So, here’s the thing. I don’t travel so much anymore. And here’s why.
In November 2018, I got mono. It’s a serious invasion on your health and immune system that requires a lot of energy to recover from. One of the symptoms is that you sleep a lot and are always tired.
But still, even though I was out for a full month and recovery was slow, that wasn’t even so bad. You heal from it.
What was not at all so great, is that it had a long-term side effect: ever since I got mono, I am intolerant to light.
No, I don’t have a sun allergy. A sun allergy comes after a few hours, goes away after a few hours. You usually get it on a holiday and suffer from it for 2 days before it goes away completely.
No, that would have been too easy :) I have a sun light allergy. Meaning that whenever sun light touches my skin (even when it’s cloudy and even through windows or strong reflection), my skin gets an allergic reaction. Not within a few hours… already within a few minutes (like literally within 5 minutes or less) my skin will get read, swollen, and it burns like holding your cheek to a hot stove.
Since May of last year I have been taking medication. It has stopped the itching that came with the allergy, but not the redness and burning.
So actually, except for a few work trips where I was inside the whole day at trade fairs and was outside only when it got dark, I haven’t traveled at all for a year.
And honestly, I didn’t miss it that much because I started a side hustle in the mean time: an online business where I help growing entrepreneurs to increase their visibility online while automating their marketing and sales processes.
But now, after 11 months of no real time off, I’m so ready for a trip!
That also made me want to share the below Thoughts I wrote on my other blog, Blonde Gone Travel, on a quarter life crisis I had a few years back where I was getting stuck with the question: Why do we travel?
Feel free to read it. It’s five years old I think, but it’s funny that I bumped into it when I’m in another stage of my life where this question is very relevant.
The last few days, I have been brooding. Something has changed and I was finally able to put my finger on what it is. Even though this has never seemed important before, I suddenly seemed to need the answer to the question: Why do we travel?
A lot has happened the past few weeks. I started kind of working on the side at two startups, which is taking up a lot of my free time. I have a thesis to write besides all my other schoolwork and I’m supposed to start working two shifts a week at Starbucks soon. My trip to Morocco was canceled, because of some stupid miscommunication and, to top it all off, my grandpa died. He has kind of been the center of my universe ever since it was confirmed he had lung cancer. And by that I mean even more than he already was before.
Suddenly, I haven’t been able to find peace. I’m constantly thinking without realizing that I’m doing it, trying to keep myself busy with work and school up to the point that I can hardly keep my eyes open by 8pm. I feel more and more depressed and the fact that I can’t keep up my two blogs and the social media that are linked to it, makes me feel like ‘I can’t even pull that off’.
Writing has always helped me to put my thoughts into words, to give them structure, but I couldn’t find the time or energy to do that. But finally, at some point, I was able to put at least this into words: I hate feeling like I am lived by my life. Because that’s what’s happening right now and I know it.
So, as a traveler, I decided that what I needed was to get out there again. There’s a promotion at Ryanair right now with flights to Warsaw for €9,99. It would also allow me to scratch another European capital off of my list. Besides, I’ve never been to Eastern Europe before. Last year, I would have jumped at this opportunity.
I’d have found a week where I could get away for three days but then… I hesitated. I don’t know why I felt such a resistance to book the d*mn ticket. I wondered what was stopping me. My head literally screamed at me: What the hell is wrong with you? Buy the ticket already!
Writing all this down, just now I found out what my real question is: why the hell would I go to Warsaw?
That stopped me in my tracks. Why? Why do I travel? That’s a question I’d never asked myself before. Of course, other people have asked me a dozen times. My answer was simple: I wanna test myself and I wanna see the world. Boom. Simple as that. So, is that still the case? Absolutely.
But why is it then that can’t I bring myself to buy the stupid ticket?!
I have always wanted to prove myself; to my friends, my family, my teachers and, yes, myself. I want to get recognition for what I do, I want at least one person to look up to me and I want the people close to me to tell me they are proud of my achievements.
But the truth of the matter is: I don’t think I’m good enough, no matter what they say. I can’t even get outside of Europe by myself, I can’t travel with other people besides my family or people I meet on the road, and I can’t get the (paid) internship I want that would give me a reason to travel around Australia and New-Zealand next year.
Maybe this little crisis of mine is also caused by the fact that – yes, I’ll admit it – I’m scared. I had my whole life planned for myself, from kindergarten until the day I would graduate from university. But that milestone is only a few months away and… I’m scared of not knowing what will come next. Everyone in my school seems to be more or less certain of what they want to do after graduating and I feel like I can’t do anything.
Why do I travel?
To escape from having to think about and live up to the moment I’ll have to step into the unknown?
To feel like I’m in control of something while not being in control at all?
To try and find out what it actually is I wanna do and who I really am before I was being lived by my life (again)?
To feel some kind of freedom?
There are a lot of answers on the internet when you Google this question – 1.4 billion to be exact. They just don’t make sense right now.
If all of this isn’t giving you a headache, it certainly is giving me one. I feel like it is urgent for me to answer the question why it is we travel. But the side-question is: does there have to be an answer and is there even an answer? Right now, I can’t find peace in accepting the not-knowing. Nevertheless, sharing this with you is kind of lifting some of it off me.
If you’re still reading, I’ll tell you this: maybe you kept on reading because you’re in the same place as I am, or maybe you are also wondering about the question why it is we travel. Maybe you are looking for reasons to counter the question why it is you don’t travel. I would love to know if you’ve found any answers.
For now, I certainly have a few things to figure out and I’ll do my best to keep giving you your weekly reading material and bucketlist inspiration.
Have a wanderful day!