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Is Long Term Travel For You?

Do you read travel blogs every day and dream of the long term travel lifestyle? Would you give everything to pack up your backpack and set out to travel the world for six months, a year, two years or even longer?

Traveling long term is an amazing adventure and it will bring you many unforgettable experiences. However, there are also sacrifices that you will need to make in order to stay on the road for this long. Whether or not long term travel is the right lifestyle for you will depend on whether or not you feel that these sacrifices are worth it for the adventures you will be having.

Missing Friends and Family

In my opinion this can be one of the hardest parts of the long term travel lifestyle. No matter where you are in the world you are usually very far away from the people that you love. You miss out on Christmases, birthdays, parties, weddings and other special events.

Although you can keep in touch with Skype and stay connected to your friends and family back home, not attending those special events is a sacrifice you will have to make with long term travel.

Not Having “Stuff”

When you live on the road permanently like we do, all of your stuff must fit in a backpack or a suitcase. This can have its disadvantages. I can’t count the number of things I have loved in shops as I have traveled the world but not been able to buy because I didn’t have room for them in my bag. As a girl it will be especially hard to adjust, because you are likely used to having an entire closet stuffed with different outfits to choose from.

Not Having a Conventional Career Path

Another aspect to the long term travel lifestyle is that you will likely have to give up on the idea of the conventional career path. In order to travel the world for several years at a time, you will either have to find a career which you can take on the road with you or apply for working holiday visas and work in the countries that you visit.

Although it is possible to build your career while travelling, you need to accept that you might have to take a job outside of your field in another country just to earn enough money to keep going. A better way to look at it is that you are not traveling to work, you are working to travel and these experiences are all part of the adventure.

An Uncertain Future

When you have a life of long term travel, you can say goodbye to ever being able to predict where you are a year from now. Travel plans need to be flexible and you will never be able to predict what will happen when you set foot in a new country.

However, the plus side of this is that your life will be filled with adventures, excitement and new experiences.

Long term travel is a lifestyle that doesn’t work for everyone and while Lee and I love it, other people might find it infuriating and would prefer to take shorter holidays instead of living permanently on the road. It all comes down to what you value most in life and what sort of things you are willing to sacrifice to create your ideal lifestyle.

About Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word.

8 comments

  1. I would absolutely love to travel long term. Its hard to do with children though. I dont see why anyone wouldnt want to. It would be hard leaving family and friends behind but you can always send a postcard πŸ™‚ And besides youd be coming back with tons of stories to tell!

  2. Yep, that’s why they call it the travel bug. I would love to travel long term but due to relationship commitments it’s not quite possible. So, for the moment it’s short travels here and there. I’m a freelance writer so I often use those trips as “research”:-)

  3. I had a co-worker who was fairly well off. She would take a leave of absence, then set off for some unknown part of the world for a month or so. Once she traveled around Africa for a year. I was so envious!

    As a disabled person, it’s difficult for me to imagine such a life. Even if I wasn’t disabled, I think I would be reluctant to travel for long periods of time. My family is very close. I’d miss out on my nieces and nephews growing years. I’d miss all the family parties. I wouldn’t have my sweet little dog.

    One can always dream though.

  4. The last few years I’ve put off long term travel plans to finish university. However after graduation I intend on embarking on a few lengthy adventures. Some friends have advised me to embark down the traditional career route first. However I’ve got the travel bug and know I wouldn’t be able to give my all to my career until I’ve seen more of the world. Plus I don’t have the responsibility of a boyfriend or children.

    I anticipate the hardest challenge will be being apart from my family. Though I do know they want me to live life to the full and enjoy all the world has to offer. There is also the possibility of meeting up with some family members along the way as they are all keen to travel more.

    I know it won’t be easy but that the experiences will last a lifetime.

  5. I’m at the other end of the age-range than you guys, being 55 years old, healthy and semi-retired I am free to travel as much as I want without worrying about having a gap in my career path. I have a small private pension, the joys of a *substantial* (ah-hem !) state pension to come in 5 years, am earning online and am advernturous – this site is inspiring to to get on and do what I know I really want to do – travel!

  6. Long-term travel is interesting but I don’t think I could do it. I find a certain comfort in “home” and having my own bed and pillow and being surrounded by my friends and family. I LOVE reading travel blogs though and like to live vicariously through others who are traveling the world. I hope that eventually we can save enough money to take a few extended trips to exotic destinations…but I will take comfort in the idea of returning to my home when the trip is over!

  7. I think I am suited to medium-term travel. Not a day in every city but a month to get to know its intricacies before I move on. You miss a lot being a tourist, which can often be the best bits. Places an hour bus ride away that you have no expectations of can often be the places that blow you away.

    After 6 months or so a quick trip home to catch up is always nice before I move on to somewhere new.

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