This blog is for every social media post that makes you feel bad for not traveling enough.
It’s the stuff I don’t talk about when people ask me how traveling the world with 50+ people for a year has been. Because I don’t want to be a downer, seem ungrateful, or focus on the negative.
But there are more than enough pictures of beaches and sunsets from travelers. Seems we need to balance the scales a bit. To get into the struggles and inner turmoil that doesn’t make the highlight reel but is very much a part of this journey day after day.
At least, it was for me.
So here are 7 of the biggest struggles that have come with traveling the world for a year.
#1: I became a jaded traveler waaaayyyy faster than expected
When I started this trip, every country I landed in felt new and exciting.
I was like a 6-year-old walking around Disney World.
“Wow! Look at that! Let’s go here! Can we eat this? You mean I can drink wine on the street!?!?”
About 6 months in, that faded.
The cathedrals, museums, ruins, and tours that used to make me go “OMG I have to do that”now make me go “Meh, been there. Done that.”
Even if the city is new, the idea of exploring a new city isn’t.
Especially at night. Every party is essentially the same. A night out in Sofia isn’t that different from Medellin.
Except for the type of music and dancing ability of the locals.
It’s still fun, but the pull to do these things isn’t nearly what it was a year ago.
Before Remote Year, the idea of dating a girl from a new country every month sounded great.
For a lot of guys, that’s the dream. No commitment. No conversations about “Where is this going?” Just a few weeks of fun and off you go.
And it was fun — particularly the second half where I found out Latina girls like me as much as I like them.
But it sucks to spend a few weeks with a girl then go:
“Welp, time to fly thousands of miles away and never return. Bye”
After a few months, it gets a little old.
Twice I’ve been in or close to tears when it was time to say goodbye to a girl I was seeing.
Not because I saw a future with her.
It’s just that saying goodbye “goodbye forever” to a girl you’ve had a lot of fun with who’s really into you sucks.
3) There’s pressure to be a “successful” traveler
After studying in Australia for a semester, a friend asked me to tell him stories about what I did there.
In a sentence or two, I listed 2-3 things I did.
His reply: “Dude, you went to Australia for 4 months and don’t even have any stories?”
Part of me was pissed. “Gee, sorry I don’t have stories locked and loaded for your entertainment.”
But part of me felt like I failed. I didn’t do a good enough job doing cool things.
I’ve heard my friends words echoing in my head a lot. There’s are times I feel I needed to do things so I can have a cool story to share. Which isn’t a fun way to go through the day.
I think other people have a similar thing. We don’t want to come home and here: “What do you mean you didn’t try Mate in Argentina!?!”Then feel bad that we didn’t do a good enough job traveling.
4) Everyone’s jealous of each other
Ever since I decided to do this trip around the world people have been telling me “Oh man, you’re so lucky. I wish I could do that.”
They have a point. But at the same time, I see them with their steady income, nice house, and wife/girlfriend/husband who loves them and think, “That seems pretty sweet, too.”
5) Your good habits walk into a buzz saw
I used to have no trouble staying relatively fit and exercising a lot. I even had a nice morning routine of meditation, journaling, and some other stuff that helped me stay sane.
Travel destroyed that.
It’s hard to get a rhythm when you move your life across the world every 30 days and have all new surroundings.
Simple things like “doing laundry” that you don’t even think about become a time-consuming pain. Because Google maps sent you to a place that doesn’t exist so you’re stuck wandering the streets for 30 minutes with dirty clothes until you figure it out.
Then there are times you wind up in a country where it’s impossible to get a real meal from 3-8PM so you eat nothing but empanadas for a month as your body turns to dough.
Some people haven’t had the trouble I’ve had. Probably because they had gym routines before traveling whereas I relied on Jiu Jitsu/kickboxing to stay fit — and that’s not really something you can do when on the move this much.
But getting and keeping good habits is already tough enough. Add travel into that mix and it’s that much harder.
Travel is supposed to make you a better person but I’m pretty sure the only way I’ve grown this year is horizontally.
6) Constant FOMO
Even when you’re traveling, you’re still seeing pictures from people who are traveling better than you.
They found cool mountains to climb, places to eat, etc. while you were working late or exploring some place less cool.
On Remote Year, there’s always a tour, a party, a reason to explore something new.
Every month we threw ourselves a welcome party and a good-bye party. Every week it was someone’s birthday. Every day we’re telling ourselves “I’ll never be here or have the chance to do this again…”
Admittedly, this has eased up as I’ve become more of a jaded traveler. But it’s still there.
I even get FOMO on stuff I’ve done!
The other night, we saw a video of a lot of the highlights from the year. I had to remind myself not to feel like I’d missed out because I had actually done those things!
(Shoutout to Aaron Suarez for the awesome video)
7) After a year, we still have no clue what we’re doing
It seems a lot of people came on Remote Year to break their old routine, have new adventures, and get clear on what they wanted to do for the rest of their life.
Now that the year is over, a lot of people, myself included, are as confused as ever. We’re asking “Now what?”
Many have realized they can’t go back to their old jobs. Either because they want to stay remote but their employer isn’t having it, or because traveling has put a big spotlight on just how much they hate their job.
Now they’re looking for something new, but don’t know what that is.
For me, I enjoy my job. The struggle I have, which was the same as when I started, is I don’t know where to live next.
I’ve got this image of a beach town in South/Central America where I learn to surf, golf, get back into Jiu Jitsu, learn Spanish, and really focus on building my business.
Which sounds good on paper, until I start to think about the crushing loneliness of being in a new place all by myself. Surrounded by people who don’t care if the Patriots win or lose.
Going back to Boulder, New England, or America in general, right now, makes me shudder. That ain’t happening this year (sorry, mom.)
So I’m going to try the South America thing and see how it goes.
I’m certainly looking forward to sitting still for a bit. The routine and stability I had before the madness of Remote Year is starting to look pretty appealing.