This is an edited extract of “No, travelling didn’t fix my problems. I (almost) did.” by Sabrina Andrea Sachs
When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable. – Clifton Fadiman
It’s almost impossible to browse the web without encountering bloggers and websites telling you how quitting their jobs, selling their possessions and travelling has fixed all their problems. The majority of popular so-called influencers constantly brag about their successful new career or their amazing lives as digital nomads usually along beautiful pictures of tropical beaches, cocktails in bikinis and incredible palmed sunsets. It’s very easy to slip in this amazing trap of thinking that life away from home is easier and everything changes just by changing your location.
See also: 9 Things That WILL Happen When You Move Abroad (One of our most popular blog posts)
Travel has always been part of the human history, the desire to leave the known for the unknown has characterised the human species since the ancient times. My purpose is far from adding something new to the topic, but to share what I’ve learnt in my almost year-long adventure, so that you can make a conscious decision if you think that travelling can solve your problems.
Last year, when I quit my corporate job in London, I was also guilty of that thinking. Or maybe I was naive in thinking that my uncontrollable anxiety, broken heart, memories of violence, insomnia, addiction to tobacco, episodes of depression and many other issues, would magically disappear from my life as soon as I set foot on that plane that was taking me away from my normal life and comfort zone. Eleven months have passed and, I’ve learnt that even though travelling is an enlightening experience, it cannot solve your personal issues. If I’m totally honest to myself and to you, travel has amplified them.
But why do you want to travel? What are you running from?
I hate my job
Some people decide to travel because they absolutely hate what they do and they think that travelling will relieve them of that pain. But. Travelling won’t suddenly make you a millionaire and unless you invest your time to start your own business or learn a new skill, you will have to get back to your previous life and a regular job.
My advice: Stick to your job while you think of another option. In the meantime, find a personal project to work on as a hobby that will inspire you and bring you some experience. ?
I don’t have any money
There are a few countries in the world where a Western traveller can really feel rich and make his/her money last. But travelling to a poor country will make you feel richer than you actually are and it might even have a negative effect on you spending habits.
My advice: What you need to do is try to fix your financial problems, pay your debts and then, only then, start planning a trip.
I wanna be healthy
When I left home, I had this sublime image of me, eating fresh watermelons and drink tropical juices every day in between a run, a surf and yoga session. The truth is that I’ve never eaten so many tuna cans or tinned food in my entire life. On the road it’s really hard to get and keep fresh food and even harder to keep fitness routines.
My advice: The truth is that fit people at home will be fit people on the move and if you wish to be healthier, start a fit routine at home that you can take with you wherever you go.
I want to forget the past
I hear you. Some of us have scars and memories that are hard enough to dig out from our memory box. As a victim of violence, I know how you feel and how strong you think that moving away can heal your wounds. But it’s not true, I am sorry. The truth is that you are only running away from yourself.
My advice: You need to start the healing process alone – or with a specialist – to really solve your issue for good. But, again, don’t expect travelling to fix your problems.
Travel is the best thing that can happen in your life.
But it’s not a solution to your problems. Everything depends on you and your attitude. If you leave home expecting life and yourself to be totally different just “by going”, you are going to be deeply disappointed. If you choose to travel to dedicate precious time – so hard to find in our normal lives – to improve yourself, you might be on the right path for a better life. A better you.
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
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