Last week I surprised many readers by writing a post on the sacrifices of traveling the world long-term.
Yes, there are challenges and sacrifices, but there are also many and priceless rewards.
So in fairness, I thought this week I would share some of the benefits and perks of long-term travel.
This is a massive reward for me.
Long-term travel gives the feeling of complete freedom.
When you work online, the world is your office. You are free to endlessly explore mountain ranges, foreign countries, and historic sights.
Ancient ruins and famous festivals, like Oktoberfest or the running of the bulls, that most people only read about, jump off the page and into reality as you experience them first hand. The world is your oyster, and the only limits are those you place on yourself.
Traveling long-term delivers some major epic experiences. In the span of one year, I ran with the bulls, sailed the best islands in Croatia, and drove a third of the planet on the Mongol Rally. These are experiences that I will forever cherish.
Don’t get me wrong; short-term travel can also provide some of the same experiences. However, when traveling long-term, larger-than-life experiences become almost a weekly thing. I’ve been backpacking through Greece all the way to backpacking Thailand.
Living With Less
Living out of a backpack for years at a time is an eye opening experience. Every ounce of weight in your backpack is felt as you carry it from one destination to the next.
Therefore, limiting the amount of “things” you own is a vital necessity. Soon you realize all you really need to survive is a few pairs of clothes, three meals a day, and a place to sleep.
Of course, learning this doesn’t happen overnight. At first, giving or throwing away things that you desire is a big shock but soon the lack of clutter and the simplicity of a simple life becomes a massive reward.
Not only does it teach you not to spend spontaneously or to hold on to material things but it also make saving money so much easier. Every purchase is weighed and when you do buy something, it becomes a nice earned reward.
Living with next to nothing has completely changed my habits and outlook on life.
Loving Who You Are
However, as you continue on your journey, you become very comfortable in your own skin and find out it isn’t quite so bad.
I’ve learned how to entertain myself, strike up random conversations with strangers, learn from different cultures, and reflect on my life and travels.
Long-term travel has allowed me to examine who I am as well as lay the path for the person I want to become.
A Reverse Culture Shock.
Visiting home gives a reverse culture shock. I’ll never forgot the first time I came home after soaking up the vibrant and friendly culture of Southeast Asia over many months, and just experienced Yee Ping for the first time.
For the first couple of weeks I saw everything with fresh eyes and sometimes found myself rather disoriented and shocked. I felt the same in Costa Rica.
During this visit, I remember I walked into a massive department store and immediately felt overwhelmed. I literally had to fight the urge to run out.
Plus large portions at restaurants were disconcerting, speaking English to people that understood was mind-blowing, and sleeping in a quiet room without 10 plus strangers felt abnormal.
I honestly couldn’t sleep well at all throughout the entire first week. Personally, the benefits of traveling the world have always outweighed the challenges and hardships.
Travel is my passion, the most important thing in my life, and not something I will ever stop doing. This world is to vibrant and beautiful for words, and my love of it continues to grow as travel and learn life’s lessons.