The down sides of long-term traveling: why sometimes everything feels like shit

Well, now I said the bad word! Yes, there are things that simply are shit. Even my around-the-world-trip – currently full of beautiful beaches, palm trees, and coconuts – is not always a bowl of cherries. There ARE downsides of long-term traveling!

Don’t get me wrong: I love being on the road, discovering new countries and cultures, working remotely around the world, and being able to decide at any time to move on. This is the life I chose and I have not regretted it yet, not even for one second.

But for me, too, there are downsides of long-term traveling:

The longer I’m on the road the more often they come – those moments when you long for a hug of a beloved person.

Or you get to know somebody and immediately realize that you have to say good-bye again within a few hours or at the best days.

Or you go on a tour with many people and even though you just met it feels like you have known each other all your lives. Nevertheless, you are lonely because you realize that no matter how it feels those are not your real friends and will never be.

Now I am going tell you something really embarrassing:

When I arrived on Koh Samui I had one of those moments when I felt really lonely even though I was surrounded by people. Why? Because I just left my ‘new friends’ on Koh Phangan. We had such a great time together that mentally I was not ready yet to adapt to the next ‘friends’.

And now the embarrassing part: I talked to a friend about my feelings and he suggested:

‘Good that you are surrounded by many people. I would like you to approach them, explain your situation and ask one of them for a hug.’

Digital Nomads are known for leaving their comfort zones and this pretty much sounded like a workshop of this kind to me. So I thought that he might be right and it could be a good idea to make me feel better.

I have to admit that it took me about 15 minutes or maybe even longer to get to the point.

It was the shortest hug of my life. Afterwards I felt even lonelier because I realized that it was not an honest hug. It didn’t come from the heart.

It was stupid and embarrassing.

For the remaining evening and the next day I tried to steer clear of those guys to avoid re-living this embarrassment.

My conclusion of it?

To prevent the downsides of long-term traveling, after this around-the-world tour which ends in 34 days I will not travel for more than 4 months in a row anymore. In the end it is everybody’s own decision. I personally have the feeling that 3 to 4 months of traveling are the perfect time for me.

I am looking forward to being with my family again soon. Furthermore, I will visit a BarCamp for Translators and reunite with beloved colleagues and friends.

But since I know that sooner or later wanderlust would have drawn me away again anyway I already accepted a summer job. As a beach tester I will evaluate the beaches of Spain (and maybe Italy) and write reports about them. On the 1st of July it is going to start – not even 10 days after I return home.

Also for the time after I already made plans. Concrete and not so concrete ones. So be sure: the next long-term trip is just around the corner!

Yours Barbara

This blog post was translated by Carina Bäuerlein. The German travel blogger currently lives with her husband and son in Finland. On Odysseys of a Nomad she writes about her expat life combined with past and future traveler’s tales.

Did you like my blog post about the downsides of long-term traveling?

Then check out my ebook TRAVEL SOLO where I tell you how solo traveling made me grow in different ways and how you can, too!


Immer wieder werde ich gefragt, ob ich nicht Angst hätte, allein zu reisen. Ob ich mich nicht unwohl fühle, immer wieder neue Orte zu erkunden anstatt ein echtes Zuhause zu haben. Meine Antwort darauf ist dieses E-Book. Nach über zwei Jahren allein reisen, kann ich aus voller Überzeugung sagen, dass ich es nicht nur liebe, Länder und Kulturen kennenzulernen, sondern auch dass ich daran gewachsen bin. Ich habe mich besser kennengelernt und Selbstbewusstsein, Vertrauen sowie Freiheit erlangt. Wenn du noch zweifelst, ob du den Schritt wagen sollst, ist dieses Buch perfekt für dich! Denn ich zeige dir, wie Soloreisen auch dich verändern kann…