Fear | Sacrifice | Confidence | The Tipping Point | Regret
I’ve come to realize that I have a hard time making life decisions. For someone as opinionated and outspoken as myself, you’d think I would have the gusto to just charge forward with what I believe is right for me. But, as I dig deeper into the decision-making hole, I have found myself stuck.
So, I set out for advice. I wanted to know – how did others make this seriously scary decision? While I’m not planning to go forever, my long-term trip will require me to forgo my current job and lifestyle. I will be making a conscious turn on my life map and I wanted thoughts on how others had done it.
I needed to hear some words of wisdom from those who had made the jump. I reached out to a select handful of my favorite travel experts – bloggers whose words have encouraged me to keep pushing forward against the wind to follow this dream that is keeping me up at night. I am touched by all of the meaningful, thoughtful words that were shared.
I was surprised by the variety of responses that I heard to the questions I asked. People really do decide to travel long-term for a myriad of reasons. Some were afraid, some weren’t. A few had full confidence and others needed a boost. For a couple, traveling long-term wasn’t really a decision – it happened naturally, while for others, it was just as conscious and deliberate as it will be for me.
As I’ve written about before – I am anxious – not about travel itself, to be clear, but about veering off my career path, leaving my people, and heading towards an ambiguous near future. They remind me that I’m not alone in feeling uncertain.
Over the next week, I will be sharing their words of wisdom in a series that I hope will be as useful and comforting to others as they have been for me. These are some of the fears held by the same voices that share such inspiration with the travel community every day.
What was most terrifying for you?
Leaving my closest friends and family and a city I really loved. I wasn’t afraid to be alone, but I was afraid of no longer being a significant part of their lives. – Alex Baackes, Alex in Wanderland
I think letting go of an awesome paycheck was the hardest part. I am lucky that I have someone to live with and am not on my own financially. Ben isn’t going to let me run out of money and sleep in a ditch! I had to make a new way, which is why I now do massage and have this blog- although my blog makes no money. I worked hard for my degree and was doing well as a travel nurse- well enough to leave the US and fly wherever I wanted. When I pictured my paycheck gone, I pictured not being able to afford flights. Luckily, I’m managing to scrape by- but I can’t say it’s without stress. – Rachel Jones, Hippie In Heels
Well, I’ve never been so far away from Europe, the only culture I really knew at the time. Add to it the fact that I found my job as a teacher in China online, which was not much of reassurance that it even exists when I get there. I didn’t have a lot of savings and thought that I will only earn $100 per month. Turns out it’s more like $18000 a year, but at first I was a bit terrified. – Agness Walewinder, eTramping
Leaving behind this presumed comfort and security. In spite of my precarious financial situation in the U.S., I had a lot of great friends, an amazing apartment and a generally pleasant life. The idea that I was throwing it all away to pursue some crazy dream seemed more crazy than dreamy at the time. – Robert Schrader, Leave Your Daily Hell
Seemed more crazy than dreamy at the time. – Robert Schrader
Loneliness. It scared the shit out of me, but it’s these fears that add an extra thrill to the lifestyle. There’s a certain euphoric feeling that goes along with facing them, and once you overcome the things you were once afraid of (and believe me, you will), life on the road becomes a part of you. That is where the beauty kicks in. – Ruann Weidemann, Solo Travel Uncut
I think anytime you leave on a big trip like this it’s slightly terrifying. For me, going alone was a very scary prospect, but the fact that it scared me was part of what made me feel like I had to do it. – Stephanie Yoder, Twenty-Something Travel
The most terrifying part of all of this for me is the thought of having to come back to this life. That’s my motivation to make this work. When I don’t want to stay up late working on my blog, or editing photos, or writing – I remind myself what I’ll be coming back to if I don’t do these things now. – Ashley Hubbard, A Southern Gypsy
Nothing, although I just wanted to make sure that I had enough “fuck you money” to make sure I didn’t have to return to the work force. – Francis Tapon, WanderLearn with Francis Tapon
Failing and having to move back home. – Beth Williams, Besudesu Abroad
What are/were your fears about long-term travel?
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