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 “get 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. I can soooo relate to this post! I’m 24 and travelled a fair bit, but whilst I can cross off places from my ever-growing checklist, I can’t help but say to myself “I will return someday, to see more and feel more.” There’s always new experiences, different people to meet, various ways to see the same thing (like a helicopter ride over a river would be different to cruising it!). It never ends, and I’m glad to say I’ve got the travel bug and it won’t ever go away~

    Love your photos by the way 🙂 Thanks for the great post!
    Julia, your new follower

  2. I feel like I have the travel bug too! I just found out what that is &have since diagnosed myself just now!..I started off driving to places that were w/n several hours from my house and once I started getting on flights and took a cruise, I feel that I am so addicted! It’s an impulse! And as soon as I get home from a trip and sit my bags on the floor, I’m looking for the next place to go. I have three or four trips in mind for two months coming up even though I’ll be finishing up my last three classes…I came across this site because I was wondering should I feel guilty for wanting to travel all the time? Is it a bad thing?? I mean I know there are a lot worse addictions, but I guess too much of anything is bad?? Idk! I feel like as long as you aren’t hurting yourself or anyone else, maybe it shouldn’t be a problem! But then I think about the financial aspect of it, but my urge has gotten the best of me these past few years!..I wonder should I just focus on school but these trips will be during weekends half way through the semester! Idk if I should feel guilty! ..Should I be saving more or enjoy my hard earned money on the things I love most?? Should I focus on other priorities or refocus my priorities? I’m not sure where I want to live, I’ve always moved from place to place in my hometown and I really do want to buy a house, but maybe I shouldn’t rush into it because a few people my age or younger has bought a house! I’m me so I have my own things I like to do and are sure about so it is what it is I guess! As long as you’re happy and not hurting yourself or others, then I guess go for it! Like we’ve said, there’s many other things worse than traveling to be addicted to! To each his own:)

  3. “The more you travel, the more you realize how EASY it is to travel. And that makes it really, really hard to stop.”

    Couldn’t agree more. I’m lucky that I actually travel a ton globally as part of my job (accounting—surprising eh?), and don’t need to take the leap by quitting to quench the travel bug :).

  4. Yep the bug got me too! I thought that when I left for Africa when I turned 18 that I would travel for a year and that would be me and then I would study something and marry someone blah blah blah a year and a half, a few unintentional dreds and ten pairs of harem pants later, I have now decided to quit fighting it!

  5. I feel your pain! I always say I’ve been bitten by the travel bug, and every time I think I’ve shaken it…here comes a new idea to go someplace else. Even though I don’t have children yet…I’m already planning to take them to Paris and Toronto when they are one-year old. Nope, I don’t think it’ll ever end…and, that is not unfortunate.

  6. What a wonderful side effect to have too!! I’ve also noticed that the more places I go, the more I want to keep going. The only problem for me with this is that I am currently a college student, so traveling all the time is more difficult. I still make it work though and people are always wondering where I find the time to jump around so much 🙂

  7. Travel addiction is awesome. It doesn’t ever just go away either. There is so much of the world to explore. It is always difficult to balance going back to places you love vs going to new places. But isn’t that half the fun of it!?

  8. Yep, I’m definitely addicted. Traveling does make you want to travel more, each place makes your list longer instead of shorter. I have tons of places I’d like to return to, but usually the pull of someplace new wins out. I don’t understand it when people say they’re going to travel to get it out of their system, or when people think I’m traveling to get it out of my system. Sorry, doesn’t work that way at all!

  9. I think you have sufficiently predicted my future!

    Just bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok, my first trip out of the USA. I’ll be working there for 6-12 months, but I’m already looking into the “next thing” and trying to figure out how to make it happen.

  10. This is totally true! I can’t stop myself from scanning for flights and looking at destinations. I already have a trip planned for practically every month for the rest of the year! And I still keep looking! I can’t help it!

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