Long-term travel dream or reality!
Long-term solo travel is sometimes believed to be a lot of things that it is not. It’s true that travelers have a lot of crazy stories to tell when they’re back from that trip across Asia or around the world, but the not-so-glamorous side of travel is a reality that hardly gets spoken about and very few people understand.
1. Travel does not let you shirk away responsibility.
Travel needs meticulous planning and this requires assumption of full responsibility. On the road you’re responsible for arranging and organizing everything and your own safety. Living out of a suitcase or backpack requires taking some tough decisions and a whole lot of creativity. But the truth is that they are still responsible for a lot of things on a daily basis, such as finding ways to fund their travels, keeping costs to a minimum, making decisions about where to stay, what to do, where to travel next, how to travel and how to make it all work.
2. It’s as demanding as it comes.
When you’re staying in hostels and have a limited amount of money to last you the entire trip , there’s no way you can afford to party with your new friends every night. Forget about the wild stories you hear about travelers drinking and dancing every night away. While this is true for a certain age group in some countries, the percentage of travelers who can afford to travel for a long time while continuing to do this is very small.
3. You won’t always have people around you.
Loneliness can often be a real problem faced by long-term travelers, especially if they’re traveling across a country without spending too much time in one place or setting up a base. Unless you’re someone who’s comfortable with being on your own, dining by yourself and not always having someone to share the joy of new discoveries and experiences with, solo travel is not a good idea. Of course you do meet a lot of people from all over the world when you travel and forming meaningful friendships is common, but the possibility of this happening depends on where you’re traveling, if other people are around and how open and social you are as a person. It’s not always the case that you’ll have company, there may be extended periods of time when you’re by yourself.
4. There’s alot going on behind those instagrammed pictures.
You look like a mess and you are one a lot of the time! Everything does not go perfectly as planned. You miss flights, buses and trains and rush to get to others in time. You get stuck in bad weather at some points. Unexpected things go wrong all the time when you’re travelling and if you can see the humor and enjoy it all, then you’ll get the most out of your experience. The disasters are all part of the adventure.
5. Falling sick on the road can be a real pain (no pun intended).
It’s comforting to have your loved ones and local doctor around when things go wrong with your health. In spite of globalization, the quality of healthcare, services, medicines and the availability of different medicines varies widely among countries. A lot of travelers don’t like to risk going to a doctor or getting any kind of treatment done until they’re back home.
6. The food always isn’t drool worthy.
The images of local food that you see in travel magazines and on countless travel blogs can make you believe that every meal is an experience in itself. The truth is that not every cuisine appeals to your taste buds and some places are very expensive to eat out in every day. Sometimes when you’re traveling in a region that is culturally very different, you don’t know what to eat and everything you try is either a bad idea or just does not taste good. Sometimes there’s not even the good old McDonald’s to rescue you.
7. You will have a different outlook towards home.
If you travel for a few weeks or more, especially if it’s off the beaten path, you’ll probably come back and look at a lot of things differently. You’ll notice things and have realizations you’ve never had before. If you’ve spent some time trekking in wilderness and fallen in love with nature, you’re more likely to appreciate your local park that you simply walked past before. While you appreciate familiar comforts and luxuries, there are also some things that now annoy you, although you’ve seen them happen all your life.
So sum things up, if there are takeaways from this blog, it’s probably that long term travels aren’t always for everyone. But if you’re willing to truly push the threshold for discomfort, in exchange for potent life changing experiences, and in turn, come back a new person every time you plan trips of this nature, then it’s about time you start saving up. And yes, in the off chance you’re having trouble in conceptualizing your trip, check out the Travel Tangible Tool that we offer at Mandeha. We not just assist in creating long term travel itineraries, but provide a template for you to track and introspect on your trip learnings (Yup, kind of solves everything, doesn’t it?)