Travel Addiction— Here’s What You Can Do About It

Travel Addiction — Here’s What You Can Do About It

Can too much travel be harmful for you?

It’s no secret that we love to travel. Some of us have even turned it into a full-time profession. But how do we know when it’s time to take a step back? Is it even possible to cut back on an activity that we love so dearly? 

What people call “travel addiction” doesn’t have an official diagnosis. But we can recognise the tell-tale signs, when a seemingly harmless activity keeps us from doing the basic things we need to survive. 

If a restless urge to travel begins to encroach on your priorities, if you resent any moment you aren’t travelling, if you fail to account for the people you leave behind, and if you insist on driving yourself to the point of crushing debt and financial ruin (in effect, sealing off the opportunity for more travel in the future), these are indications that what you’re experiencing might be more than #FOMO. 

To avoid paying for your mistakes later, here’s what you can do to hit the brakes. 

Set realistic expectations about what travel can (and cannot) do

How many of us have booked an impulse trip to a country and expected it to radically change us, only to come up short? 

Setting our expectations too high can put tremendous pressure on our shoulders: We touch down from a trip wanting to prove how it has marked us in some tangible, irrefutable way. Yet so many aspects of a journey seem to be internal: a heightened appreciation for life, a new way of looking at the world, etc. We can’t quantify their value by how many stamps we have on our passport. 

Not every trip is going to drastically alter the trajectory of our lives. That’s okay. It’s not a race or a competition. 

If the idea of travel starts to feel more like currency, try disengaging from social media the second those resentful thoughts flare up. It’s okay to not be in the loop sometimes, especially if you need to detox from Instagram. Just remember that it is never okay to discourage and tear down others to lift yourself up. 

Also read: Don’t Hate: There Are Healthy Ways to Deal With Travel Envy 

Ask yourself: What’s really bothering you?

Consider that your dilemma might not be about travel at all. That flighty compulsion to purchase a ticket could be about wanting to distance yourself from a problem that you’ve been avoiding for a while now. But if you are at home in the world but not in your own skin, then all the grand canyons and roaring waterfalls of the Earth will never be far enough for you to run away from yourself. 

I’m guilty of this. I’ve hopped on a plane while believing on some level that it would free me from my anxiety, extricate me from an undesirable situation, or at least freeze it temporarily, so that I could pretend for a few weeks that it wasn’t happening. I travelled so fanatically and desperately that when I came back, I found myself estranged from the actual place I lived in: my real life, as opposed to the one I merely visited. 

Needing travel to feel better about yourself, as a coping mechanism to feel like you have more agency in life, is one sign that a graver issue is afoot. Getting to the root of your distress and figuring out what’s really bothering you — these are a few things you can do to make travel the reward that it is. Not a band-aid that you rip out to see if the wound is still there.  

Also read: 11 Obvious Signs You Shouldn’t Be Travelling At All

Embrace a slower pace when you travel

It goes without saying, but travel only when you’re ready. 

A leisurely, unhurried pace is the remedy to a culture that treats your ability to travel as just another hollow commodity. Instead of shooting for so many countries and burning yourself out, how about focusing on a specific destination or locale? 

Embracing slow and deliberate travel is a good way to come up for air. You can still enjoy the wonderful unknown in your backyard, your street, your grandma’s house, and all the hidden enclaves that are waiting to be found if you are willing to look for them. 

Also read: Why You Should Give Slow Travel a Chance

How can you tell if you’re addicted? You’ll keep on travelling, even when you know this isn’t the right time for it. 

Pursuing the rewards of travel without caring for the possible repercussions of going overboard is a serious problem. When we travel because we feel trapped or imprisoned in a life we resent, we chase the emotional highs associated with it more than the actual experience. 

Also read: How You Can Find Simplicity in Travelling

It’s one thing to get bitten by the travel bug, but it’s another to give in to an insatiable thirst for endless escape. If you’re like us, greet travel with open arms. But don’t let it disrupt your life. 

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer based in Manila. When she was younger, she knew she wanted to write stories or go on adventures—now, she's learning to do both. She enjoys being swept up in books that spark her curiosity for new places, both real and imaginary. While travelling, she finds herself going off the beaten track quite often, but it's probably because she gets lost easily.

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