Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top 3 thoughts after returning from travel

Let's start off this with an apology... It's been over five months since my last blog post.  When I stopped backpacking full-time throughout Europe and started work again, I  struggled to figure out how everything fitted together. I still am. Even though things were still new and challenging with moving to London, renting a flat, getting a job etc, after so long travelling it really was a shock to my senses.  I felt like I wasn't doing anything epic enough to blog about.

Full-time travel is such a unique experience and builds on, and often changes, who you really are. Every day you see something new, meet someone you wouldn't otherwise meet, learn something about the world, and learn something about yourself. It seems like such a cliche: quit your job, travel the world, find yourself, and forever be changed.  To a certain extent, I find this to be true. When I was on the road, I viewed the world differently.  I was thinking deeper, I was seeing so much beauty in both the world and the human beings around me and I was learning off every person I met. Everything seemed brighter and things that would normally create stress or worry really weren't such a big issue. Problem solving and making quick decisions for myself became the norm, because lets face it, any mistake I made was entirely my own fault.  Backpacking life is so poor, yet so incredibly rich.

The issue is, however, what happens when you stop travelling?  Rightly or wrongly, these were and still are my top 3 thoughts 6 months after ceasing full-time backpacking.

Relationships suffer

Travelling, especially solo travel, forces you to meet hundreds of like-minded people. Who you meet or don't meet has such a huge affect on your opinion of a destination. At hostels, everyone is in the same position.  They are here to have an adventure, to learn about the world and to learn about themselves. Everyone is friendly and not afraid to initiate conversation and one hello can turn into spending one day, a week, or even a month travelling with that person. 

Can you imagine going from this environment to somewhere like London where everyone is stuck in groundhog day? Everyone has a mission that they need to achieve and you are worth less to them than the chewing gum they step in on the way to work. I walk past people on the street or even in work corridors and almost recoil at the sheer rudeness of people who can't go out of their way to say hello or even smile.

This is similar to interactions with the opposite sex. You go from meeting like-minded people frequently and then potentially travelling with them for x period of time, to coming back after travel and being faced with tinder mind-games or having to go out to bars and clubs binge-drinking in order to meet people.  Obviously I am exaggerating here, but I can't explain how special it is for two complete strangers to meet and then experience the wonders of travelling together.

I feel myself slipping back to normality

Perhaps the scariest thing for me and the hardest to admit, is the fact that the slide is extremely steep when it comes to slipping back to normality.  After the honeymoon phase of settling back down, within a fortnight things start returning to how things were when you left.  You get up to eat, commute to work, spend 8+ hours working for someone in potentially a position you don't like, return home tired, netflix binge, and sleep.  Rinse, wash, repeat.

This process is heartbreaking as you spend the entire time while traveling telling yourself (and others) that no way will I go back to how things were. You know within yourself that you have changed, but the rest of the world continues on oblivious. I continue to constantly remind myself to see where I am with the wonder I did while travelling, however it is my greatest fear to get stuck back in normality. Something I am working on as we speak is the realisation that if you don't like something, then do damn well everything in your power to change it. Don't like your job? Change. Don't like where you live? Move.  Want to travel but can't afford it? Work your butt off until you can or at least do a weekend trip occasionally.  It's scary, but doable. Watch this space.

I know what I don't want

One of the hardest questions I have come across is 'What do I want'?  Like it or not, travel is fantastic at helping you figure out what you don't want.  While travelling, I ended up spending a lot of my time in the outdoors and trying to find as many mountains to climb as possible. Spending time in nature always seemed more rewarding somehow and absolutely free.  So why am I in a career stuck in an office all day every day?  I don't know what the answer is to 'What do I want', however I know that through travel I am one step closer to figuring it out.  This may not just be career related, it may be where you want to live, who you want to spend your life with, it is different for everyone.

I know this has been a pretty intense post but I felt like I needed to share my thoughts with the world. That is the beauty of blogging I guess!  

Whether you are about to travel, are currently travelling, or at home, I implore you to have an adventurous spirit who loves to learn. I believe that truly is the key to living a happy life.


  1. Scott, Enjoyed reading your Blog ! Especially re "setttling back-in" to the hum-drum reality of Life after tripping - as it rang a few familiar chords. Contentment is a matter of finding the unique
    pragmatic Balance between the needs & the wants. Cheers & good luck with your searching. Rowan (an old friend of your Mum's).

  2. Thanks Rowan, I appreciate your comment and love those words. So very true!
    Cheers, Scott