From a certain point of view, the world is the everywhere you go. This is due to us having the same perception of life from day to day. Our character and personality doesn’t suddenly change when we get on a plane. Our old trauma doesn’t need a boarding pass to come with us. Therefore when we go somewhere, be it a whole new country of a town a few miles from home, we always bring ourselves.
Traveling can become an addiction. It can be used to escape our pain, loneliness, and anxiety. It can be used to make us feel good for a few weeks. The highs can be very high. We get a more attention when we post our adventures on social media than when we post our everyday life. Everyday of a vacation can feel like absolute freedom to do anything we want with no consequences. Some folks use the vacation to spend money extravagantly and become hedonistic. At that point we are no longer interested in travel, but in emotional escape.
If we’re not careful, we start to enjoy the feeling we get from traveling more than the opportunity itself.
Some time ago, I made the mistake of traveling for purely escapist reasons. I was fed up with my life and my city so. I quit my job, cashed out my stock portfolio, and bought a one way ticket to out of the country. In the beginning I was riding high. When I got invited out I always said yes. When I didn’t feel like cooking I ordered out. Endless fancy drinks at the bar? Yes. Spontaneous day trips? Yes. Sleeping in? Yes. I was feeling myself. I was flexing on social media and talking big game to everyone. This was fine and good until the consequences of my reckless behavior started to come in the picture. I started getting emails about unpaid bills from back home going to collections agencies. I was flaking out on opportunities. I woke up one morning only to realize I had lost my wallet, ID, and a significant amount of cash while partying the night before. My life started falling apart due to my bulls***. Women who were initially into me lost interest. The serious male friends I had started distancing themselves from me. Despite leaving my home country, spending big and talking bigger, I was who I was. The chickens came home to roost.
Your true self always comes with you when you travel. Those who can’t budget well, usually return home broke. Folks who like to party at home, will have plenty of hangovers on vacation. If you are a loner, you are unlikely to make a to make a ton of new friends; if you’re a very social person, you might find it difficult to get the peace and quiet you may actually need. When you decide to take a trip you need to ask yourself why you’re actually going.
My recent trips have had well defined meaning before departure. I’ve been blessed with the benefits from these experiences. When you travel with a purpose that is meaningful you will get more back from the experience. At best, you return home with new knowledge, wisdom, friendships, skills, and opportunities. At minimum you return truly refreshed and ready to go after your goals. Take it from me, traveling to escape your current situation will have you returning home to worse conditions.