Skip to main content

The Emotional Cost of Travel

Written by
Reading time: 3 minutes
Amarens: "it’s not only a financial but also an emotional commitment; once you decide to go, you can never come back"
girl in front of the beach

How can you afford travelling all the time? It’s a great question that many would like to know the answer to.  How to get to that state of financial independence that allows you to roam around the world, exploring a new city every month? Sometimes we forget that the price of travel doesn’t only come in dollars.

Travelling as a lifestyle is not a usual thing. It means that when you decide to travel, you have to give up the other parts that belong to a ‘normal’ lifestyle. When you journey very often, you miss out on a lot of things. Many are very mundane and totally worth giving up when considered separately. But adding up all those little things, you get a lifestyle of comfort and structure, something that becomes harder and harder to maintain when you keep wanting to discover new things.

mountain view, cloudy
credit: Kamil Szybalski

So the cost of travel is not just its price. It’s also the feeling of constant homesickness because you no longer know where home is. It’s there in having thousands of international Facebook friends but very little close friends that you get to hang out with all the time. It’s having to say goodbye to people, places, and feelings, even if you don’t really want to.

Travel has taught me to be more independent but sometimes I fear that my independence is getting in the way of me making actual relations with people. Instead, from the moment I meet them, I start emotionally preparing for the moment we will have to say goodbye.

In the end, maybe the worst part of travelling is when you come ‘home’ and realise nothing has changed, except you. It feels the same, yet very different because everything you’ve experienced has made you into a different person. You have different hopes and dreams, different stories to tell, yet other people still have the same hopes and dreams as before, they still talk about the same things at the dinner table. It’s this feeling that eventually led to this blog, and all it stands for.

“Too foreign for home, too foreign for here, never enough for both” (by Ijeoma Umebinyuo)

man standing on stone looking at sunset
credit: Joshua Earle

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t worth it. It’s one of those ‘no light without darkness’ situations, yin and yang, where positive and negative feelings can perfectly balance each other out. But it would also be a lie if I said I wasn’t struggling. I see people settling down, having all these things that my lifestyle would never allow me to have. I know that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t live like that because I’ve been bitten by the so-called ‘travel bug’. It’s the burden of knowing what is out there because what has been seen can never be unseen.

The world is too big and too beautiful to live life in one place and I would encourage anyone and everyone to go live abroad, travel the world, and chase all of your dreams. However you should realise that it’s not only a financial but also an emotional commitment; once you decide to go, you can never come back.

By Amarens Jonker; original source: nationalityunknown