29 Sep The Highs and Lows of a Perpetual Traveller
In the last few years, I’ve become a ‘perpetual traveller’. Whether I realised I was going to become one or not is a different matter, but I am now pretty much a permanent tourist. The more you travel the more it opens you up to the world but I also see this ‘travel bug’ as a blessing and a curse.
Why’s it a curse? Because as every permanent backpacker knows, the longer you stay away from home and ‘normal society’, the more you realise you may never be able to go back to the world of mortgages, iphones and starbucks coffees. On returning home you switch on the television to discover there’s A-list celebrities you’ve never heard of drivelling on about who’s wearing what. Suddenly after squating over a Bali toilet on the other side of the world, these things don’t seem quite so significant.
My mother the other day told me how a friend from school I havent seen since I was about thirteen is now wining and dining magazine editors… or something along those lines. I let my mind drift off until my mother’s voice was a mere muffled sound on the telephone, before I snapped back into focus when I heard the dreaded line “When are you going to get a real job?”
My tanning-obsessed Mum was also the one who pointed out to me when I was an infant, “Vicky, it’s a curse to be a sunworshiper. You’re constantly chasing the sun whilst everyone else is content with staying indoors and getting on with things.” I see it as a great analogy for travel too.
Many of us start travelling to figure out what we really want, and in doing so get even more confused than when we started. As you travel for longer and longer you suddenly become aware that you want a life and a purpose and a future, and that you want to build something, but there’s one thing that hinders those plans…you don’t want to stop travelling. If you’re constantly moving from place to place, is that ever possible? Picking a place to go or settle, even if it’s not your home country, that’s a tough one.
The same goes for relationships- if you’re looking to meet a partner, travel can seriously put a spanner in the works. Meeting people who are going in opposite directions, from different countries… the logistics of finding someone who’ll be around longer than a few weeks is difficult.
Perpetual travel can take its toll on the body and mind, you’re rediculously happy but exhausted at the same time. Endlessly partying, drinking, talking to new people, taking night trains, seeing and doing new things can make you feel on top of the world, but at the same time you can forget to really sit down and think about how you feel about your life.
Should we all just give up and go home? Of course not. That would give our sceptics just too much satisfaction. Plus if you go home you’ll have to pay off that dreaded student loan…