Why It’s OK Not to Travel the World

superheroyou Why It's OK Not to Travel the World

When you’re in your 20s, everybody constantly tells you to travel the world – whether it’s your parents or a list entitled 20 Things to Do In Your 20s. And lately, it seems like everybody is doing it. Our Instagram feeds are filled with photos from Iceland and Thailand. And we keep hearing about all these digital nomads who have forgone permanent residences to travel the world.

So it’s easy to lament your regular job in your regular apartment in a city that you live in all year. But I’m here to tell you – it’s OK not to travel the world.

First things first: I am NOT bashing traveling entirely. If you’ve never left the country, get a passport and go! All that cliché stuff they say about traveling is entirely true. It opens your eyes, adds adventure to your life, and gives you a new perspective on the world.

But the thing is – you can get a lot of those benefits from vacation, especially if you forgo the beach resorts for the nitty-gritty adventure tourism. And giving up your life to travel isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

I should know.

SuperheroYou doesn’t have an office, which means I can work from anywhere with an Internet connection. So in April 2015, I decided to see what all the fuss about “digital nomads” was about. So I put my furniture in storage and decided to travel around Asia.

For me, that meant treating my mother’s apartment in Tokyo as a “home base” – so perhaps it was more of a digital nomad lite experience. But I did spend the next three months in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea.

Anybody I tell about this always has the same reaction. Wow, they say. That’s so cool!

And I won’t lie: it was. I conquered my fear of traveling alone, despite my trepidation when I first landed in Taipei. I saw some amazing sights, met up with some old friends and made some new ones on the way. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of going to Thailand. And I had delicious (and cheap!) food practically everywhere I went.

But it was also hard.

People don’t like to talk about the downside of being a digital nomad. After all, it ruins the glamour of it all. Plus, it just seems so selfish. You’re traveling the world – what could you possibly have to complain about?

I think the guilt is what made it the hardest. I’d seen all these social media posts of all these people having the time of their lives. So when I wasn’t happy, it felt like I was doing something wrong.

Because the thing was – being a digital nomad let me see the world and do things I never thought I’d do. But mostly, it was just really, really lonely.

Sure, it was nice that I could spend 4 hours at a museum without rushing through the exhibits. But I was by myself all. The. Time. I went days without having a meaningful conversation with anybody, especially in countries where I didn’t speak the language. I couldn’t enjoy restaurants as much because I knew that if my friends or family were there, they would be trying all the delicious dishes with me (and I’d get to try more stuff). Because I still had a full-time job, I spent most of my time in the hostels on my computer to work. And when I did make friends, we could hang out for only a few days before they were off to whatever corner of the world they were from.

I expected to come home from traveling with some amazing revelation about myself or my world. I did not expect that revelation to be this:

Building a life in one city in your 20s is underrated. Working towards your dreams, getting married, starting a family – those are all just as amazing as traveling the world. Yes, it’s nice to see a ruin that’s 10,000 years old. But it’s also nice (albeit in a different way) to have a standing brunch date with your friend every Saturday. To know that there are people in this world who are thrilled to have you in one place all-year round is a valuable thing.

The bottom line? If you want to travel and become a digital nomad, you should do it. Maybe you’ll have an amazing time! I recommend staying in a country for at least a month, instead of just a few weeks like I did.

But if you go away and decide that you hate it, it’s OK to go back home. And if you’re looking on Instagram and jealous of whoever happens to be working from a beach in Thailand at the moment, look around and be grateful for all that you have – the people who love you, who couldn’t function without you. Don’t go travel if you’re only going because you think you should. Remember, building a life in one place is still an adventure.

Liked this? Check out our Real-Life Superhero of the Week: Stephen King!

Written by Sasha Graffana

 

 

When you’re in your 20s, everybody constantly tells you to travel the world – whether it’s your parents or a list entitled 20 Things to Do In Your 20s. And lately, it seems like everybody is doing it. Our Instagram feeds are filled with photos from Iceland and Thailand. And we keep hearing about all these digital nomads who have forgone permanent residences to travel the world.

So it’s easy to lament your regular job in your regular apartment in a city that you live in all year. But I’m here to tell you – it’s OK not to travel the world.

First things first: I am NOT bashing traveling entirely. If you’ve never left the country, get a passport and go! All that cliché stuff they say about traveling is entirely true. It opens your eyes, adds adventure to your life, and gives you a new perspective on the world.

But the thing is – you can get a lot of those benefits from vacation, especially if you forgo the beach resorts for the nitty-gritty adventure tourism. And giving up your life to travel isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

I should know.

SuperheroYou doesn’t have an office, which means I can work from anywhere with an Internet connection. So in April 2015, I decided to see what all the fuss about “digital nomads” was about. So I put my furniture in storage and decided to travel around Asia.

For me, that meant treating my mother’s apartment in Tokyo as a “home base” – so perhaps it was more of a digital nomad lite experience. But I did spend the next three months in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea.

Anybody I tell about this always has the same reaction. Wow, they say. That’s so cool!

And I won’t lie: it was. I conquered my fear of traveling alone, despite my trepidation when I first landed in Taipei. I saw some amazing sights, met up with some old friends and made some new ones on the way. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of going to Thailand. And I had delicious (and cheap!) food practically everywhere I went.

But it was also hard.

People don’t like to talk about the downside of being a digital nomad. After all, it ruins the glamour of it all. Plus, it just seems so selfish. You’re traveling the world – what could you possibly have to complain about?

I think the guilt is what made it the hardest. I’d seen all these social media posts of all these people having the time of their lives. So when I wasn’t happy, it felt like I was doing something wrong.

Because the thing was – being a digital nomad let me see the world and do things I never thought I’d do. But mostly, it was just really, really lonely.

Sure, it was nice that I could spend 4 hours at a museum without rushing through the exhibits. But I was by myself all. The. Time. I went days without having a meaningful conversation with anybody, especially in countries where I didn’t speak the language. I couldn’t enjoy restaurants as much because I knew that if my friends or family were there, they would be trying all the delicious dishes with me (and I’d get to try more stuff). Because I still had a full-time job, I spent most of my time in the hostels on my computer to work. And when I did make friends, we could hang out for only a few days before they were off to whatever corner of the world they were from.

I expected to come home from traveling with some amazing revelation about myself or my world. I did not expect that revelation to be this:

Building a life in one city in your 20s is underrated. Working towards your dreams, getting married, starting a family – those are all just as amazing as traveling the world. Yes, it’s nice to see a ruin that’s 10,000 years old. But it’s also nice (albeit in a different way) to have a standing brunch date with your friend every Saturday. To know that there are people in this world who are thrilled to have you in one place all-year round is a valuable thing.

The bottom line? If you want to travel and become a digital nomad, you should do it. Maybe you’ll have an amazing time! I recommend staying in a country for at least a month, instead of just a few weeks like I did.

But if you go away and decide that you hate it, it’s OK to go back home. And if you’re looking on Instagram and jealous of whoever happens to be working from a beach in Thailand at the moment, look around and be grateful for all that you have – the people who love you, who couldn’t function without you. Don’t go travel if you’re only going because you think you should. Remember, building a life in one place is still an adventure.

Liked this? Check out our Real-Life Superhero of the Week: Stephen King!

Written by Sasha Graffana

 

 

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