What It’s Like Being the Only Travel Addict in My Group of Friends

What It’s Like Being the Only Travel Addict in My Group of Friends

It isn’t easy being the only restless wanderer in the bunch!

“Guys, let’s go on a trip! There’s a seat sale!”

“Sorry, I can’t. I have no money!”

“I’ll have to check my schedule first… I think that’s midterm season.”

“Oh no, that’s quarter end. Can’t be out of the office then!”

Countless times I’ve had conversations play out exactly like this. I remember so many moments throwing my hands up in the air frustratedly because I — a certified travel addict — never had anyone to travel with. Shortly after graduation, my boyfriend went to medical school, so I couldn’t expect him to find the time (and energy) to travel with me like he used to. Until now, I always joke around that the med school community stole all the closest people in my life away from me. My best friends took the same track — the road to becoming a doctor seemed to be a very crowded one.

solo travel

So right after college, just as I was thirsting to hop onto the next plane and explore the world, I was left miserable and alone.

Also read: Why Travelling Solo is Better Than Travelling With Friends

I recall shaking my head in defeat, crestfallen over yet another rejected invitation. I often felt jealousy biting down on me hard whenever I’d open social media — the gold mine of stunning travel photos of friends soaking up each other’s sweet company. There were terrible times I sank so low to the point of questioning if my best friends still valued our friendship. But after multiple disappointments, I tried to look beyond my own selfish interests for a change. I put myself in their shoes, and after some much-needed contemplation, I came to a couple of eye-opening revelations:

Not everyone is a travel addict — they might not share the same passion for adventurous discovery

travel addict

It’s always easy to assume that everyone possesses a strong sense of travel fever — an intense yearning to tread off-the-beaten paths and understand the unique cultures that comprise our diverse world. Just imagine my genuine shock upon realising that this fundamental passion of mine isn’t universal after all. Not everyone is a travel addict.

I had a very enlightening chat with a trusted friend of mine. I asked her directly why nobody wanted to join me in my adventures. She responded simply but substantially, “We all want to spend time with you. But your interests are very different from ours. I personally like staying at home. I’m happy painting and watching Netflix. We respect that you love to travel, but we don’t feel as strongly about it as you do.”

The realisation: Different people like different things

Hearing this point-blank was startling. I chastised myself for never considering that my friends might be different. It seems they find their ultimate source of joy right there in the comforts of home — whereas I, an adrenaline-junkie, prefer jumping off cliffs and trekking treacherous mountain trails. It was certainly a wake-up call for me to be more conscious of how self-centered I can be. How easy it is to lose understanding and empathy in the unruly forest of life’s relationships — but they’re principles that determine the kinds of lives we choose to lead.

People are busy, and sometimes their peak for travel and exploration comes much later

Pressured by work deadlines, drowning in grad school requirements, pushed to the limit by a hopelessly stringent boss — these are common “excuses” I’d get from people who would explain themselves for missing out on an enticing invitation to travel. Admittedly, there were times I’d assume my friends were just making these reasons up. But I’m now at a point in my life where I see their perspective much more clearly. I currently work a strenuous job as a teacher and I have multiple gigs on the side. Although the urge to travel is ever-present, the pressure to perform well at work trumps it hands-down. 

The realisation: Where we are in life plays a big role in where we want to be

We all go through various stages in our lives with differing priorities in each one. A year ago, the travel addict within me was impossible to contain. Fuelled by my adventurous spirit, I booked ticket after ticket with little regard for the hard-earned savings I was eating away at. Looking at myself today, I’m positively astonished by my transformation. The hankering to travel will tug at me forever, but my pride now stems from the value I place in my work rather than the number of destinations I’ve crossed off my bucket list. 

family travel

Image credit: Paula Peralejo

I have a cousin who used to be an extreme jet-setter. She took pride in making her way around all 81 provinces of the Philippines, then moving on to explore the rest of Asia, Europe, and the Americas! But shortly after becoming a mother, her once blazing wanderlust began to simmer down. My family and I would have never imagined it, but she suddenly became more content nestling at home with her newborn.

The stages in our lives are so various and multi-faceted. I’ve learned to respect that a friend might be in another place than I am; travel might not be a top priority in that specific time of her life, and that’s okay.

Travelling solo and joining tour groups aren’t as scary as I thought

travelling with a group

Sure, I’m a travel addict, but I never considered myself “hardcore.” I’m no backpacker, and even camping has its limits for me (I don’t think I could survive more than three days without a decent hot shower). 

Joining a nomadic band of strangers was never my idea of an optimal vacation. But when my friend asked me to go camping with his entire work department, I swallowed any initial apprehensions I had and said yes. All right, I’m a bit of a cheat — I wasn’t a complete stranger since I had a friend on the trip. Nonetheless, it still felt rather bizarre being the only outsider in the group among a close-knit team of workmates. 

outdoor travel

The realisation: New experiences mean opening yourself up to new people, too

I bore my most vulnerable self, exhausted and broken down by the tough ascent up the mountain. There were humbling moments I shared with people I hardly knew under an awe-inspiring blanket of glittering stars. I laughed and shivered uncontainably alongside new pals as I jumped into an ice-cold plunge pool below the most stunning waterfalls. These rich experiences felt even more surreal surrounded by beautiful souls I had only met that very day.

Also read: Why You Should NOT Travel With Your Friends

Travelling is an amazing experience made even more memorable when done with family and friends. But it takes patience, willingness, and commitment — values I can’t expect from everyone at any given moment. I find comfort knowing that there are opportunities now to travel beyond the companionship of my little circle of friends. The world is full of explorers just like me who possess an ardent love for travel. And the only way I’ll meet them is by taking the courage to step out my front door, regardless of the company.

About Author

Raya Esteban
Raya Esteban

Raya Esteban is a lifetime education advocate who currently works as a Montessori primary school teacher. With every chance she gets, Raya loves stringing words together to create compelling travel pieces for everyone to enjoy. A nature-lover and a curious wanderer, she enjoys hiking, diving, and exploring the phenomenal world around her. If she isn’t in the classroom, you’ll probably spot her at a beach or on top of a mountain soaking up the sun.


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