When Travel Becomes an Addiction

Travel Becomes an Addiction

I am addicted to travel.  Most people would say that is a good thing; I often say it is a good thing.  The problem with addiction is that it has withdrawals.  Alex and I have been in the same country since November and it is eating at my nerves.  No matter what we do: fun day trips to places we have never been, longer road trips to the Pacific Northwest, planning a round the world trip, it isn’t enough.  It doesn’t replace being on the road and having the freedom to do what you want.  All I want to do is recklessly drop everything and leave; be done and gone and start a life on the road.  A life where I can do what I want.

 

I know that kind of life won’t be easy.  I will have to rely on myself to fund my journey and stretch that dollar just a little bit farther to survive, but I know that I can do that; I have been through this before and ended up making a life for myself in Rome.  There will not be a steady income coming in (unless this whole blogging thing pays off), I won’t have a home to escape to when all I want to do is rant at the world; it will be tough and challenging.  But maybe that is what I miss.  I need something to challenge me.  Today the most difficult thing I did was take out the garbage at work and I was stressed over it!  That is absolutely ridiculous.  And I stressed over it because I didn’t want to be at work, I wanted to be on the road.

 Walking Along the Pacific Ocean

So of course those are the withdrawals kicking in.  I live in an amazing town, I have a fairly decent job where I feel useful about 70% of the time, and all I do in my spare time is go to awesome restaurants and drink a lot of wine for free (one of the benefits of being in the wine business I suppose), so what do I really have to complain about?  Well my answer is “It is because I am not in Paris” or “I haven’t been to Machu Picchu yet” or “So what if I can order Belgian beer here, I would rather be in Brussels”.  This sounds super whiney and it is.  I get that.

I am plainly indulging in being a spoiled little brat about travel right now.  I realize that I have been able to have opportunities that others have not.  I am lucky that I have parents who support me no matter what.  I also am incredibly thankful for the life I do have.  I have a good life but unfortunately I also have had the opportunity to travel and I am no longer content sitting still and being in one place.

Travel is an addiction and I am hooked.  It seems that I will never be able to settle down.  There is always somewhere else to see, somewhere new to go.  Travel caught me in her web and perhaps I will never be happy in one place.  Maybe I will never be able to settle down.  Sometimes that thought frightens me, maybe I am not meant to find a home, a place to settle down in.  I thought it was Rome but of course that two year mark hit and I needed change.

I needed change so much in Rome that I became depressed.  I developed severe back and shoulder pain and for the first time in my life I had panic attacks.  I couldn’t handle being stagnant and I was even traveling all the time while in Rome.  It is something I cannot explain.  I rebelled against the city; I couldn’t stand the noise, the traffic, the judgmental looks on the bus (you try wearing sandals before June 21st), and the stupidest little things that would crop up during the day.  It seems kind of ridiculous now when I look back on it but at the same time these little things are cropping up again.

The Hagia Sophia
I am becoming restless and unsettled.  Although this time around I know what is coming and I know how to fight the withdrawals a little better.  The circumstances are different as well.  When I realized that Rome was not working out, it was a dream crumbling around me.  Rome was always the end goal after I graduated college.  I saw myself living in Rome for the rest of my life.  This time around it is different.  Healdsburg was always a means to an end; it is a great town and has been a wonderful experience living here but the round the world trip is what is in our future.  Now I just need to concentrate on the fact that we are going to be leaving, this life is just temporary (and not a bad temporary at all) and soon we will be on the road.  

So what if travel is an addiction?  Hell I have been addicted for a while now.  The withdrawals can be trying but it will all be worth it in the end.  Travel is always worth it in the end and I will never regret the choices I have made to allow me to travel but there will always be a restlessness in me.  The curse of the wanderer I suppose.

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