Thursday, July 5, 2018

Why Long-term Travel Isn't For Me

Five minutes after we departed Changi International Airport, the seatbelt sign has finally been switched off by the captain. The cabin crew stood up and started to serve hot meals. To kill time, I watched Dear Other Self on my in-flight entertainment system. The Filo movie was about a working girl on her mid-20s who tried to venture travel blogging and long-term travel. I couldn't help but think what is it like to be in her shoes.

What if one day I would just quit my job, pack my bags, and just travel around the world?

Or maybe not.

For the past few years, social media has been helpful, especially in travel and tourism. We have seen some who are "living the life through traveling" on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. It is true that they have brought us to other places by just watching their videos or browse their blogs. A feed filled with turquoise and pristine waters of Maldives and Thailand, verdant towering landscapes and lush jungles of Indonesia and the Philippines, or the mouthwatering cuisines can make the working class easily jealous.  In this day and age, millennials are pretty much obsessed with curating their social media feed – that their well-curated Instagram feed should be parallel with their life. 

Real talk, long-term travel is not always pretty in real life.

I have been traveling for the past years. I wouldn't deny that traveling is indeed a life-changing experience. It opened up my mind as I immerse in an unfamiliar culture, explore the uncharted territories, and experience life outside my comfort zone. Some of my friends who know my obsession with traveling have kept on telling me that I should just pack my bags and leave everything behind. Sure, there are digital nomads who have successfully funded their travels through blogging and online entrepreneurship.

But, you know what? I wasn't really tempted to do it. Not even an ounce of impulse. I have travel blogger friends who have tried it, and by just hearing their stories about the ugly side of makes it more discouraging than ever. Having said that, long-term travel isn't really for everyone.

I know I can be impulsive when it comes to traveling, but I always make sure that I plan ahead of time. I write itineraries, but I don't religiously follow everything. Back in grade school, I'd always look forward to summer breaks because that's the only time that I could travel to far places with my family and friends. Now that I have work with paid leaves, I can choose where and when to travel. I get giddy and excited every time I plan my vacation – from booking flights, hotel accommodation, and my transportation. While at work, I count the days before the trip. I read blogs, watch related vlogs, and even start planning on my own content. The excitement escalates as the day of my travel draws nearer. And when my trip comes to an end, I would experience separation anxiety, and I'll be in denial that I'm flying be back home and resume the daily hustle of life. Truth be told, I would gladly take that kind of life.

In long-term travel, there's this feeling of uncertainty. I am the type of traveler who always thinks about tomorrow. I want to know if I would still be staying in this place for a long time or not. I want to know if I still have food to eat. Things like these will definitely make me anxious, and it might affect my work performance as a digital nomad. At times, it can be lonely. As a person who seldom interacts with strangers, life on the road can be really tough. Come to think of it, most travel bloggers who post picture-perfect grams and videos are sponsored. Travel companies pay for their trips, making their travel life easier and more comfortable.

At the end of the day, I would always long for home. Home is where our heart is, and nothing beats the feeling of belongingness. Sure, there's Skype or Facetime, but nothing beats a warm hug from them. I am not saying that you shouldn't try long-term traveling. Just take a leap, and do it. No one's stopping you from doing it, however, everyone should take this advice: Travel at your own pace.

As the plane touched down the runway, I couldn't help but smile. I know that I'll resume to the daily norms of life in the days to come, but heck, at the end of the day, I would love to lie down on my bed and rest my head on my old, familiar pillow.


  1. I love this Kuya! I work remotely and I can just choose to pack my bags, buy a one-way ticket to anywhere, and not come back for however long I want. But I haven't done this yet because I long for familiarity. Maybe I'll try it one day but for now, I want to keep coming back home :)

  2. Hi, Pearl! Idk, I will always long for home even I’ve already fallen in love with the destination (*coughs Australia coughs). Iba pa rin ang feeling when you’re flying back home tas you’re excited to tell your stories from your previous trips. :)

  3. Same here! No matter how much I love traveling, I would still crave home cooked meals and lazy days at home watching Netflix. Lol

    1. Haha true! Home is where the heart (and lami na food) is.


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