I hear from time to time people explaining to me that they’d love to do what I’d do, but without the “work” part. Like they’d want to quit their job and just travel. Explore all the destinations they’ve dreamed about, and be a part of another life. Others want to finish their career and just sit on a beach. Be forever on vacation living at the beach. Sounds grand, doesn’t it?
I always reply, “Well, you could do that, but honestly, I don’t think you’d be happy.”
I think an intrinsic part of happiness is knowing that you’re connected to something of great value and that you, this body and mind you control, are directly contributing to this value. Traveling can feel like a spectator sport after awhile.
Ask anyone who’s been on the traveling circuit for more than a few months and you’ll hear things like. “I really just want a warm shower.” “I have hundreds of pictures of cathedrals, I can’t tell them apart.” “I miss the pizza/salads/desserts/pasta from back home.” “Why isn’t there any wifi?” “I miss my friends.” “I miss a regular schedule.”
When you make the transition from a normal life schedule to one of traveling, it’s bliss for a short period, but then a reality sets in that you didn’t expect. One reason you set out to travel was that these exotic destinations were not your regular reality, but you never thought that you’d want to return home for precisely that same reason.
Besides the obvious impediment of finances, travelers realize you can’t travel forever. Many of the travelers I’ve met got burnt out from the traveling because the feelings and excitement just before the initial launch from their home country eventually faded away. That propellant fuel can’t propel you forever; you eventually need to find a more durable source of motivation, something that continues burning after the initial batch of launch fuel does its job.
Meaning is the fuel for life, whether you travel abroad or invest in your local community.
More on that later, but for now, here’s a talk from Steve Jobs I enjoyed: