Long term travel is not just about visiting other countries. It might sound a bit clichee, but long term travel gives you the opportunity to take a trip within yourself. Besides seeing new amazing places and meeting foreign cultures, our trip was is a lot about ourselves, as individuals and as a family.
After spending almost one year away from home, these are the best benefits we see from long term travel:
You can disconnect from your previous life
Unfortunately, most of our actions are dictated by the society and the education we got, not by our feelings and desires. After we had the courage to take a break, we could also analyse our life better. We could detach from the negative aspects in our lives, whether it was about habits, actions or people.
The focus is on you
Traveling for a long time I got the chance to spend time with myself. I don’t remember the last time I understood myself as good as I do now. This journey helped me analyse what I want and what I need to improve about my life. Without any external factors to influence my decisions, I reached a better version of myself.
You realise who your friends really are
This may seem strange but, far away from home, we got a better image of our relationships. Who do we miss spending time with and who were we hanging out due to old habits only? Who do we keep contact with and who is truly interested about us, and who doesn’t care about us anymore? Most importantly, who is genuinely happy for us and for what we did?
Home is not a place, is a feeling
Eric was saying “let’s go home” meaning by this a different hotel every few days. Home is where he feels happy and cared for, where he is loved and safe. It is the same for us too. No matter where we are, we are happy to have each other. Now we understand this is the most important aspect in life, something no one can ever take away from us.
You meet interesting people and make new friends
In a short holiday you are focused to rest or to visit as much as possible before returning home. But spending more time in one place, you get to interact with other people, hear interesting stories and make new friends.
You learn new languages
When I first stepped in South America, I could barely say “Gracias”, “Olla” and a couple more words. Two months later, I was able to make myself understood, with no real interest to learn Spanish, to be honest. I don’t really know what is in little Eric’s mind in terms of languages, but the moment he asked to eat “bread with queso” (cheese, in Spanish) was priceless!
You learn to appreciate life and be more grateful for what you have
If you just take a 1-2 weeks holiday, you don’t really have the energy or the mental availability, to engage in local experiences. Only after you spend enough time to observe foreign cultures you understand that we, in Europe, are really spoiled. And we are very bad at appreciating it! We visited several countries on three other continents but, except for a few isolated examples, most places are significantly below our home country (in Eastern Europe) in terms of development, civilisation and living standards. Traveling, I learned to appreciate more what we have back home.
You get to be more flexible
A delayed flight or lost luggage was a tragedy back when I was traveling for business. Now I see it as a possibility each time I step my foot in the airport. We learned to adapt to outside conditions and don’t act like it is a tragedy, even though we don’t always enjoy it. Moreover, we learned to turn into our advantage any situation we encountered. For example, when our backpack was delayed for a few hours in Phuket airport, we asked the handling guys to send it just the next day, directly to our second hotel, so that we could travel easier to get there.
You learn to trust your instincts
We traveled for a long time in foreign places where we had no one to count on for help or advice. So we learned to trust ourselves and our instincts; we even based some of our decisions on this when there was no other option. It proved to be a very good decision making process, something that will help us on other circumstances too.
But let’s not be over-optimistic, long term travel has downsides too; we covered this topic as well, so that you can make your own opinion.