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!
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…
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:
4/ I feel like I live in a parallel universe
I’m 43, 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…
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?