What Nobody Tells You About Leaving Everything Behind and Travelling

The pictures don’t tell the full story.

Tom Stevenson
Mar 25 · 3 min read

It’s not easy.

Quitting your job to travel the world is the easy part. Once you pack your bags and set the wheels in motion, that’s when things become tricky.

Quickly, the realisations hit you like a tsunami.

What if I run out of money?

What if something happens to me along the way?

Can I survive out there by myself?

These are all thoughts that ran through my head while I was flying to Australia on my first solo trip.

My fear of being by myself on the other side of the world was so strong, I didn’t want the plane to land!

Once I got to Australia, I realised the reality was not as bad as I had envisioned.

However, that apprehension was quickly replaced by another. How am I going to stretch my finances until I find a job?

I would overcome one worry, only for another to take its place.

Without the safety net of living at home, you have to fend for yourself at all times. It can be hard to keep it all together during tough times, especially if you’re alone in a new place.

It can be a lonely experience.

Travelling is overly romanticised these days. I am guilty of this as a travel blogger.

I urge people to follow their dreams and go and travelling.

The reality is, long-term travel is not for everyone. A lot of people would crumble under the pressures of constantly being on the road and in a state of flux.

In the same way, that stability is not for everyone, neither is constant upheaval.

Your life as a traveller is a cycle of upheaval.

You move on from one place. You meet people, make friends and move on after weeks or months. You meet a guy/girl, get along well, and then circumstance pulls you apart.

Long-term travel is like real life but on steroids.

You get to know people quicker, but they leave your life in a flash.

You experience sensory overload in each new place that you visit, but the feelings subside rapidly and you want to move on within a few days.

Change may be the only constant in life, but it never leaves your side when you’re travelling.

Nothing ever stays the same for long.

But, this may not the worst part.

The worst part is that deep down, you know things will never be the same again.

You won’t be able to go back to the way things were before. You have experienced and seen too much to go back to your life pre-travelling.

By committing to travelling full-time, you have committed yourself to never being content.

You’ll never be satisfied living in one place.

You’ll never be satisfied until you’ve travelled everywhere.

You’ll never be satisfied, even if you meet the love of your life.

You’ll always need more!

It's like a sickness that takes a hold of you and won’t let go.

It's terminal.

The image you see portrayed by travel bloggers only tells 5% of the story.

It's like peering through a keyhole to gauge the beauty of a house. It may look nice, but you’re only seeing a limited view.

When you open the door, you see the full picture, and it’s not as pleasant as you might think.

Travelling for 5 years has been an experience I’ll never forget, but, sometimes, I wonder whether I’ll ever know what it feels like to live a ‘normal’ life.

Tom Stevenson

Written by

I like to write. I like to travel. https://www.thetravellingtom.com

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