“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson
At one time or another, most of us have had a longing to travel. To be somewhere, anywhere unfamiliar and new is an invigorating feeling and gives us something to look forward to. In my case, at the times in my life when wanderlust struck me, it wasn’t as much about going TO a specific place as it was leaving where I was.
People who are born with a longing for travel may be thought of as flighty or fearful of commitment. In fact, this is quite untrue! Those who love to roam are also as capable as anyone else of investing in other people and places on a long-term basis. In fact, traveling offers the most tangible life lessons in self-discovery, learning about different types of people, and self-sufficiency, that will ultimately allow one to confidently put down roots when the time comes….and with no regrets of not having experienced the things they wanted to.
Traveling can have its downsides. And the downsides of traveling can make you long for the comforts of home and even prepare you for settling down. Maybe you’ve experienced them…
You’ve seen some things
They say it’s good to “sow your oats” and do lots of things while you’re free and not tied down. Once you’ve accomplished those things, it stands to reason that you will feel more satisfied and ready to settle down. The hope is that you won’t be plagued by wondering what might have been if you had just taken that trip, and that you won’t spend your life feeling restless or wrestling with regret.
You simply get tired
Travel takes a lot of energy. In fact, it can be downright exhausting! Figuring out a place you know nothing about (and maybe where you don’t speak the language) can be very stressful and frustrating. You’re always on. You’re always learning, seeing, feeling, eating, drinking, running, experiencing, etc. All these things make travel so amazing…but at the same time, also just make you tired. Packing your bags every few days to move on to the next place can really start to take its toll and living out of a backpack can get old after a while. Having a home can start to sound nice.
You appreciate the relationships you’ve built
When you stay in one place, you have the ability to form relationships that can last a very long time. As a traveler, the people you meet tend to only stay in your life for the length of time you’re together in that place and then when you move on, so does the friendship. You make beautiful memories while traveling and meet some of the most incredible people you will ever come across in your whole life, but in most cases, permanence is not a part of it. It teaches you to appreciate those who have been in your life a long time and stuck by you through thick and thin. There is a lot to be said for a long shared history.
Traveling costs a lot
Unless you’re already moneybags, which most of us aren’t, traveling can drain your bank account! Even if it might be totally worth it to quit your job and spend all your savings on the experiences of seeing the places you want to see…. being broke in the long term is not easy. There may come a time when the consistency and comfort of a job, a roof over your head, and guaranteed money in your pocket have a greater appeal than the pull of the wild unknown.
Home is where the heart is
When all is said and done, home is where the heart is. There’s a reason for the word “homesick” and there are reasons why you feel out of sorts when you’re away from the comforts of home for too long. As a traveler, even when you’re having some of the best experiences of your life, you will find yourself longing for the familiarities of home. Missing those you love, missing the comfort you left behind. And the best thing about putting down roots and settling into a life at home is that travel is always out there for you to enjoy, and you will still have a home to come back to.