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The Everyday Struggles only a Traveller will Understand:

Travellers are often caught between two worlds: life on the road, and life back home. More often than not, home feels less like home each time you return. To some, travel is not just an annual trip, a get-a-way or a phase of life; to the traveller, it is a way of life. Yet you feel an internal tug-of-war with competing priorities weighing down on you. You want to live a life surrounded by family and friends, yet the allure of the adventurous, nomadic life you have already experienced is calling you – it’s absolutely intoxicating.

When you start to settle down in one place, you often feel drawn elsewhere, like the ocean tide gently pulling you away. You daydream about all of the exotic places you somehow feel connected to and often reminisce in waves of nostalgia over distant memories of past adventures. You constantly compare your day-to-day life to your time spent traveling, and life at home resultantly feels monotonous, stagnant and somehow less meaningful, sparking waves of restlessness and a sense of urgency to take off again.

People may not understand you; sometimes you don’t even understand yourself. You don’t know entirely what you want, but you know that it lies both near and far. You watch as friends get married, buy homes and start families, and you’re envious yet indifferent; you’re priorities somehow feel so unconventional.

You resent the fact that you are doing what you are “supposed to” be doing and you long to break free; you work to simply afford to be able to work, a vicious cycle almost comical in its ridiculousness. You spend almost all your money on rent and you are acutely aware of the little left at the end of the month because every penny of it is designated to your ‘travel fund’.

You sit at an office cubicle all day, while you claustrophobically count down the hours until Friday, and the weeks until your precious vacation time. On weekends you desperately attempt to recharge and re-inspire yourself; to realign with the version of yourself found on the road; the version of yourself who you recall was more vivacious, spontaneous and free. You deeply understand that there is more to life – that experiences and memories will always be more valuable than possessions. You cannot wait until more money is saved, until the time is right, or until retirement – you yearn to live in the now.

You feel this way, because you’ve already had a taste of the unknown; you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone; you’ve widened your horizons. Traveling opens up your perspective and creates space for surreal experiences; it unearths opportunities to meet unique people and unveil new life lessons. These all make imprints in you that cannot be altered, reversed or suppressed. Each stop we make and each person we connect with, becomes an exchange that impacts us in some way, propelling us forward. So remember, these experiences happened exactly as they were meant to, ultimately to influence which direction you will choose to take in life.

As much as you may resent the highs and lows of feeling trapped between these two worlds, recognize that not everyone will know this feeling because not everyone will have the opportunity to travel. Traveling is a privilege. So cherish this feeling – its a reminder of your passion for life. In the end, whether you choose to sell all your belongings and book a one way ticket abroad, or you simply move on to a more ‘settled’ chapter in your life, know that travel will always be there. Learn to accept that it is a part of you, and you may find yourself building a life around travel, instead of trying so hard to fit travel into your life.

Can you relate? Let me know in the comments below!

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the everyday struggles only a traveller will understand- the pink backpack travel blog

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Dan said:
Wow, this one did hit home 😳 Saw myself a few years back before I hit the road for good 🙂
December 17, 2019 at 7:24 am said:
Definitely. It is ALL about balance yet the struggle is finding balance. I am working on it too :) Thanks for stopping by Penny xx
March 13, 2017 at 9:00 am said:
Thanks Lottie - and yes, it is so easy to forget that travel is indeed a privilege and to be grateful for all of our opportunities.
March 13, 2017 at 8:59 am said:
This was written from the POV of when I was working full time. Now I am a student studying what I love and am able to travel through my school and research so I am slowly building the life I want around travel vs. trying to squeeze travel into my life. Thanks for the comment xx
March 13, 2017 at 8:57 am said:
Thanks Catarina! xx
March 13, 2017 at 8:56 am said:
I completely agree :) This is my exact reason for travel. I also think the same lessons can be learned through mindfulness and reflection so it is a balance of learning through exploration and learning through relationships with family and friends.
March 13, 2017 at 8:55 am said:
Totally agree, I'm not ready for that either but I think it will happen when the time is right! Thanks for your insightful comment :)
March 13, 2017 at 8:54 am said:
It is definitely possible and so many women do it; I suppose it will look different for everyone and that is totally okay!
March 13, 2017 at 8:53 am said:
Ellis, I can relate to the feeling of restlessness. I am trying to find balance but it is a process :) Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the web!
March 13, 2017 at 8:51 am said:
Great to know I'm not the only one :) Thanks Becca
March 13, 2017 at 8:49 am said:
Thanks Dariel!! I feel the same way, I am a full time PhD student and am studying what I love but the travel industry is so "in your face" all the time that it's difficult to not feel pulled in 2 different directions.
March 13, 2017 at 8:48 am said:
Thank you Brooklyn! xx
March 13, 2017 at 8:45 am said:
Thanks so much Kelly! That is such a lovely compliment
March 13, 2017 at 8:44 am
Penny said:
I understand that inner struggle. When you are at home you want to explore and when you are exploring you always want to kickback a bit. I haven't been able to find the right balance yet. Maybe someday I will.
March 12, 2017 at 1:33 pm
Lottie Reeves said:
This is a great post! It's important to remember that travel is a privilege and that even if we choose to move to a more settled phase, the travel we have done will always stay with us.
March 12, 2017 at 9:33 am
Lara @ Find Your World Girl said:
Great post Steph! As someone who work solely to afford travel I can definitely understand your POV! So glad to hear that you are still loving though :)
March 11, 2017 at 3:54 pm
Catarina Palma said:
awesome post! My feeling is exactly !
March 11, 2017 at 2:56 pm
C-Ludik said:
I am convinced that we are lifelong learners and we can reach our full potential through continuous exploration the world and its many cultures… I always say that's the whole world is full of so many amazing places to see, great people to meet, delicious food to eat etc. so see it by yourself at least once !
March 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm
Kyntra Strickland said:
I completely understand this. I always feel caught between my desire to travel and my desire to begin a family. Priorities right now are travel. I'm sure when we begin our family travel will still be a priority, just not our top priority. I'm not ready for that yet. Thanks for sharing!
March 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm
Katalin said:
It is not easy, but possible to find a compromise between travel and even having a family. I don't think I will ever 'grow up' and be able to settle down.
March 11, 2017 at 5:42 am
Ellis said:
I can relate to everything in this article. Whenever I am too long in my own country I feel the need to go away on a journey. Sometimes I feel I need to settle down and have a bit more of a stable life with family and friends, but I always get restless in the end.
March 11, 2017 at 4:23 am
Becca said:
I relate to this entirely! Great post!!
March 10, 2017 at 11:27 pm
Dariel said:
How true! Even though I love my job, I just can't stop wanting to 'take a break', get out there and experience something else all the time even though my last break was like a month ago lol. Nice piece of work :)
March 10, 2017 at 10:33 pm
Brooklyn Murtaugh said:
This is written beautifully! And I completely agree. Lots of my friends are buying houses and having kids, and I'm here saving for my next trip!
March 10, 2017 at 10:17 pm
Kelly said:
You have a great writing style and truly capture how I feel and this idea that I am torn between two worlds and don't totally feel at home, at home. Always nice to hear that I am not the only one who doesn't want a comventional life.
March 10, 2017 at 10:05 pm said:
Thank you Les!
March 16, 2016 at 12:53 pm said:
Len, I couldn't agree more :) There is something special about getting lost in a place - it most certainly ends in adventure and I think we find more than just our way!
March 16, 2016 at 12:53 pm
Lesleigh said:
Beautifully written Steph! Very much agree.
March 14, 2016 at 6:49 pm
Len said:
Even though Korea was almost 8 years ago, I still dream and hope that I can find my way back there. I don't think all-inclusives or staying in one part of a country will suit me - rather, I'd like to get on a bus/metro/taxi/tuktuk and get purposely lost and learn about the people, the sights...such a thrill!
March 14, 2016 at 3:54 pm