It’s a feeling that I can’t quite shake. Travelling, for me, has always been an inner journey just as much as a physical one.
In the beginning, you’re obsessed by ticking off bucket lists and ‘seeing’ as much of the world as you can – more to say you’ve done it than to simply experience it. But, you’re not even aware of it until you evolve as a traveller.
Now, travel is my life. I’m not on holiday. I’m not on a gap year. I’m not having an ‘I’m nearly 30’ crisis. Travel is the love of my life, and like all kinds of love, you need work on it to keep the spark alive.
So, this feeling… it’s an interesting one.
The more I travel, the slower I go. I don’t just pass through places; I live in them. And with these deeper experiences, my outlook has begun to shift. I feel guilt.
The extreme poverty I see first-hand, the political scene, and the inequity. It’s hard to experience it and have something inside of you fundamentally change. The more I see, the greater this feeling of ‘why am I so lucky?’
Here I am, travelling wherever my mind decides to go. A message from a friend across the other side of the world turns into a trip. A moment of missing home turns into a trip back there. I’m literally at liberty to go wherever I’m drawn.
It’s hard to process the level of freedom I have in my life when so many people don’t even have the necessities in life, like access to education and equality. Or water.
I don’t really know the ‘solution’ to this feeling. Maybe it’s something I just have to accept. And, more importantly, this feeling isn’t a negative one. It’s good to remind yourself just how lucky you are. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the rest of the eastern world when all you know is life confined by western norms.
It’s all about your perspective. I’m fortunate enough to have a business that I can run anywhere in the world. I travel in a conscious way, avoiding tourist areas, supporting local shops, make relationships with locals, and I encourage others to follow suit.
There’s so much more to a destination than what you see in that perfectly-edited Instagram photo. The digital nomad life is all but perfect. It’s a lonely, intense path to take. We see the ‘pretty’ side of a place but in fact, that’s really only 10%. What you see on social media isn’t real life.
This is important for us all to remember, especially us travellers.