Sure, extended world travel is awesome, but before I go on trying to inspire people to sell everything and hit the road, maybe I should warn about a few of the side effects of such an adventure.
We experienced all of the following symptoms at one time or another during our round-the-world trip, and are still afflicted with some of them today. So consider yourself warned:
1. Difficulty Complaining
After a few months, we just learned to take things like dangerous streets & sidewalks, indecipherable signs, random transportation strikes, and sketchy different hygiene and safety standards in stride. After all, these things didn’t seem to trouble the locals.
So when we got back to where everyone speaks our language, the sidewalks are clean and level (and motorcycle-free), and there are hardly any lizards, bugs or rats in the restaurants, it was really hard to find anything to complain about.
2. Temporary Inability to Worry
There were a million things in our travels that didn’t go as planned. We got delayed, lost, scammed and otherwise confused in places where no one spoke our language. We missed a flight or two, lost some things, made mistakes – yet somehow everything always seemed to work out just fine. Not to mention all the terrible things that could have gone wrong, but didn’t.
I think having gone through all that has made it easier to deal with the continued uncertainties now that we’re back, though the effect seems to be wearing off a bit. Not enough to make me do something crazy like get a job, but enough to affect my sleep patterns just a little.
3. Permanently Altered Perspectives
This is probably the longest-lasting side effect of world travel. There are so many little things we will never look at the same way again: grocery stores, motorcycles, and toilet paper, for example. But it’s more than that – I think we actually see the world differently now. Some things we used to take for granted seem very strange. I’ll probably be writing a lot more about this in the coming months.
4. Uncontrollable Urge to Do It Again
Now that we’ve been back for almost a hear (yikes!), our desire to take off on another adventure is growing stronger with every passing day. I’m afraid there is only one cure – and it involves some packing. Unfortunately, it will probably be many months before we can do any serious traveling again, so I guess we’ll just have to suck it up.
OK, I know these don’t really sound like bad things, but trust me: #3 and #4 can be a real problem if you’re planning to return to ‘normal life’ when your trip is over. There are probably other side effects I’ve forgotten to mention, too (maybe memory loss is one of them!), so if you know of any I’ve missed, please mention them in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!