My Thoughts after a Full 2 Years Travelling

Profile Machu Picchu, 2 Years Travelling

This Wednesday marked 2 years since I set off for Vietnam, after quitting my job and selling off many of my earthly possessions. It’s surreal to think that I’ve been doing this homeless tourist thing for 2 whole years now. Boy was it a scary notion when I started, but it has strangely become my new normal. On this little anniversary of sorts, I thought I’d share my thoughts on this lifestyle and travel in general, interspersed with favourite photos from the last 2 years. I doubt they’ll be particularly insightful but what the hell.

 

It’s a Big, Big World

It really is. Two years and there’s still so much of this planet I’ve yet to see. Travelling full-time has allowed me to see more and different places than I could ever see otherwise and yet I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. Having now visited 57 countries, I know that’s more than many will ever get the chance to see, but there’s still so many more out there. Not to mention, for every country I’ve been to, I know there’s plenty of parts I’ve still yet to visit. That idea of seeing the entire world is totally unrealistic, but I have no intention of giving up.

Salar Uyuni, 2 Years Travelling

 

Travel Fatigue Sucks

Travel fatigue is like a food coma after Christmas lunch, even too much of a good thing can wear you out. It first hit me several years ago, when I did my first big trip to Europe. After 6 or so weeks of moving through Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia I crashed. Since then, I’ve found that the 6 week mark tends to hold true for me and I need to anticipate it when planning. This involves setting aside a couple of days where I break that routine of travelling between places, getting my bearings, sightseeing etc. and just veg out. It first came with guilt that I was spending time of my trip on something I could easily do at home, but now I appreciate it as a sort of pallet cleanser. Afterwards, I’m ready to go again.

Sheltered beach of La Piscina, Parque Tayrona, 2 Years Travelling

 

Craving Stability

When you’re travelling indefinitely, you often hear “I’m so jealous that you get to just travel” and its hundred variants. My immediate thought is “I’m so jealous of your stable life, with a steady pay check and your own bed.” I think both thoughts carry the same sentiment: “I like what I have but wouldn’t mind some of what you have too”. Have your cake and eat it too as it were. Hopefully sooner rather than later, I can build some stability into this lifestyle while maintaining the rest of it.

Peles Castle, 2 Years Travelling

 

It’s Not for Everyone

While it may seem ideal for a lot of people, not everyone is suited to living in a state of perpetual travel. I know people who have set out to do it, only to find that travelling indefinitely wasn’t for them. Whether it’s the stresses that come with negotiating constantly new surroundings or the longing for loved ones back home, there are obstacles that some people can’t or don’t want to overcome. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Who says that the only fulfilling way to travel is to do it one big long trip? Which leads me to…

The Trap, Plovdiv, 2 Years Travelling

 

People Travel Differently

The notion that there is a “right way” to travel stumps me. It’s so unbelievably arrogant to think that only your way of doing things is right. We all seek different things out of life, so it makes sense we would get different things out of travel. Just because other’s want to enjoy their experience different to you, doesn’t make your way any less right for you. I don’t see wanting to spend 2 weeks at an all-inclusive resort as any “better” or “worse” than trekking solo through some mountain villages. Different experiences for different people. Let’s stop judging others for the way they travel.

Roman Bridge of Ronda, 2 Years Travelling

 

Blogging is No Joke

When I started out, I had no idea how much work was involved in blogging. I don’t just mean writing the occasional posts, but trying to craft regular and engaging posts, trawling through thousands of photos, managing multiple social media accounts and connecting with as many people as possible to get your content out there. Trying to do all of this as well as earn income and sightsee regularly is immensely difficult. I know I’m still a fledgling at this, but I’ve got a newfound respect for successful, dedicated bloggers. There really is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that I ever could have realised.

Cesky Krumlov, 2 Years Travelling

 

Genuine People

There’s plenty of people out there that see tourists as nothing more than walking wallets. That’s because tourism is their business and its a competitive one at that. Starting in Vietnam definitely got my guard up to random strangers trying to chat with me, built rapport and make a sale. When you visit countries with lots of touts like that, it does build up a healthy dose of distrust in you. Thankfully, I’ve continued to come across genuine people throughout my travels that have reminded me that not everyone’s out to scam me. From the affable Polish Airbnb host who’s happy to chat for hours about this and that; the Moroccan carpet salesmen inviting me in for tea with no pressure to shop; to the Macedonian man who helped me find alternative accommodation upon arriving in the country. Remembering that there are kind, welcoming people throughout the world is important I think.

Chefchaouen, 2 Years Travelling

 

So Lucky

I’m under no illusions that I am immensely lucky to lead the life I do. To be born in a country and family that has allowed me to be able to afford living this dream is nothing but luck. That I don’t encounter prejudice and hate simply for my gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation certainly makes exploring the world considerably easier. It truly sucks that the wonderful experiences that travel offers are denied to some but that is sadly the way the world is. I know that I am extremely privileged to not only be one of the people who get to visit foreign lands leisurely, but to cobble together a lifestyle that allows me to do it frequently.

Orange Trees

 


What are your thoughts on my thoughts? Agree, Disagree? Please share in the comments below.

Why Not Pin It For Later

My Thoughts After 2 Full Years Travelling, via @travelsewhere

 


This post is part of Weekend Travel Inspiration at Albom Adventures and Weekend Wanderlust at A Brit and A Southerner. Please head on over for more great posts.

Weekend

WWP

30 Comment

  1. This post is really fantastic! While I’m not a full time traveller, I can really relate to some of the things you said, and your photos are just stunning! Thanks for sharing!

    1. David says:

      I think quite a few of these relate to all travellers, not just long term ones. Thanks for reading Becki.

  2. I absolutely loved this post, probably because I am in the process of selling everything and embarking on my own nomadic journey! I appreciate your honesty and have noted suggestions for myself – the biggest piece of advice I have picked up from this and from many other full time travellers, is to slow things down! That is what I intend to do and I know it will be hard as I live my life at 100 miles an hour and because I don’t know where my next pay check will come from, in the back of my mind I may think it’s a “waste” to stay in one place for slightly longer than I would when there is so much of the world to see … but reading this, I know I need to take your advice. Thank you for this most informative post! Long may your travelling life continue (well, as long as you would like it to anyway!)

    1. David says:

      Thanks so much Angie, glad you appreciated the post. Slowing things down is definitely a good approach. Best of luck with the next chapter.

  3. Lisa (Simple Sojourner) says:

    Great post, so many great tips and insights! Your pics are fabulous too. Would love to embark on a journey like this, maybe one day until then keep posting and I’ll enjoy your journeys.

    1. David says:

      Thanks as always for reading Lisa. Glad you enjoyed.

  4. An amazing post and I understand your experience. Its not easy and not for everyone. I like meeting genuine people and exploring new places and understanding the culture. I agree travel fatigue is awful and always great to stop and take a break. Your photos are amazing and loved your experience which will be helpful for other travelers 🙂 I will pin this for others to learn and take in some advice. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Such a great read, made me think about this whole traveling lifestyle…It is so true we all travel differently and it´s not for everyone. I guess I´m standing somewhere in the middle…. I´m obsessed with traveling and seing new places, but at the same time I love coming back home! So, on the one hand you have this infinite world to explore, and on the other you want a bit of stability every once in a while. It´s just so hard to have both sometimes. But one thing I know for sure – for us, travelers – routine is lethal…[lol] #WeekendWanderlust

  6. oana says:

    Your post made me think about the travel lifestyle. I always liked to travel and I am considering to become a full time traveler next year although I am a bit scared about the instability. Hopefully after my trip to Thailand in December I will easily take this decision. Thank you for sharing you thoughts about this!

  7. Upeksha says:

    A really interesting read. I agree with many of the sentiments you have here – especially the one about people travelling differently. And the photos are fantastic! #wkendtravelinspiration

  8. Garth says:

    A great read David, thanks for sharing what life is like travelling full time. I’ve always wondering if full time travellers get worn out sometimes like I do, and that’s just going on short multi centre holidays, but assumed you don’t, so that was an interesting insight. Thank you for your last paragraph aswell, many people have no idea that so many counties are illegal for LGBT travellers, and it’s something as a couple we face. I have to do a lot of research on laws, culture, safety and attitudes, before we can even considering visiting.

  9. Awesome article. Although currently living abroad, we’re not full time travellers at this stage, but I feel like you still hit the nail on the head. People always want a bit of what everyone else has! Blogging is a full time job in itself and requires huge dedication & determination. And yes, we all travel differently, let’s not shame others because it’s different to our own thoughts!

  10. This is a really engaging and interesting post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Enjoying seeking out new places and adventures 🙂

  11. Happy anniversary! Thanks for sharing your amazing photography and insightful musings. #wkendtravelinspiration

  12. A brilliant post. Thanks for sharing what you have learned and your insights.

  13. Allison says:

    This is excellent. I’ve always admired people who travel the world full time while also realizing it’s not for me. I need my stability. The opportunities I have to travel are even more enjoyable to me knowing I have a home to come back to. I love that you mentioned that people travel differently. It is so true. The important thing is gaining an appreciation for the wonderful world in which we live. #wkendtravelinspiration

  14. I agree with you about travel fatigue. Sometimes you just crave a place where everything isn’t a challenge. Then you come home for a while, or in your case just slow down a bit, and you crave the excitement (and hassle) of always being somewhere new.

  15. Zophia says:

    I like to add more points… travellers of your kind are crazy in a good way and inspiring. I know you are on the go, no rest, no inhibitions, deal with your fear but you experience freedom. I know some forks who travel without money and manage and its changed the definition of travel. You don’t have money, so should you not make time for travel… is travel a luxury… no… the world is big out there and you should travel, it would give you interesting experiences and a break from usual life.(: … also its good there are travel blogs to help travel aspirants dream and plan and understand. Your photos are simpily lovely. Also if your traveller, invest on camera and learn good photography skills… it will help a lot, I feel.

  16. Congratulations on reaching your two year mark! I have always wanted to live this kind of a lifestyle for a while and I have been for a few months to six months at a time and then my bank account kicks me in the butt and I have to go and find a job and settle somewhere for a bit to go out in the world again. It’s hard being away from the road and most times it’s just plain frustrating that I have to work for a living like most people do. Why can’t I just win the lottery haha? I agree about the fact there is so much going on behind the scenes for us bloggers and it’s very difficult to get our self out there and for this reason I appreciate you and other bloggers like yourself that engage and know the value of a well written comment of a social media share. PS! I would love to read about your trek to Machu Piccu!

  17. Helena says:

    Great read. So many of these things ring true. Fatigue is definitely one that I have experienced and I also felt guilt with just chilling out. Props to you for just quiting work and going!

  18. Oh wow. I can’t even imagine travelling for two years. That sounds scary as hell – congrats on the milestone!

  19. While I never traveled for as long as you I definitely missed stability and that was really the only thing I missed while wandering the globe. #weekendwanderlust

  20. This is really a fantastic, honest post. Thank you for taking time out of your busy travels to write about your experiences as a full-time traveler! As a traveler and wanna-be full-time traveler, I found I could relate to some of your points and took others away to chew on as I hope to approach a more nomadic lifestyle in the near future. Your particular comments on the “having cake and wanting it too” is very true. I think, as people, we are always looking for something new in our lives, no matter if our current life is excellent. I’m sure our wanting to be full-time travelers and leave our stable lifestyle could be seen as thinking the grass is greener. But there’s no wrong way to live your life, just as there’s no wrong way to travel, and wanting new things isn’t bad at all! 🙂 I hope you continue to travel the way you want to and continue to write posts about your experiences!

  21. I like the analogy of vegging out being like a pallet cleanser instead of a waste of time. I wasn’t a full time traveler, but I was an expat for 3 years who took lots and lots of trips. It was a good way to have stability while still chasing adventure. Sometimes trying to figure out how to have a “normal” life in a foreign country can be just as exciting as being able to flit off to a new place when things get boring. Thanks for linking up with #WkendTravelInspiration.

  22. Barry says:

    Great post David – really enjoyed reading it. You covered all the main areas I believe us ‘long term travellers’ have at some point in our travels. You’re so correct when you say everyone travel different, yet we’ve all met that traveller who is doing it the right way – and of course your way is the wrong way (in their eyes!) Travel burnout it something that I’ve come across a few times and to combat this try and stay in a place for at least one month these day. Sure it’s not always possible, but it helps me get a balance between travelling, keeping fit, and knuckling down to finish my online work.

    1. David says:

      Thanks Barry, glad you found some of my points ring true with you. I do agree that slow travel does help you with burnout but I can be a bit too jumpy for that sometimes.

  23. Michele says:

    Wonderful post isn’t it interesting how after traveling for a while you come to the same point……long term travel is not for everyone and for us not something we would want to do forever but I agree about the need to stop and have some down time every few weeks. Enjoy the next years of your travels.

    1. David says:

      Thanks Michele, I hope to. Even if you don’t travel long term, it is definitely ok to give your self some downtime and recharge.

  24. Congrats David on your anniversary! I do envy that you are able too travel wherever you please. I also quit my job in the US and sold all my belongings but only to move to Germany and travel around Europe while working as an English teacher. Now my new husband and I are debating the best way to live a more free life that would allow us to work from home and travel whenever, where ever we want. It’s good to know though about getting travel fatigue and that you make the time to buckle down and veg for a little bit! #Wkendtravelinspiration

  25. Great post, David, and good thoughts for everyone who travels a bit and starts thinking they want to chuck it all and go nomad! Mostly, though, I appreciate your thoughts on the right way to travel. I don’t understand “travel snobs,” especially when they actively discourage someone from traveling in their own way. Personally, I envy your travel style and enjoy your posts. On another note – love your photography! Well done!

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