1. Your friends know better than to ask to see pictures from your latest adventure. They understand that if they ask, you’ll take the bait, and trot out 400 photos, all of which have in depth descriptions to go along with them.
2. You have life event FOMO. You’re not concerned about missing bar trips, or 4th of July festivities, but you hate to miss the milestones in your friends’ lives. You’re always scared you’ll have to compromise and skip someone’s wedding, or baby shower. The desire to be there to watch your friends build new lives is almost strong enough to make you stay put.
3. Your friends have suggested, on more than one occasion, that you actually try on social media so that you can become one of those travel Instagrammers with 20k followers and sponsorships. You, of course, have a rebuttal that involves arguing for experience over photo commerce, and then you spend the next 6 hours judging yourself for having an opinion on this topic.
4. People are constantly planning trips to come see you, and it’s amazing, but it’s also overwhelming because for some reason visitors always come in a bundle. Visitors tend to show up one right after the other, and it drains your time and wallet. (Yet when they all leave, you have a six month visitor dry spell in which everyone seemingly forgets you’re in a different country or state.)
5. You force your friends to block out the dates you’ll be home several months in advance. You used to specialize in meticulously scheduling “catch up sessions” with each friend in hour increments at different coffee shops around town. But now you just roll into town, tell everyone to meet at a specific bar, and see who shows up.
6. You appreciate the elusiveness of being the Carmen Sandiego friend (because everyone always wonders where in the world you are) and it makes you feel infinitely cooler than you otherwise would.
7. You always have remorse about not buying someone a souvenir, so you now have cheap souvenir shopping down to an exact science. Seven dollar shot glasses are never your speed, but you’re on street fairs selling $2 scarves and original prints like white on rice.
8. When people plan romantic trips with their SO’s, or are taking a family trip, you get a Facebook message requesting hidden gems and lists with specific metro stops and their corresponding historic landmarks. (This isn’t much of a hassle for you because you have all this info saved in a folder on your computer.)
9. You truly believe that the invention of the iMessage was life saving, because it allows you communicate with your best friends back home without trying to teach them how to use What’sApp.
10. You end up worrying about whether not “settling” in one place is setting you back in terms of ~meeting someone~. When you start to watch all of your friends get into serious relationships, move in with people, get engaged, it makes you feel like you’re out of the loop. Rationally, you know you made the choice to travel for a reason, and that you could meet someone anywhere, but you still feel like the path you chose put you in a different life stage.
11. The fact that you worked hard for your ability to travel is rarely acknowledge. It’s true that travel, and even the ability to hop on a plane fairly often, is a huge privilege. But when there’s no one bank rolling your travel, it means that you’re working hard to save, and tailoring your schedule, so you can go wherever you want, whenever you want. Your friends often brush it off as “Oh, well I could never afford to move to X location,” and you always feel like it’s an unnecessary dig at the lifestyle you worked hard for.
12. You’ve become desensitized to being in new places, and forget that your friends still find it miraculous and shocking. When someone asks you to send them a postcard, your first instinct is to ask, “Wait, why?” before it hits you that you’re in a wildly different location.
13. Your friends have changed their opinion of you from “too organized” or “such a planner” to “free spirited,” because you aren’t afraid to just pick up and go. And while you appreciate that they think you’re now slightly more hip and spontaneous than your former self, you’re still the same person, who plans, worries about things, works, and budgets, just like everyone else.
14. You’ve learned the hard way that you just can’t keep in touch with everyone, and you constantly feel guilty about it. When you hop around from place to place, you’re meeting new people who impact your life and it’s nearly impossible to chat with them all on a weekly basis.
15. You miss real-time conversations. Sending an email, or a rambling Facebook message is nice, but it’s never quite as satisfying as being able to go back and forth with someone. But when there’s time differences involved, sometimes getting a response nine hours later is the best you’re going to get.
16. Even if you love traveling alone, you’ll sometimes wish you could share new places with people you love, and that’s not always possible. There is always a twinge of regret when you can’t share a moment, an experience, or even a view with that one friend you know would appreciate it as much as you do.