Traveling for a Year: Harder or Easier than “Real Life” ?

As you can imagine, the anticipation for a year long journey is intense. We have been thinking about and looking forward to this trip for a very long time. As the time draws closer (3 months and 6 days!!) I have been swinging back and forth between two mental states:

  1. Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to get out of here. The day to day grind of work and life is killing me! Life on the road will be so much easier!

    and …

  2. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we’re actually doing this. I’m terrified. I won’t get to sleep in my own bed and curl up comfortably in my own home for a YEAR?! I have to live for a whole year with only the clothes that fit in my backpack? That is going to be really difficult!

So, is traveling for a year harder or easier than our “real lives”??  Both, perhaps?

Traveling will be easier.

  • No day to day grind! We will not be feeling the pressure of jobs or bosses or any of those normal “things you have to do.” We won’t ever feel bored with life.
  • We will have more choices about how to spend each day. If we want to rest, we rest. If we want to go out, we go out. If we enjoy a city or town, we get to stay longer. If we don’t find that something meets our expectations, we can get out of there more quickly. If we meet cool people who are going somewhere we didn’t even think of, we can change our plans on a whim and join them!
  • We will have a lot fewer schedules to keep. This sounds like the ones above, but has an extra layer. There will be much less time pressure. We will be able to forget about time for days at a time if we feel like it!
  • Sleeping in! This is really similar to the above bullet, but I mean come on! We can sleep in on any day we want!
  • And, the obvious – We can lay in hammocks sipping beers whenever we want =)





Traveling will be harder.

  • We will be pushed outside our comfort zones every day. We will be navigating cultures and locations so different from our own constantly.
  • There won’t be a place that we can call “home.” We will constantly be on the move, living out of small backpacks, sleeping in all manner of places from the really grand to the really not, wearing the same set of clothes day in and day out.
  • We will be far away from friends and family having to function without any of the support system that we are used to. At times we will fill completely disconnected from everyone as lives will continue on without us: potential weddings, babies being born, birthdays, and holidays will proceed where we can’t be present.
  • Every day will require new and different kinds of problem solving. Talk about mental exercise! We will be exploring new places, using transit systems unfamiliar to us, in languages that we have no competency in. We will often worry about being scammed, cheated, or robbed… or just generally ending up in bad situations due to our mistakes or even just poor luck.
  • Traveling can be exhausting! We’re looking at a TON of long bus, train, rickshaw, taxi, and plane rides. Ugh.

So, while I’m sure that I will continue to think “only a few more months and I’m out of here!” every time something gets frustrating, I will remember that it won’t be a dream. Sometimes it will be gritty, real, and exhausting. I will miss you all very much and will hope you keep us updated on the big happenings in your lives!

Any comments on your experiences with long term travel would be appreciated!




3 thoughts on “Traveling for a Year: Harder or Easier than “Real Life” ?

  1. Great analysis of the pros and cons. Being sick while traveling is the worst when all you want is your bed and your mom and her soup. Being scammed is also a rough feeling to stomach. But luckily you will find wonderful places that will start to fell like temporary homes. Such a treat to not repack the bag for a few days or more! And the good good people you will encounter will far outweigh the bad. Anytime you are having a rough day, Della, I’ll be happy to remind you what you are missing (and what you are missing hearing about, Eric) : STAR REPORTS!! INVISIBLE ATTACHMENTS!! ALARM CLOCKS!! MISSING HOMEWORK!! SIGN IN SHEETS!!…anytime 😉

  2. Somehow I don’t remember the “sleeping in” part. Maybe we were hyper, but there is so much to do and see, so little time. Certainly you’ll choose to stay in the same place for several days, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be out and about. In the third world at least, we generally preferred to be out and about, at least to unfamiliar destinations in the daylight.

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