Travel Side Effects Part 3: Travel Addiction

I’ve written in the past about the side effects of long term travel like a restless heart, a new perspective on the world. But maybe one of the most insidious and secret effects of loving travel is the increased need for more and more travel to get your fix.

More than once I’ve heard people say that they will travel while they’re young to β€œget it out of their system,” before heading off to start a career and sedentary life. What I don’t tell them, and what they probably don’t want to hear, is that travel isn’t the kind of hobby you can just shake out of your system. In fact it’s the complete opposite: the more you travel, the more you feel you have to.

In this sense travel is less like a right of passage or life experience, and more like a demanding and raging addiction. The more I travel, the bigger the world seems to get, and the more I feel the insatiable need to keep moving, keep exploring and keep experiencing the great wide universe.

A Growing List

I would like to say that I have a list of places I want to visit, and I check them off as I go along. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like this.

Rarely do I feel like I’ve truly seen and experienced a place with enough satisfaction that I couldn’t benefit from going back. In fact, the more I see, the more I feel I still need to see- with each trip and experience I come away with half a dozen new ideas for my non-existent bucket list.

Besalu, Costa Brava Spain

Last year I finally visited Catalonia, and now not only do I need to go back to take another more in depth crack at Barcelona, I also discovered a whole world of new destinations I haven’t yet seen: the Pyrenees, Tarragonna, basically everywhere in Costa Brava besides Girona. And this is all just one small corner of Spain. You could easily spend years just getting to know this one country.

Travel opens your heart and mind to a world of places and possibilities. I want to go back to just about every country I’ve ever been to, and I’m constantly discovering new cool places I’d like to go. So every day my wanderlust just grows and grows, which is a real problem coupled with the second thing travel does to you:

Easier to Make the Leap

Hoi An, Vietnam

Once you’ve broken that fragile membrane between what you can imagine and what you can do, but it gets easier and easier each time to crash through. The more you travel, the more you realize how EASY it is to travel. And that makes it really, really hard to stop.

In my dazed procrastination state I find myself only half-consciously researching flights to Turkey, holidays to New York, travel deals to Central America. I can’t stop myself, even though I have other commitments. I just want to go, go, go all the time. I would too, if I found the right deal for my paltry current travel budget. I’d jet off to Nicaragua tomorrow.

Seriously, the pull of travel is so strong that people will sell all of their belongings, quit their jobs and leave their homes just to satisfy the intense cravings. When you put it like that it sounds a little dangerous doesn’t it?

How do you fight travel addiction? I don’t know. I’m not sure I want to know. I’m having too much fun!

Tayrona, Colombia

Do You Suffer From Travel Addiction?

This post was written by me, brought to you by Travel Bag.

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34 thoughts on “Travel Side Effects Part 3: Travel Addiction”

  1. Oh yes! I am kind of a homebody and am pretty sure we’ll want to come home and settle down after our RTW trip, but then again, you never know… Living a life of permanent travel doesn’t sound so bad either πŸ™‚

  2. So true!

    When I first started traveling I’d return home and not get stir crazy for a long while but the more I’ve gone away the more sooner I want to go away again. Now, if I’m home for a month I’m itching to buy a plane ticket!

  3. Oh ya, we’re addicted to travel..It’s definitely our way of life. For us, it’s all about being free and doing what truly makes us happy. Shouldn’t everyone be happy?! We think so πŸ™‚

    Like you, we’re constantly looking at flights to new places, planning and re-planning trips and always talking about the next journey.

    There’s no such thing as “getting it out of your system”. Once the travel bug gets in you, it’s got you!

    Cheers for the post.

  4. I seriously never anticipated that when we left on our extended trip 8 months ago that travel would prove to be so addictive! Like many others, my husband and I entered into this whole thing thinking that we would have an amazing year or two where we’d get to scratch all these places off our travel list.

    Only it has completely not worked out that way. Not only have we loved and wanted to return to so many of the places we’ve visited, but now places we hadn’t even seriously considered are now calling to us. Before I was only mildly interested in South America and Central Asia, and now I can’t WAIT to see these places for myself. It really is a sickness!

  5. Yup! I’m on the tail end of a 5 month trip right now and people keep asking me if I feel ready to settle down when I return. But “settling down” sounds a whole lot like “settling” to me, which I just can’t see myself doing. Maybe I’ll have an apartment and try to the real world for awhile, but I know that my travel addiction will pull me back sooner rather than later! And I’m totally OK with that. πŸ™‚

  6. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this topic recently, and I couldn’t agree more. I love the comforts of home like my bed and being able to cook, but the pull to travel is so much stronger it drives me mental and even makes me a bit depressed to be home.

    Like you said, the world is so big, and I’m hungry to see it all.

  7. Oh, I feel your pain! Not only do I suffer feel the pull of travel when I’m at home, but also when I’m already travelling; I dream about “the next place” and all the other places in the world I could be right now and how much better they could be than where I currently am. It’s a serious problem!

  8. It’s the world’s fault for being interesting. And it has a way of keeping you coming back. Once you’re “done” visiting everything, it’ll have been several decades and it’ll be worth going all over again. That’s how they get you.

  9. I agree with everything! Even when I lived the amazing, travel-filled life of an exchange student in Portugal, I was constantly researching where I could go next… I’m afraid it’ll never stop πŸ™‚

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