The side effects of travel addiction

My name is Els and I have an addiction. I go to bed with it and it’s the first thing on my mind when I wake up. If I could program my dreams, it would hunt me in my sleep too!
I have a “travel addiction”!

“So, what’s so bad about it?” I hear you say. “There are worse addictions to be had!”
Well of course there are and although it’s a very mild addiction, it does feel like a benign drug that comes with some unwanted side-effects:

1/ Lack of security
Working 9 to 5 gives me a feeling of imprisonment. Yes, even if it’s a job I like; I just can’t help but feeling trapped. I don’t want to be limited to a number of holidays a year, I don’t want to have to negotiate days off first. I want to decide for myself when and for how long I want to travel!

So last year, I decided to quit the rat race and go free-lance. I found a job in a tourist information centre on a zero hour contract. If the company needs me, they call me. There are no guarantees whatsoever, some weeks I work 7 days a week, other weeks maybe one. But you know what? I absolutely love the freedom! If I want to travel for a month, I just make myself unavailable and off I go! Yes, it’s a risk and there’s no security of a fixed income. But it’s a downside I am happy to live with!

travel addiction

2/ I will never be truly satisfied
The more I travel, the more places I want to see. I stopped making a bucket-list, because for every city I visited, I added at least two new ones. The world is vast and a lifetime is too short to see it all. Thinking about all the places I will never be able to see, makes me anxious, but it’s a fact I will have to accept…

travel addiction

3/ It’s a time-consuming 24-hour addiction
When I’m not on the road, I spend my days watching documentaries on some obscure unbeaten path, I read travel magazines or I scout for cheap flights. Films make me want to travel, books make me want to travel and music makes me want to travel! Needless to say it’s got even worse since I started this travel blog! Sometimes I feel like I should be doing “useful” things with my time, like I don’t know, cleaning the house, meditate? What is it that other people do with their free time? But then I think about these wise words Jack Kerouac once said:

travel addiction

4/ I feel like I live in a parallel universe
I’m 40, an age when most people are married/divorced/with children by now. I see Facebook-updates telling me about children’s first teeth, about efforts at the gym or about dinner plans. And as much as I want to like them, I just feel no connection whatsoever… It’s not them, it’s me…

travel addiction

Am I unhappy that I got bitten by the travel bug? God no! But sometimes I wish I wasn’t so obsessed with it. Sometimes I wish I could be satisfied with a “more ordinary” life in which I wasn’t always on the look-out for new adventures. A life in which this restless feeling would go away. But at the same time, Els without wanderlust just wouldn’t be me…

Do you recognize any of the symptoms? What are your tips to deal with travel addiction?

22 Replies to “The side effects of travel addiction”

  1. Brooke of Passport Couture

    I completely understand what you mean about your Facebook feed filled with people having children and getting married. It’s wonderful for them, but I don’t crave that lifestyle and never have. Just know you aren’t alone and it’s OK to not follow the same path everyone else does! Follow what feels right to you and then rest will follow.

  2. Steve

    I’m 46, am a self employed sports instructor and have just solved the problem of my travel bug. I’ve bought a caravan, come november I’m packing my business into that caravan and am going to spend the next 3 years following my itches across Europe and earning my living as I go. I can’t! wait 😊

  3. Barb

    I seem to have a current addiction to one place….Chicago! I went there recently in April (the weather was extremely erratic, but I had a wonderful time!) I ended up extending my stay one day and saved hundreds of dollars in the form of non-refundable, Southwest airlines bucks. I ended up going again in the beginning of August. Now it’s the end of August, now I am homesick missing the town that is not my home. There is so much to do there, and two trips obviously did not cover everything I wanted to do. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would buy a condo downtown in the loop, learn to fly, fly there in my jet, then fly everywhere else!

    • Els Post author

      Sounds like Chicago made a huge impression on you! I’ve not been yet, unfortunately, but you made me very curious! 🙂

  4. Nikoleta Míchalová

    I love it 😛 And yes, I do recognise the the symptoms and you know what? I do nothing against them. Cause I love the way it makes me feel. Oh and I do make the bucket list and after each place it does expands. Now its hundred and hundreds items long. On my website I posted only tiny tiny part of it. It helps me focus and when I am out of ideas, it gives me some 😛 Plus I love to spend the whole day at home just imagining how those adventures are going to be like (yeah, they will happen!) <3

  5. Laura

    I dreamt about traveling quite a bit when I worked in corporate America, too. However, I have a full-time job in Korea and don’t really mind the stability of said job at all – in fact I find it comforting. With that said, I also need said job in order to fund my travels. I will be backpacking SE Asia for an unknown amount of months with my boyfriend beginning next March and I’m quite looking forward to not having many responsibilities, traveling slowly and mindfully and just relaxing! After that, we’ll be relocating to Australia or New Zealand where we will most likely be working some unsteady jobs which I’m also looking forward to. I always find it’s best to get out of the comfort zone! We’ve been pampered too much here in Korea! Either way, no matter what type of job I have, I will always have a sense of wanderlust. Love the concept of your blog – thanks for sharing.

  6. Melody Pittman

    Yes, yes, and yes. I worked for BCBS for 20 years in the past and each and every day I was checking cruise prices, airline rates, Marriott specials. It is truly addicting. And the bucket lists… omg…they never end. What once was 3-4 things is now 3-4 in the US, 3-4 in South America, 3-4 theme parks, 3-4 cruises, you get the picture. 😉

  7. chrysoula

    I can relate to you in most topics! I love to travel and I think about it every day. I am trying to find a freelance work so that I will have more freedom!

  8. Stacey Valle

    Tell me about it! These are exactly how I’m feeling! I got back from traveling couple of weeks ago and found a job soon after. I wasn’t really exactly excited about the new job because I also get the feeling of imprisonment – due to having first 6 months probation then I could travel afterward but for limited time only. I understand that it’s better than nothing, but I was hoping to travel more than just two weeks. I’m also addict to looking up plane tickets, travel stories, new places, etc. So, the best I can do now? I told my travel partner that we should do a small road trip during the weekend (when I’m off work) at least once a month.

    You can do this! Find a time to do your adventure, even if it’s just for a short time.

  9. Dawn Kealing

    You most definitely aren’t alone! I live a simple life; work, work, work some more —> until eventually I’ve saved enough money to travel somewhere. —> Travel —> Repeat, repeat. I don’t regret it what so ever either; though, the travel bug is always strong and it drives me nuts sometimes haha.

    My only tip to help make it more bearable is coming to the realization that traveling isn’t only getting on a plane and flying 12+ hours away. Travel can be driving an hour away to go on a hike; make it an adventure! 🙂

  10. Elaine J. Masters

    I’m torn too between travel and security but manage. Either people get you or they don’t and I’ve found the community of travelers and writers to be a great match when I’m home. When I’m not I can return and we find each other again. At some point I’ll just take off and wander but family needs are a priority for the time being.

  11. The Educational Tourist

    The travel bug, like any obsession, can be wonderful and terrible. Controlling it is key! Enjoy the positives of whatever you choose and do your best to muddle through the negatives! 🙂
    Natalie, The Educational Tourist

  12. Karla

    Woe! This is exactly everything i am feeling right now. Good to know I am not alone. I also just quit and looking for semi free or flexi jobs so I can travel more. Thanks for sharing

  13. Allison

    I also decided to make the switch to freelance work. Like you, I hate having to answer to someone else and sit in an office. I would rather scrape by and have my freedom, as nerve-wracking as that can be. I always love hearing about others who did the same!


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