This is difficult for me to write.
All my life I’ve been a traveler. A wanderer. A perpetual pursuer of the unknown, jumping around from place to place, exploring all the beauty this world has to offer. I really can’t explain why; it’s something that’s been in my blood for as long as I can remember.
Even as a little girl, I recall waking up early in the morning and taking my bike around the block before my parents came down for breakfast. I would stop at each corner, climbing the little trees that barely supported my weight, and sort of explore that tree. I would write things in my notebook. Observe and make a sort of play out of it. It was kind of weird, but kind of soothing at the same time.
Fast forward twenty years later and I’m still doing the same shit…only a bit slower, a bit wiser, and with slightly more intention.
As I sit here on this gorgeous, windy beach on the southeastern coast of Vietnam, I reflect on the past few months and just how much they’ve differed from prior travels. I’m still seeing beautiful places. Still enjoying the thrill of being on a moving bus or train. Still capturing timeless photos and meeting all sorts of interesting people.
Only now something is different.
My steam is gone.
For the first time in my traveler’s life, the prospect of going to the next place — hiking the next mountain — seeing the next village or having that next adventure…leaves me feeling utterly and thoroughly exhausted.
I have no desire. The lust has worn off. Or maybe I am depressed.
It’s not exciting for me anymore. The next destination doesn’t motivate me. All I want to do is stay in one place and do nothing. My desire to teach, to share light has gone. But one interesting and pertinent thing to note is that it resurfaces when I am in the right community. But the “right community” is difficult to find, and certainly more difficult when I’m constantly moving around.
When I am around like-minded people, my fellow yogis and dreamers and thinkers, my true light reemerges. It was never lost, just buried beneath a pile of egocentric worldly endeavors that are slowly eating away at my dignity.
I become me again. I am reminded of why I do what I do.
But the steady drift is losing its appeal. I just don’t want to do it anymore.
I still will, of course. My ego wouldn’t have it otherwise. But I am tired. My immune system is fighting back. My state of mind is dipping more than usual. And I’ve developed something that up until now has been entirely foreign to me: apathy.
This lone wolf’s march is tiring. I begin to wonder what it’s all about, anyway. Ticking off the boxes? Trying to “fit it all in” before I get too old to do it? Thinking I am running out of time…but am I in reality making time accelerate?
This is the forward-thinking that has always been so characteristic of my nature. What’s next, what’s better….where’s the next best thing?
This sense of FOBO, or “fear of better options,” is a very real thing. It’s a phenomenon also known as “maximization,” or the relentless pursuit of all the possible options in order to make the “best” decision.
The problem with this though is that it often (most of the time) leads to frustration, indecision, anxiety and being unsatisfied.
In a world full of choices — too many choices — the chances of us being satisfied with our decision decreases dramatically. Numerous studies have shown that increased choice is detrimental to decision making. In a world where we can go literally almost anywhere, do almost anything, and freedom of choice reigns our actions….this can be extremely anxiety-inducing for even the most level-headed of travelers.
How does this relate to destination addiction?
Destination addiction is “a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is somewhere else. We suffer, literally, from the pursuit of happiness. We are always on the run, on the move, and on the go. Our goal is not to enjoy the day, it is to get through the day.” — Robert Holden, PhD.
Destination addiction is like a form of FOBO. It’s a traveler’s way of always looking ahead, always on the go, lest there is something better we are missing out on. There’s always a better destination, a more beautiful beach, or a more pleasant experience waiting for us.
It’s how I’ve been spending the last six years. Spreading light — sharing my joy and knowledge, sure. That’s the real joy. But it’s been folded into and overwritten at times by my strong-driven mind’s desire to explore every damn corner of this earth.
After years of roaming this planet, I finally find myself in a really tough place. It’s hard for me to admit this, but…
I feel jaded. I feel cynical. I feel no sense of spark, and my desire to explore has zapped almost entirely.
I feel like a “bad traveler.” I frequently withdraw or isolate myself from others around me. I crave solitude more than normal (and trust me, that’s a lot). I have no interest in engaging in conversation with others, I am annoyed at the same questions and jargon over and over and even find myself resenting other blissfully ignorant “happy travelers.”
But there’s something else emerging…
This wanderlust I never thought I’d tire of is waning, that’s true. But there’s another desire that’s rising up from the ashes. Something that surprises me, but at the same time, doesn’t. It’s a need for community. For a sense of connection. And not just any connection — but a connection to the people who really are like me. The like-minded, eccentric, black sheep who are out there in the world doing the work. Who are curious about themselves. Who are curious about helping others. The drive for community has never been stronger.
It’s probably why I feel so alone.
The next place doesn’t interest me anymore. What does? You do. People. Who share my pursuits, values and goals. A strong, safe, elevated community in which I can share and be a part of. In which I can be completely myself, and encourage others to be themselves. To lead in. To learn in. And to thrive in.
I’m so tired. I’m so jaded. I don’t want to do this alone. I can’t do this alone. I am craving a partner, a community, a rest, a joy, a spark, a smile, a friend.
Destination addiction is a real thing.
Sharing my soul from me to you — do share if you’ve ever felt anything similar.