Backpacking long term isn’t all cocktails and hammocks – so I thought I’d share some of my biggest fears about travelling long term…
Last week I shared 20 things that you probably didn’t know about my backpacker travels so you could get to know a bit more about me.
It was quite a popular post so you guys are obviously pretty nosey! One of the comments I received on it asked about my travel fears – which got me thinking…do I have any fears about travel, the future and generally what my lifestyle may lead too?!
I’ve been backpacking for a few years now so once I opened that can of worms I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and despite the face I might put on it I do have a few fears about travel and backpacking.
They say a problem shared is a problem halved – so here’s 10 Of My Travel Fears…
Running out of money
One of the biggest fears any backpacker has is money. Having been on the road for a while I’ve got a pretty good grasp of money and budget for my backpacking adventures. Even so money is always a worry. I never spend any money I don’t have (I have no overdrafts or credit cards) and I never plan on ‘expected income’. Despite this though and having a comfortable savings cushion I’m always worry about what would happen if I ran out – what would I do?
Not knowing where to go next
It seems like an odd worry to have but sometimes I really have no clue where I want to head next. This year I could’ve literally gone anywhere I wanted, yet I simply covered old ground. Sometimes I feel like it’s a wasted opportunity but at the moment I really don’t have a large list of places I want to visit, I can’t just keep repeating!
Wondering if I’ll ever ‘burn out’
There has been a few moments on the road where I’ve felt like I’ve reached backpacker burn out, that I don’t want to be on the road anymore. Luckily I see it coming and tend to land a surf coaching job at regular intervals – this gives me a base for a prolonged period, some stable income and time to recoup. But how long until I totally burn out? Will I simply have a moment where I have a mental breakdown or just grab a taxi to the airport and go home?!
Will I ever need a real life? ‘
Real life’, now that’s an interesting concept! At the moment I’m young, I’m lucky enough to be making enough money online to fund my lifestyle and I’m enjoying it. But what happens if this is no longer an option and I have to go back to a life in a seemingly normal job? Being in an office or working 9-5 scares the crap out of me…I don’t want to do that!
Where the hell will I settle down?
I’ve been bouncing around quite a bit and it’s got me thinking, where would I want to settle down? Byron Bay in Australia is top of my list but getting an Aussie visa is nigh on impossible at the moment. So where else? I sure as hell don’t want to have to do it in the UK!
…will I ever settle down?!
But what if I don’t settle down? If I can make money online would I need to settle down? What would this mean for my relationships, finance, future?! At the moment I don’t see a real end date to my travel lifestyle – but it does play on my mind.
Will I regret this decision
Making the decision to travel was pretty easy, I quit my job, headed out into the world and it all snowballed from there in a glorious mash of coincidences and hard work. But it’s cost me a lot – mainly in relationships and money! Will I look back and regret any of it? I certainly don’t think so, but what if I ever need a large sum of money in the future – will I slightly wish I hadn’t blown it all surfing?!
Have I ruined my relationships with friends at home?
When I chat to people on the road they always ask if I miss home, my instant reaction is no, I really don’t. The only thing I really miss is my family, and we chat enough on skype and text that I don’t even miss them enough to come home. One of the sad truths about this statement though is I don’t miss my friends either. In fact as depressing as it sounds I barely talk to any of my UK friends anymore. My emails, text and online chats are filled with people I’ve met on the road – they’re the ones that I keep in contact with and who keep in contact with me.
Friends from my childhood, college and uni have all fallen at the wayside – I can name the people I regularly chat to on one hand, I just wonder if I’ll ever have the close relationship we had before. I guess a lot of that depends on if I return back to the UK though.
What about if someone dies or gets ill?
It’s not something I like to think about but what if someone I’m close dies or gets heaps ill?! What the hell would I do then? I’m usually a long way from the UK, what happens if I need to get back quickly? And even worse – would I want to go back? I know a lot of my family and friends fully support my travel lifestyle and know it’s what I want to do, would they really want me to go back? I know that sounds heaps bad – but they all know I love them to pieces. I guess that’s a bridge I’d have to cross when I come to it.
Will I meet new people?
Even typing this one down felt stupid, I know for a fact that I’ll meet heaps of people wherever I go (in fact it made it into my 10 myths of backpacker travel) but being a solo traveller means I always have this slightly playing on the back of my mind when I visit somewhere new or part ways with a group of people I’ve been with for a while.
I guess it’s because I’ve come to realise that the people you meet can really impact on your experience of a place – you could be in a rubbish hostel in a rubbish town, but if you have a decent group of backpackers to share it with it can totally change your perception.
…so there you have it – even after years on the road I still have fears about my lifestyle and niggling doubts in the back of my mind. I do a pretty good job at suppressing them though – and a mojito on the beach goes a long way to making them disappear for a while!