I'll be honest. I spent countless hours researching travel before we left. I scoured budget guides, travel blogs, numerous bank statements, and I thought I was prepared for everything. There was one critical element I left out of my planning. On my journey to better myself and see the world, what would I miss out on?
Leaving for an indefinite amount of time has a certain ring to it; exciting, daring, adventurous. It has been about a year since we left home, and it has been quite a ride. I have seen things I dreamed of my whole life. I have met people whose influence will remain with me always. I have laughed and seen and lived quite a bit this year, it's true. What those who don't choose this particular lifestyle fail to realize sometimes is just that - it's a lifestyle. It isn't a holiday, who you are doesn't change, and hard days happen the same way they would if you were at home. It's not all sightseeing and wonder; not all the time.
In the process of constant movement, I likely missed the last Christmas all of my siblings and I will be together for years to come. I missed my sister's bridal shower. I missed my little brother's fourth birthday. I missed visiting my grandmother in the hospital a few months back. I have consistently missed spending time with my three best friends for the last four years, due to my on-the-go lifestyle.
I'm not implying that I have regrets, or that a life of travel isn't beautiful. I don't, and it is.
What I am saying, however, is to count the cost of travel, and not just concerning your wallet. Everyone that begins traveling considers the budget. Rarely do people consider the other costs; the ones without price tags. Even with the wonders of modern social media and communication, sometimes being there for others and keeping in frequent contact just isn't possible.
I am a travel evangelist. I tell everyone I know about it. It doesn't matter if it is for two weeks or two years - it offers up experiences and life lessons that can't quite be matched any other way. The benefits far outweigh the challenges, and if you immerse yourself you will be rewarded. The world is full of beautiul and astounding places that have lessons to teach us. The problem arises when we assume travel fixes everything; that once we travel life will be perfect.
Life is still life, whether you are on the road or at home. You are still you, regardless of geography. Once you set realistic expectations and goals for your travel experiences, you will be free to truly enjoy them as they were meant to be. It isn't always easy, but I think it's worth it.
What do you think?