I’ve Been Living As An Expat For Two Years And I’m Here To Tell You Why I Hate Traveling


I absolutely hate traveling.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE different countries. There is nothing better than watching the sunset over a new and strange horizon and feeling your own mortality as you realize that you are the product of 5 billion decisions that came before you. You are one of 8 BILLION the people on this planet and it’s only by a stroke of luck that you are growing up where you are. It’s no secret that experiencing different cultures broadens the mind and spirit.

But hell, traveling is expensive. It’s tiring and, at times (to me at least), it can feel super repetitive.

I’ve been to 20 different countries and lived as an expatriate in Paris, France for the last 2 years. How is it that I hate traveling?

Well you see—I don’t travel. I live. I vacation. I vacation to nearby cities from where I’m living in that moment. There is a huge and very distinct difference between those three words.

For instance…

What are some words you associate with ‘vacation’?

I’m sure many would say a good vacation includes the obvious essentials: Sleep. Laziness. Friends. Laughter. Cocktails. Suntanning. Relaxing. Massages. More Friends. More Sleep.

Therefore, I can’t help but smirk at the fact that the first place people think of when they hear these ‘vacation-y’ words is… the beach! Why is it that so many of us immediately associate a relaxed, lazy atmosphere with sand and sunshine…?

Why not be lazy in a big city?

My point is, if you consider me to be a “traveler” then, yes, I am the worst, laziest traveler ever. Ever. Ever. All the European churches look the same to me. I forget all the facts I learned on city tours within 2 hours. I can’t rate the “traditional cuisine” because I eat so fast that my senses cannot recall what food ever tastes or looks like.

In fact, my perfect day in a foreign city is spent watching the sunrise from my bed where I’d stay for a majority of the day. Maybe around noonish I’d walk around a new neighborhood to get a coffee, picnic in the sun for a bit…and PERHAPS I’d get a glass of wine at a cool bar in the night (JUST so long as I am back in bed by midnight!)

Here is the reality: I don’t travel, I vacation.

When I went to Vienna and Budapest last week, I wasn’t going to see the city, I was there to see friends. I was there to cuddle and catch up with my best mates, to make lazy brunches, and crack jokes that had me laugh so hard I could feel my intestines kicking me from the inside. (i.e, my perfect day on vacation in Vienna was already had, without even stepping out the door!)

So… NO! I have not been bitten by the travel bug!

(This one is for you mom and dad)

After graduation, I am not going to be TRAVELING. My goal is to be LIVING in a different country. I’ll live (perhaps) in Australia or Montreal or France and I’ll be taking vacations to different cities from there. The point is, I’ll be LIVING and integrating myself into ONE city and ONE culture for MORE than just 24 hours.

Someone recently put it well for me:

“You can’t spend less than 24 hours in a city and act like you are a credible source of information for other people.”

And it’s true. I mean, I’ve lived in Paris for more than 2 years and I still feel I have so much left to learn!

Traveling is exhausting and admittedly, quite expensive! However, living an expatriate life and vacationing is a completely different ballgame.

So, I say: Let’s all travel a little less and vacation a little more. Shall we?Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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