Travel quotes like ‘Book a Ticket and Just Leave’ or ‘When in Doubt Travel’ are such common quotes on the internet and on our social media. They make travel look easy. They make leaving your job, your home, your life seem easy, and above all, they make it sound like it’s the right thing to do, always.
As you know I am the biggest advocate of travel and I love hearing from people who have decided to go travelling after speaking to me, but I don’t think that travel is the answer all of the time.
Getting over heartbreak is a big reason a lot of people go travelling, the reason they want to go travelling, and I get it. Why not swap your ordinary home, your stale memories, people you don’t want in your life, for exotic places, new friendships and drunken nights dancing on the beach.
Although I think that most people should travel and experience the world at least once, or in some cases for the rest of their lives, it requires the correct timing.
Going travelling to run away from something is not the answer.
Running away from getting a job, running away from an ex, running away from friends and family issues.
This is because all of these things, while they may seem physically far away once you’re on the other side of the world, are still mentally with you.
Travel is fun, it occupies your mind, the new people you meet can feel closer within a day than people you have known your whole life. But travel can be lonely, you’ll have to sit with yourself on an overnight bus for 12 hours with no one to speak to at some point and you’ll get bored explaining your story again and again to the new people who keep appearing in your life and then seem to leave as quickly as they appeared.
The right time to go is when you’ve healed yourself, when you’ve sorted out your issues at home, when you’ve worked for the trip.
Getting on the plane full of excitement rather than relief will be so much more impactful on what’s ahead of you.
I say all of this because I very nearly went travelling again just over a year ago. I’d broken up with someone, I’d lost my job, I hated my flat and the lease was ending.. so why not? I had the money, I could go.
I had a few things booked in for the coming months but nothing that I couldn’t cancel with a ‘sorry I’m going travelling’. People expect that of me after travelling on and off for 8 years.
But I didn’t and I didn’t go because I knew as much as I wanted to be back in South East Asia, I wanted to travel Central America and India and Africa, I would be going because I was running away.
Running away from the pain, running away from the effort, running away from my ‘reality’ at that time.
I’ve always been in a good place when I’ve travelled. I don’t think any of my trips have been due to running away.
My first trip to the USA in 2010 was probably the closest to this but I don’t think I was running. I was searching, searching for a more fulfilled and exciting life. More than I had in my home town, my too-grown-up past relationship and my old friendships.
Thankfully I found it and I have no regrets.
I also say this because a year later I feel ready to travel again. I’ve grown, I’ve healed, I’m happy, I’ve learned a lot, I’m not rushed, I have more clarity and it’s going to make it all a lot better!
(More details on the travel thing veryy soon I promise!)
So if you’re thinking about going travelling and you’re not sure if it’s the right time. Think about why you want to go, what you’re leaving at home, what you’ll return home to, what will occupy your mind when travel gets lonely.
Can you sit with that now? Because if you can’t, I think you should sit with it and then go.
Trust that the right time will come. Trust your intuition, and when it feels right, it will be right.
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