Why I DON’T want to travel full-time

“How I became a full-time traveller and so can you” ! The number of articles dealing with the subject pollutes my e-mail nearly every day. Everybody and their auntie seem to call themselves “digital nomads” nowadays, it seems to be the new trend. Even though I travel very often, I just can’t see myself doing it full-time.
Why not? Glad you asked!

1/ I love travelling too much
What do you mean it sounds contradictory? Please allow me to explain! Whether you have a fixed address or whether you are travelling,  you are going to need money… Assuming you didn’t inherit a big fortune, it means you’ll somehow have to work for it, even when you’re on the road. And that’s exactly the sticking point! Full time travelling isn’t really “full-time travelling”.
If you’re travelling remotely, it means spending a lot of hours roaming the country in search of free wi-fi to stay in touch with your clients. And that’s not something I am willing to do! When I’m abroad I want to spend every single moment enjoying the new city or country, I want to totally “commit” to the place. I don’t want the stress that comes with being a digital nomad! I only want the true travelling part!
What’s it really like to be a digital nomad is a brilliant article that perfectly illustrates my point!

travel full-time

2/ I need time to “recover” in between trips
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that my travel motto is “slow travel” No rushing around for this girl. “Doing” 5 countries and 10 cities in two weeks sounds more than a nightmare than a dream to me.  I want to get under the skin of a destination, I want to stroll around the markets, I want to enjoy a cappuccino on the main square, in short: I want to take time! When I’m in a country I try to blend in as much as possible by reading/listening to the local news, by learning the history and by getting to know the local customs and culture. Believe it or not, but this takes time and energy! More often than not, I feel quite drained when I get back from travelling. I need to recharge my batteries and for me, the best way to recharge them is to do this at a place called “home”. A place where I know the people, the culture, the language, …

Recently I came back from Brazil and only had 5 days before taking off to Kerala, India. My mind was still set on Brazilian food, the Portuguese language and basically all things Brazilian. I was pretty confused during my first days in India and I realized I really need time to clear my head from one destination before I’m ready to fully commit and enjoy the next one.

travel full-time

3/ I want to belong somewhere
I’m a Belgian expat living in Northern Ireland, which makes “home” a rather confusing subject. Instinctively I would call Belgium home, but when I’m in Belgium, I call Northern Ireland home. Even if I’m perfectly happy with where I’m living now, moving abroad meant I lost contact with most friends, I don’t see my family as often as I’d like to and sometimes I miss out on important events. It’s difficult to feel like you “belong somewhere”. Full time travel just wouldn’t make it any easier…

Don’t get me wrong, travelling is and will always be my number one passion! I could easily go away for a few months, but to travel full-time… naaah, not for me!

What about you? Do you or would you like to be a full time traveller?  Do you agree with the arguments I mentioned?

18 Replies to “Why I DON’T want to travel full-time”

  1. Maria Kyvelou

    Such a great post! I am an expat myself and also travel in a similar pace. Even though I would like to visit as many countries and cities as possible, living with a suitcase tied on my hand seems like a nightmare!

  2. Julia B. Wilde

    You put it very well and I totally understand how you feel! Traveling full time sounds like a luxury but it is actually very hard on the body and mind – at least for us. We don’t sleep well in new beds, find it hard to exercise, and tire of eating out for every meal. We like the slow travel concept where we stay in a new city for at least one month at a time. We get monthly discounts on lodging, a kitchen where we can cook healthy meals at home and a chance to get used to the new bed. It helps us feel grounded. I really don’t understand how full-time travelers can do it without getting burnt out!

    • Els Post author

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s really nice to stay put for a while and feel “at home” in the city you’re travelling in!

  3. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad

    YES! I’ve been working on a similar post actually and saw this in the related of another of your posts. I totally agree, I want to travel to travel, not work work work and then realise I’m leaving this amazing place tomorrow but oh crap, I haven’t actually seen any of it yet! This is kind of contradictory as I just did a working holiday in Australia and really want to do more travel like that (at least I had a home there!), but full-time travel digital nomad? Nah, you can keep that lol.

  4. Brittany Thiessen

    I definitely agree with the points you made here. I enjoy coming home after travel to write and edit all of my photos. I just can’t seem to do this when I am actually traveling and doing so afterwards allows me to relive my wonderful memories that I made. I like having a home base and I always look forward to sleeping in my bed and seeing my cat and family again. As much as I love and am passionate about traveling, I don’t think I would want to do it full time either. Thanks for sharing this perspective!

  5. Brooke of Passport Couture

    I see your point of view and agree with it. I need time to re-charge my batteries and I love soaking up a place and all it has to offer. Hurrying through doesn’t make me happy and I feel like I miss out on so much! Glad to see someone else feels this way too.

  6. Beth

    I agree with you totally. I left home to go backpacking in Australia and ended up staying there for 4 years, I also met my husband who is from South Korea. Even though the last 2 years in oz I was working I still wanted to be back in the UK. As I wanted to study and set some roots. So me and my husband moved back to the UK. I’m currently studying part time and have 2 years left. I do feel slightly trapped. However once I’ve finished I’m looking forward to being able to travel 3 months per year and truly enjoy that not worrying about money etc…
    Coming back to UK after 4 years away was difficult, friends had moved on and I had changed also.

    • Els Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Beth! I think as we grow, we need to get some kind of roots or sense of belonging. Not always easy to combine with wanderlust 🙂

  7. Vanessa Anderson

    I totally get what you’re saying which is why we house sit and travel full time. This gives us a base to work when we need it with free stable WiFi and a home base to relax between travel adventures. But we still FEEL like we are traveling, as we explore more deeply a new destination. We teach English online (30 hours a month) and publish an online magazine to fund our travels when we are in a property, Out of next 8 months we have 4 months of house sitting and work (4 individual sits), and 4 months of backpack travel. Been doing this for 3 years now and not yet got to the “sick of living out of a suitcase” – we’ll see how long this works 🙂

    • Els Post author

      Yes, house sitting is indeed another matter, it’s a perfect example of slow travel, one I’d definitely be willing to try!

  8. Geert @ Inspiring Travellers

    Great to see that I’m not alone with these kind of feelings! A long time I’ve been wanting to be nomadic and constantly travel the world, but I have come to the same conclusion that while this might be a dream it wouldn`t fit me because I also crave to be able to come home to a familiar environment, my home, where I can just relax without the ‘hassles’ of travel 😉 Guess the urge to have a place to call home is part of our Belgian genes 😉

  9. Katie

    I have been a kind of full time traveler for a year+ and I totally get you. Traveling this way has actually made me want a “home base” and I also did have to stop for a few months to go back for work. I wanted to work online, but after seeing what that meant – searching for wifi and carrying around extra equipment, I gave up on that “dream.” Anyway it’s been fun, it’s an experience, but it’s not easy, and I am almost done living this way myself!
    I will say the plus side of being a full time traveler for me is the motivation to keep moving. Once I get the money, and get out of my country, I feel like I want to stay out instead of flying back and forth. I see other travelers who fly long distances multiple times per year. I hate the long haul flights, so I tend to take one, and then move over land or on shorter distance flights until it’s time to take the flight back.

  10. Ella

    I definitely agree with this. I think there comes a point on your travels where the longer you’re travelling, the less fun it becomes. That’s been my experience at least. I think I’m comfortable for travelling up to 2 months before I really crave home and the time and space to ‘recover’. Great post 🙂


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