had under no circumstances ventured far beyond his secure harbor. Did I actually have what it took?

Worry and self-doubt whispered consistently in my ear.

But, becoming stubborn and obtaining currently committed to performing this trip, I couldn’t turn back.

I daydreamed about the crazy issues that would take place to me on the road. I’d make buddies from about the globe. I’d attempt adventure activities. I’d hike mountains and sail down exotic rivers. Locals would invite me out for drinks. I’d sip a latte, strike up a conversation with my gorgeous waitress, and then the subsequent point I’d know, we’d be at a wine bar, staring into every other’s eyes.

It was going to be just like these travel articles I’d study, or motion pictures I’d observed and romanticized.

Elsewhere was out there — and it was calling me.

And then, when I was ultimately out the road, I realized anything:

I was not Magellan.

I wasn’t setting sail into the unknown horizon, asking yourself if I was going to fall off a flat earth.

No, I was walking on properly-trod tourist trails. I had guidebooks. If all these backpackers in Thailand could do it, why couldn’t I? If 18-year-olds fresh out of higher college could handle a year about the globe, so could I. In truth, I had produced it by way of Costa Rica and Thailand. I had produced buddies there. I had talked to strangers.

And that is anything I inform travelers now.

We are not Magellan. We are not setting off into the blankness of history to chart new worlds. The subsequent Magellans will colonize the moon. We’re merely obtaining on an airplane and going exactly where other people have gone just before.

That is the distinction involving the early explorers and what we do: we’re attempting to have new experiences and understand about ourselves — but we are not uncovering blanks spots on a map. We’re walking in others’ footsteps, and we can be grateful to them even as we blaze new individual trails.

That does not make our journey significantly less particular. The globe is complete of new stories and adventures that are particular to us. I didn’t will need to find out Thailand to get pleasure from Thailand — the journey and encounter had been what mattered.


The hardest component of the journey is the mental preparation. When you are out of secure harbor, you will really feel the wind in your sails. Action begets action. As the shoreline drifts additional away, the wind picks up and carries you like Gulliver to unknown lands. And after you are out there, your fears fade away as excitement and a sense of adventure take more than.

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You are also busy obtaining entertaining to be concerned about worrying any longer.

If you are worried about obtaining the expertise to travel lengthy-term, do not. We’re all just figuring it out anyways. No a single knows what to do when they step out the door the 1st time.

And try to remember: millions have come just before you. They produced it. They also had been strangers in a strange land, devoid of buddies, loved ones, or a help method.

There had been folks and systems out there that helped them along the way.

These travelers produced it.

I produced it.

And, I guarantee, you will make it also.

*Note: I get that not everybody can travel (for other incredibly genuine motives), and I do not imply to imply that travel is for everybody. For extra on that, see this post.

Book Your Trip: Logistical Suggestions and Tricks

Book Your Flight
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