5 Reasons Why Travel Will Ruin Your Life

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

We all talk about how travel can change your life. I often share life lessons from months I've spent traveling. But there's something that we rarely speak about.

Only travelers sitting at the airport lounge with return ticket in hand, backpack full of mementos, tears in their eyes and heart overladen with memories know the awful truth: about how travel can ruin your life.

And it doesn't matter if your trip lasted a few weeks, a month or a year. You've already caught the bug. And you will forever be tormented. By the feeling of seawater slipping through your fingers as the boat speeds up. By the smell of spices mingling together at a local market. By the sweet taste of coconut juice after a morning swim.

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I've listed 5 reasons why you should never book that ticket if you ever want a chance at a normal life:

You will never feel at home again. As soon as you set your foot in the door to your house or apartment, you will soon realize that everything feels different. Taking a warm shower or sleeping in a comfy bed may seem a bit strange. Having more than 10 pieces of clothing to choose from will perplex you. And that's just for starters. Normal everyday conversations will soon bore you. Why does food taste so bland? And why is everything so dirty- or conversely, so clean?

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Everything about home is still the same. But you have been irrevocably changed.

Everything will pale in comparison. Indian food won't taste the same outside of India. Taking a train with cramped, wooden seats through the countryside in Myanmar will leave you with more stories and images than any air-conditioned tram. You will feel depressed just looking at the familiarly mundane landscape again. You will long for century-old temples, long stretches of white sand and even just an open sky!

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You will never think of money in the same way again. Remember those days when you can easily buy a bag or get a spa treatment without feeling any guilt? Those days are gone. You're going to start measuring everything in terms of flights and accommodations.

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"For these pair of shoes, I could book a round trip ticket to Bali? What?!" 

You will stop yourself from describing a country as "cheap", knowing fully well how many of its own citizens can hardly afford the most basic necessities. You realize that for the cost of your American style breakfast, a local family can eat for a day.

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Your family and friends will hate you. Well, not really. They just can't relate to you. How can they, when you can't stop talking about dancing at the full moon party in Koh Pangan, skydiving in Australia or camel riding at the Thar desert? You have turned into that annoying guy who starts his sentences with "When I was traveling in (insert exotic destination here)". You'll soon realize you have less in common with your friends and more in common with those scruffy backpackers you often see in bus stations.

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Career? What's that? You drive to work without realizing you're still wearing your flip flops. As soon as you boot up your computer, the only thing you want to do is to upload vacation photos. You completely zone out during meetings still thinking of that last sunset the day before your flight back. In the long run, you will be less motivated by money and more by experiences. You will find yourself longing for the next adrenaline rush, the next weekend getaway, the next ticket out.

Yes, travel can ruin your life. But it does so much more than that. 

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Travel will strip you of your ego. It will make you question who you really are. You will find yourself, only to lose yourself. And in the end, it's all just labels anyway. Even the word traveler fails to describe what you have become and what you continue to be. You will stop doing things to attract attention or find significance. You will do it just because.

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Travel will humble you. It will make you realize that you don't own anything. When you're stranded somewhere with just the shirt on your back, a rucksack and a few notes in your pocket, you find out how strong your spirit really is. It will leave you to the kindness of strangers. It will make you grateful for everything that's given to you and you will be more generous to those in need.

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Travel will break you down. It will throw you out of your comfort zone, test your limits and scare you to your core. It will show you that you are indestructible. Even when you go through tough times, you will tell yourself:

"I've seen worse. I've been through worse. I can hack through this. I can always rebuild myself."
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Are you willing to let let travel ruin you life? Share your opinion in the comments below.

Ruined for life,
Sole Sister Lois

*Cover photo credit: Tommy Schultz Photography

Lois is the Editor-in-Chief of the female travel blog wearesolesisters.com. When she's not having adventures around the globe, she can be found surfing, surfing someone's couch or giving motivational workshops and retreats.

Get a FREE copy of the Sole Sister Guide to Planning an Epic Trip by subscribing to our newsletter. You can also hang out with us online on TwitterFacebook & Instagram

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18 sole trails

  1. Yes. Im still willing coz I will never settle to not knowing and experiencing the world. Haaaaaay.

  2. Sometimes I have same life with yours. But I believe I can do follow your footsteps in distance behind. More power!

  3. I like this post - I feel you captured well the changes travel brings in all of us!

  4. I'm glad you're not settling bunsongpayat! We all should never settle for less than the life we want.

  5. Oh Eddie! You have done and seen so much than I ever will. You inspire me! And I hope I can travel with a partner too when I get to your level ;-) Hope to run into you again soon.

  6. I'm so glad you could relate to this Andrei! Thanks for dropping by!

  7. Travel as ruined my life, but in the most beautiful way!

    What a great read :-)

  8. Yes, my routine life was ruined!... and I'm loving every bits and pieces of my gypsy wanderer life! One thing is for sure... I will NEVER go back to my old corporate slave life. If you want something, the universe will conspire in helping you to achieve it.

  9. I can' agree with you more wanderlindsloves!

  10. "If you want something, the universe will conspire in helping you to achieve it." I've believed in this for years anonymous and it still holds true for me today. I can't say I've turned my back on the corporate life forever. But if I can find ways to make this "vacation" last longer, why not?

  11. I so love this post!!! :)
    And this is so true for me, and every time there are expenses, I would really calculate it by: with that amount of money, I could already go backpacking to this place, or go explore that place. It is true that traveling ruined my 'normal' life, but i love how it changes me and my vision towards life! ;) Cheers Sole sisters! :*

  12. I'm so glad more travelers are choosing experiences over possessions aizeykim! I still struggle with this especially now that I'm traveling long-term. It's easy to fall into the trap of a "normal" life. But before I make any purchases, I still ask myself if I really need it, or if I can still carry it to the next destination. Thanks form your thoughtful comment!

  13. so true! i still have to keep my work here but my motivation is the more project i have the sooner i can have my travel fund and embark again on another adventure. very well said, by the way :)

  14. I'm glad there's more of us who are motivated by the call of travel flinchingfairy! Cheers to more wonderful adventures!

  15. this made me realize not all bloggers are good writers. not all writers can be bloggers. but you are a good mixture of both. thank you for inspiring us to travel!

  16. Thanks for the compliment Rona! Truth be told, I don't feel up to par with the name "writer" myself. I just love doing things that are worth sharing. Thanks for dropping by!

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  18. Good reasons, but however, i still love traveling, thanks and keep sharing


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