Downside of Travelling: Missing Out on Your Real Life?

These days in Québec, we hear a lot about Mylène Paquette, the first North American woman who has crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a paddle boat. No one, including myself, can deny her determination. Ms. Paquette truly has surpassed herself in the venture and I can only admire her for that.

Surprisingly or not, it has brought a deep conversation between my husband and me. Having a bucket list, fixing goals through travelling is something really common in my entourage. A lot – read majority – of young adults need travelling in order to grow. It is seen as life experiences that can’t be found elsewhere. It brings some questions to my mind though.

I prefer warning that the rest of this post might contrast a lot with what you typically read about travel on Fabulously Broke. I know the founder of the blog – who you can still read – is a big traveller. I’m not. My point of view is surely different about it, but I think it’s still worth sharing!

What I consider as Travels

Before going further, it might be useful to give a definition of what I consider a trip. I personally consider short trips as part of travels. For example, I made a four day trip to NYC during the summer of 2013. To me, this is travel because I went there in order to live something different and to visit. We also had a one week summer vacation in Hampton Beach, which I also consider travelling, although it was more of a “beach” experience than a visiting one.

On the other hand, going to the cottage, travelling for business purposes only with almost no free time or having a nearby lover weekend are not travels to me.

Therefore, I associate travelling with the purpose of the trip. I don’t pretend to have seen it all during my four day trip to NYC and would have to go back and visit more if I wish to say so! But the purpose was to “see” or to “visit” places such as Times Square, Central Park, 5th Avenue, Ground Zero, etc.

THE Thoughts!

I must admit, I’m personally not a big traveller. It doesn’t mean I don’t see value in it. There are some trips – Italy, France, New Zealand to name a few – I’d like to do in the next 3 to 10 years. However – and here is the main core of my husband and me’s discussion – I wonder if waiting and planning for the next one, especially if making each experience bigger than the one before, does not create dissatisfaction towards daily life.

Here’s an example to illustrate my thoughts. If you give your child a candy once in a while, each time will be special and appreciated. Give your child a candy every day and it will soon lose its meaning as it will become a common thing. I wonder if too many travels or travels that are too big can create the same state for someone. Sooner or later, everything seems common, banal and home suddenly becomes boring. This is not a fact, it’s a hypothesis! 😉

When is it Too Much?

I prefer to believe that you can find happiness in the simplest things, whether at home or while travelling, 365 days a year. I also deeply think that small joys are as important as big experiences – might as well read big experiences are equally important to small ones 😉 .

Discovering new countries and new cultures truly contributes to changing someone’s life. It also contributes to one’s happiness. So when does it become too much? In my point of view, if travelling is essential to one’s happiness, it becomes a problem. In other words, someone’s happiness should not depend on the travels made… just like it must not depend on the amount of money you have or the fact you do or don’t have a lover. Of course, should you have no money at all or no love at all, chances are you won’t be that happy either. These contribute to happiness, but they are not happiness.

A Lack of Resources?

Financial resources might also influence the outcome. Would I travel more if I had more money? Yes and no. I’ve been thinking about a couple of European countries or cities I’d like to go to, but didn’t go yet, mostly because we put our money elsewhere so far! I’d need to make it a top priority, which I simply haven’t done yet. If money was not a problem, I probably would have gone to Europe a couple times already!

On the other hand, even if it was easy budgeting for us, I don’t think I’d go for five trips a year or that I would leave for more than two weeks. I’d feel too far away from the persons I love. I’d feel I’m not there for them. I’d be missing my nephews and niece – I’m already having a hard time dealing with the fact that I don’t see them as much lately. I’d miss my whole family and some close friends.

My Own Balance

Some people are lifetime travellers. They’re just not made for a 9 to 5 routine and home is where they make it. Some others will never feel the need to have kids and find happiness discovering the world. All these situations are more than fine and I’m not here to judge. Feeling comfortable anywhere is something I sometimes envy as there’s nothing like home to me, which might be one of the reasons why I don’t feel the need to travel more.

My husband and I ended the discussion concurring that the key is to maintain a balance, once again! So I guess this is my whole point. Travelling is good, no, it’s great! As long as you don’t become too addicted to it, meaning you make it more important than what truly matters to you. This balance can, however, be really different from one person or a couple to another. I know of people doing at least four trips per year and they still feel everything is balanced. I personally go for one or two per year and find it perfect this way. It doesn’t mean I’m “right”, both, depending on the particular circumstance, can be right for each individual.

What do you think? Can travelling make someone miss out on “real life” joys?

Images credit: Mylene Paquette, NYC, bored, Small Joys Quote, Balance

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