I have been afflicted with the same disease for 16 years. I can’t seem to shake it. Nothing seems to make it go away. I’m of course talking about the travel bug. The only cure for this disease is more travel. And even then, while I’m traveling, I’m dreaming of more travel. I fear I will never shake this affliction.
It all started when I was 12 and my parents took me and my sister to Mexico for two weeks and then a few weeks later I flew to the UK and Ireland for a month. Ever since then, I’ve been addicted. I can’t get enough. I want to travel all the time. Even after I return from a 7 month trip, I go through travel withdrawals. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. All I want to do is dream about my trip. Life feels mundane compared to all of my adventures. As soon as the excitement of seeing friends and family again wears off, I’m craving more travel. I’m checking flights, staring at pictures of far off lands on Pinterest. I’m insatiable. I’m sick. I sometimes wish there was a shot or pill to get rid of this bug, but there isn’t. Will I ever be able to live a normal life again? Can I ever be satisfied with settling down somewhere and not traveling? I think not!
That is why almost every 2 years, I have taken a huge trip. And I don’t mean a week long vacation. When I’m talking about travel, I’m talking about quitting your job, packing your things and hitting the road for months on end. That is travel. Sitting on a beach at a resort for a week is vacation, but I’m addicted to travel. I’m addicted to wearing the same clothes every day for months. I’m addicted to eating new foods, making new friends, exploring new places. And then hopping a train, plane, or bus and doing it all over again. That is travel. Traveling until you are so weary and tired of unpacking and repacking that darn backpack that you need a break, but then you get home and a week goes by and you are ready to go back.
How do you know you have the travel bug? Well if you can say yes to more than 5 of these symptoms, you are definitely infected.
- Your favorite magazines to pick up in airports are travel related- National Geographic Traveler, Conde Naste, Travel and Leisure.
- You read travel literature, because it helps you escape to far off lands.
- You are constantly checking Expedia, Kayak.com, and every other airline page for cheap flights to anywhere.
- Half of your book shelf is filled with guide books to all the places you’ve already been or plan to visit soon. And with travel journals you’ve kept from all your trips.
- You have a board on Pinterest solely dedicated to places you want to go.
- You’re obsessed with the Travel Channel, International House Hunters, and Anthony Bourdain’s tv shows.
- You are constantly planning your next trip, even while you are on your current trip.
- You dream of making money as a travel blogger or photographer and just traveling for a living.
- Your ideal mate is someone who also loves travel. You would rather be single than marry someone who hates traveling. You want to meet someone who can share in your adventures and see the world with you.
- Your bucket-list is full of places you want to travel and adventures you want to take while traveling. The second you cross one place off, you’re already adding another.
- Your savings account is actually just a travel account. The only thing that forces you to save is a trip on the horizon.
- Lastly, the idea of starting a career that you can’t leave at the drop of a hat to travel, scares the crap out of you. Adulting in itself scares you, because people expect you to settle down and not be running around the world.
If you answered yes to these symptoms, then I’m sorry to inform you, you are sick with the travel bug. I suggest renewing your passport, saving up your PTO or quitting your job, and seeing where you can fly to next. Don’t try to fight it. It will only make it worse. Just succumb to your desire to travel! Obviously, I get that this is tough, because it costs money, society tells us that we must be responsible and have careers, and it’s not the normal path, but travel is worth it. Travel teaches us more about ourselves and the world than any job or schooling can. Travel is enriching and worth every dime. So get out there and travel and the rest will work itself out.