I started The Travelling Squid to encourage people to leave their comfort zones and travel. But I have learnt, from personal experiences and that of friends, that not all reasons to travel are purely about experiencing a new culture, admiring natural scenery and seeking adventures. If you find that you are unable to sit still for more than a month in the country you’re based in, there’s a high chance that the serial traveller you are, could be more unhappy than your friends who don’t travel as much.
I do have a caveat here. I’m not referring to those 4 day 3 night trips to Bali or Ho Chi Minh with your friends or family. What I mean by travelling is frequent, long trips – a few months or weeks, to faraway places which are vastly different from your current environment.
Before you rush to book that promotional air ticket you just saw online, think again. Why are you travelling? Many a time, unhappiness, or dissatisfaction with your current life could be one of the reasons.
1. Your relationship, or the lack thereof.
Going on long trips could mean that you’re looking to escape from someone, a long trip could be ideal. There’s also a high tendency for singles to go travelling for long periods of time. That could be a preferred way of life, but what better way than to chase away loneliness than to escape to beautiful rivers and mountains, or hit the nightclubs with hot chicks.
2. Your job.
Your job takes up 80%of your time. Chances are, if you are unhappy, it’s got to be with your job. I am not saying that it’s the main factor, but it could be a contributing one. One key sign of that is when you experience bouts of dread on the plane back home, or on the last day of your trip.
3. You lack a purpose in life.
You can’t make sense of your current situation and that is why you have to board a plane to search for greener pastures. Your own country, your friends, your co-workers and everything around you sadly doesn’t fulfill your Maslow Hierarchy of needs. In fact, the further and more dangerous places you go to shows that you are in dire need of some self actualization.
4. You are uncomfortable with who you are.
Travelling seems to be cool quite days. What better way to kickstart a conversation than to talk about the places you recently visited, the delectable local cuisine you tasted and the awesome foreign people you met? It turns any mediocre person into a seemingly daring, brave and adventurous person. These are the traits you value and want the people around you to think of you as such.
5. You have a problem you can’t solve.
And it’s a serious problem. If you are aware you have a problem, chances are, you Think that a new environment is good for you to clear your mind and think of solutions. Travelling could actually be just a form of escapism. If you are unaware of the problem, (it’s really bad). You are trying to escape from something you don’t even know exist.
6. You want someone or some people to notice your absence
I know this sounds really strange, but going on a trip can also be a call for attention. Either your friends have forgotten about your existence, or you want to remembered in some way. But if you have to resort to that, then I suggest in the words of the Frozen theme song, it’s time to “Let It Go”.
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All I have learnt through my “career of travelling” is, so what if you have a fantastic travel resume. It doesn’t make you any more special than your friend who doesn’t travel as much. And for those who don’t see the need to travel as much, this could be a telling sign that you are contented and happy with your life.
Before you go on that next long trip, think again. Why do you want to go? Chances are, it may not be 100% because of the destination you intend to go to. Rather than looking overseas to escape from your current problems, why not face up to them in your home country, and try to solve them when you can. When you’re finally done, only then can you appreciate the beauty of travelling, at its very best.
This is an adaptation of an initial post, “Travelling, a sign of discontent.”