Last night over dinner, I poured my heart out to a dear friend. After a couple of drinks, I could not help but tell her all about how much I struggled with my underlying travel addiction. 

If only I could just take off somewhere far, new, and exciting… Don’t get me wrong, on paper life is good. I have an interesting job, a lovely little house, and a wonderful partner. 

But my feet are as itchy as ever and, from the hours I spend scrolling down my Instagram feed, I know I’m not the only one. 

What is it about travel that makes it so addictive? 

1. Movement 

There is something I find exhilarating about the moment a plane takes off. Let the travel games begin! 

With travelling, comes a feeling of constant movement which leaves little time to dwell on anything from small details to the daunting meaning of life. It gives someone suffering travel addiction like me the illusion of moving forward constantly and consistently rather than being stuck somewhere in a cotton-wool prison. 

2. Escape 

Travelling gives us a chance to escape from our reality and stepping away from our daily life and its countless admin tasks, and unavoidable responsibilities

I still can’t figure out if I’m running away from or searching for something. Regardless, exploring a different country is the best way I’ve found to clear ones’ head. 

3. Freedom 

This is especially true when travelling solo. The fact is, you can do whatever you‘d like to do and be whoever you wish to be. Travelling helps you define and refine who you are. 

If you’d rather be alone, you can have that ‘me time’ you’re craving for. If not, meeting people is easier than I thought it would be. I remember chatting to a Chinese family on an overnight train in Xinjiang, eating Pho with a local Vietnamese girl in Hanoi, or picking up a fascinating couple of Canadian hitchhikers in Australia. 

4. Challenge   

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” is an approach most of the fellow travel addicts I’ve met take. Being in a different country, they feel more confident to try new things – things they might not have dared to do at home. 

So do I, travelling gives me the opportunity to step out of our comfort zone and say ‘yes!’ to new adventures. We’re currently planning a trip to New Zealand, the land of extreme sport, and I’m finding myself seriously thinking about skydiving. For someone as scared of heights as I am, it’s a pretty big deal!

5. Encounters 

Another thing I love about travelling is having the chance to meet new people both locals and fellow travellers from all over the world! 

What better way to learn about new cultures, local history, and way of life? I also find that it helps me to put things into perspective and cherish the immense chance I have to travel. 

Like everything, travel is a coin with two sides – one is passion, the other is addiction. Not having any future plans makes me feel stuck and restless. Thinking about it, my chest tightens, my stomach fills with knots, and my mind races. Travelling isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity. 

For some reason, I’ve always thought I would die young. I have no idea why or how but that single belief has made it virtually impossible for me to picture a long term future and has led me to try to live a life as regret free as possible. 

Why won’t I flee? Love, mainly. Life isn’t only up to me and my priorities have shifted. How does one recover from a travel addiction? I wonder…

Are you a travel addict too? Leave a comment.

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Keen to read more about my story beyond borders? Check out my travel memoir.