Changing my mind

Before I left for my six month trip, I was incredibly excited. I’d been reading a lot of travel blogs and wondered whether I, too, was cut out for a nomadic lifestyle; moving from place to place for long periods of time. Spoiler: I’m not.

I had (and still have) dozens of niche career ideas that lit me up. See: sailor, trapeze artist, adventure sports guide, etc. Many of the things I thought that I could do or be have been discounted. They’re just not right for me. It’s been interesting to discover this, and luckily I have enough of these ideas that some getting rejected doesn’t leave me bereft of identity.

Spending time travelling alone made it much easier to see the things I really value, believe in and enjoy – even and especially when this involved changing my mind.

But given that my optimum length for a trip like this is actually more like four or five months, tops, why didn’t I just come home early?

Honestly, I really only considered it once. Even though the last few weeks were hard, I felt like I learnt more accurately that six months, for me, was too long. If I’d have left after 4, I might have always wondered. Plus there really weren’t any of the places I decided to visit that I would have been happy missing. I wanted to be excited about returning home, rather than sad that this adventure was ending, and I am.

On balance, my missing home wasn’t going to detract from the experience as much as leaving would. The reason the trip was so long in the first place was because there was so much I wanted to see. And I’m completely glad I got to see it.

As wonderful as travelling has been, I now know that I absolutely couldn’t do this indefinitely. Homesickness, which still seems to me childish, nevertheless means that to be happy, I want to stick in one place. At least for a few years at a time.

I also firmly reject the idea that to travel (whether short term 8f long term) makes you better (any changes it brings are due to trying and to enjoying different perspectives, rather than travel in and of itself). While I really enjoy it (at least for sub-6 month stints), I appreciate that it’s not for everyone. This came about from meeting a rather snobbish professional travel blogger and realising to my distress that I used to share some of his views.

That’s what it’s all about though, I think, trying enough things to actually know what you think. To allow yourself to change your mind.

It ain’t all fun and games

I’m not taking a very long holiday. Sometimes, travelling is hard. And sometimes, I’m exhausted.

I’ve been on the road for over four months and every day is new. That’s exciting,  but it also means I need a map to go anywhere.

My head is full of calculations;  time differences and currency conversions, budgets and street names and people’s names. I might not be speaking a different language anymore, but I still need to remember to use American vocabulary in order to be understood.

This isn’t a complaint.

I love travelling and am a firm believer that it’s not the easy things which are the most fulfilling. But I wanted to be honest, and honestly, I could sleep for a week.

The sheer amount of planning I need to do (at least if I want a place to stay in the next city) is huge and constant.

Sometimes homesickness takes me by surprise.

Perhaps it’s why I read so much, or actually look forward to long hours of solitude on buses. (I can’t remember the last time I was bored).