What comes to your mind when you think of traveling?
The pictures you constantly see on your timelines? The road trip you took last summer? Watching the sunset on a beach after a day of lying out and swimming in the ocean? A family vacation you took growing up? Backpacking through Europe? Eating street food in bizarre countries? Hiking to the top of a mountain? Riding camels and sleeping in the desert?
There are the glamorous parts of travel that everyone envisions in their own way.
Then there is the other side.
The part that isn’t so glamorous. It’s not all adventurous moments you capture through your camera lens.
With travel, just like “real life”, there will be hard times and you can’t be naïve enough to think there won’t be. There will be the times you wish you could just go home and be surrounded by familiar faces and places. There will be weddings you can’t attend, birthdays you can’t celebrate, holidays where you can’t be surrounded by family and traditions.
You will leave pieces of your heart with the friends you met on the train traveling through Europe. You will leave pieces of your heart in the hostels you spent nights in having deep conversations. You will leave pieces of your heart in the ocean as you scuba dive to great depths. You will leave parts of your heart in National Parks as you road trip through the United States.
You will leave pieces of your heart in every meaningful conversation you have with every person you encounter, but you will especially leave pieces of your heart in whatever place you chose to call “home.”
Home might not be a place to you, but it is always a feeling. Home is where you feel safe; it’s your security. It’s the place where you don’t have to worry about anything; it’s essentially your comfort zone.
But with a life of travel you might not have that.
There are going to be lonely nights. Nights where all you want to do is hug your mom and tell her everything that’s building up inside your head. There are going to be nights where you can’t help but wonder if leaving home for this lifestyle was ever worth it because while you’re making beautiful memories, so are you friends and they are doing it together without you. Their lives haven’t skipped a beat since you left and that’s hard to watch. There are going to be nights where all you want is to be in your own bed. The bed you left days, months, or years ago, but you can still remember the feeling of coming home after a long day and diving into it.
You can still remember how there is almost no greater feeling.
It all gets worse knowing you can’t just hop in your car and go to your parent’s house, your best friend’s house, or even your significant other’s house if they aren’t with you on your journey. That is the hardest part. You can’t just call your friends tell them you miss them and make dinner plans for Friday night when you’re halfway around the world.
And maybe even part of you is getting eaten up by the fact while you are out experiencing the world in it’s very raw form, doing things people dream of, but you are essentially alone. Unless you are lucky enough to find someone to ditch conformity and head down the road of adventures with you.
But if not, while you are out teaching English in South Korea your best friend is getting engaged. While you are out volunteering at an elephant sanctuary, your neighbor you grew up with is having her first baby. While you are taking the leap out of an airplane, your former co-worker is making the leap with her husband to buy their first house. And while you are excited for them, you can’t help but feel almost a little behind.
Because as much as you tell yourself you don’t want that monotonous lifestyle, there is part of you that still is a little envious of it. Only because it is everything you don’t have and we all know we’re notorious for wanting what we can’t have.
There will be ups and down of travel, but that is how life works. As incredible and exhilarating as a life of travel is there will also be hard times, wondering if it was worth it to leave everything you’ve ever known. The important thing to remember is as much as you might be missing out on girls nights with your best friends, they are spending their lives making their own adventures too. Maybe they aren’t cave diving, but they are starting families and kicking ass in their careers. Each of us has a different path to take and life will lead you where you’re supposed to be.
Don’t let difficult times stop you from doing what you love because there will always be hard times no matter what path you take.