IF YOU HAVE EVER STUDIED ABROAD OR ARE A JET-SETTER BY NATURE, YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.
A travel addiction is pretty serious. It causes you to daydream about being anywhere besides where you actually are and it also takes a huge hit to your bank account. But if you have ever had the courage to leave everything that you know behind and travel, then you know that the side-effects of this addiction are so worth it.
I GUESS YOU COULD SAY THAT I FIRST SELF-DIAGNOSED MYSELF WITH A TRAVEL ADDICTION AFTER MY STUDY ABROAD TO LONDON. TO BE HONEST, I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS ONE TRIP WOULD RESULT IN A LIFETIME OF WANDERLUST. BUT WHEN I GOT OFF THE PLANE I SAW THIS HUGE CITY THAT WAS FULL OF PLACES THAT I WANTED TO EXPLORE. FROM THE FOOD, THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE OF THE CITY, AND FROM CATCHING A GLIMPSE OF THE ROYALS I WAS INSTANTLY HOOKED. IMMEDIATELY AFTER THIS TRIP, I DECIDED THAT I WAS GOING TO LIVE BY THE WORDS OF THE DALAI LAMA THAT SAY,
“ONCE A YEAR, GO SOMEPLACE THAT YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN BEFORE”.
This explains why I have been to twenty-two countries at twenty-two years old.
If you’re still not sure if you have a travel addiction, here are 16 tell-tale signs that you have a serious case of the travel bug:
1.) Being at home is just about the worst thing ever-
If you have a serious travel addiction, being trapped in your house is just about the worst thing ever. Your friends will call and text you asking you to go to the mall or to the movies, but to be honest, you would rather be zip-lining in Costa Rica or walking the great wall of China.
2.) If you aren’t traveling, you feel like your life is being wasted-
You are constantly looking at your calendar to see when you have time off to travel. You worry that you are going to get married and have kids before you get a chance to see the world. Not to mention, your spouse must also be an avid traveler or things just aren’t going to work out.
3.) You studied abroad-
Studying abroad is like a gate-way drug to being diagnosed with travel addiction. You have no idea what you are about to get yourself into. You spend four months living freer than you have ever lived before and are learning about a country’s history by actually going to see the monuments yourself instead of reading about them in a textbook. Needless to say, when you come home and unpack your suitcase, the post-travel depression is real.
4.) All you talk about is traveling-
After your trip all you want to do is talk about your travels because it gives you a similar feeling to actually being at that destination. When you are with your friends you will start to notice yourself comparing your travel experiences to simple conversations that have absolutely nothing to do with traveling.
5.) You have a separate bank account to set aside money for your travels-
Each year you put aside a certain amount of money to ensure that you can feed your travel addiction. This same credit card that is connected to your account comes with frequent flyer miles and resort points.
6.) You dream about jobs that include traveling-
While you may be a teacher, a journalist, or a nurse, in your spare time you look up jobs that require travel just to see if it would be realistic. You have most likely researched how to be a Contiki tour guide and how to teach English in Thailand.
7.) You still get e-mails that offer travel deals in places that you no longer live-
For example, I have never discontinued my subscription for the electronic deals that are sent out by the European train system called Eurostar. I continually receive great deals on train rides from London to Paris, the only problem is that I currently live in New Jersey.
8.) Please don’t get me birthday presents-
Whenever my birthday rolls around I never ask for materialistic gifts. The best gift would be a donation to my travel fund that was discussed in travel addiction sign number 5.
9.) You are your best self when you are traveling-
Even the most uptight people have no choice but to be carefree when they travel. In most cases you are taking a break from work, have no cell-phone reception, and have no choice but to take in scenery and explore.
10.) You try to mimic what you did in other countries at home-
When your travel addiction becomes severe, you tend to take your favorite memories and relive them while you are home. I still drink out of the tea cup that I purchased at Buckingham palace and also still try to recreate the European lifestyle at home by laying out a blanket in my backyard while reading a good book, except I am the only one in my backyard and in London Queen Mary’s rose garden is filled with locals relaxing outside.
11.) Your social media is comprised of old travel photos and inspirational travel quotes-
Let’s be honest, most of your #TBT’s are old travel pictures and the caption is usually talking about how you wish you could go back to whatever location the picture was of. You occasionally squeeze in a few inspiring travel quotes such as the classic, “We travel not to escape, but for life not to escape us” by anonymous.
12.) You return from your travels because you feel guilty-
If it was up to you, you would travel for the rest of your life but the “I miss you” texts from your family and your significant-other check you back into reality and make you feel like you should probably come home.
13.) You thrive on the unknown-
What most people would call terrifying, you call exhilarating. People that like to travel thrive on the unknown. When you go to a foreign country you are unfamiliar with the spoken language and the culture as a whole. You put your complete trust in the cab drivers that are taking you to your destination. A travel addict can distinctly remember sitting down at a restaurant and pointing to an item on the menu (because you have no idea how to pronounce the dish) and praying that the meal comes out in an edible fashion. When a travel addict travels, they leave all of their current beliefs at home and completely immerse themselves in the destination’s culture, even if it means trying out a new religion or conquering a stubborn fear.
14.) Desire to learn-
All travelers have an inner desire to learn. Even if you never liked history in school, there is something about learning another’s culture on a first hand basis that is magical. When you travel to a place that is less fortunate than your local town, it offers you a completely new perspective on life. You begin to realize that your problems are much smaller than you think they are and it allows you to see the world in a new light.
15.) Being called “wordly”-
There is no greater compliment to a travel-goer than being called wordly or cultured. It shows that all of the traveling that we have done and all of the lessons that we have learned have truly helped to form us into our best selves.
16.) To you, the airport represents possibilities-
Most people find the airport to be stressful to say the least. Between finding out where you are supposed to go and trying to search for your bag in luggage claim, airports tend to bring out the worst in people. However, this is not true for a travel addict. A true travel addict gets the airport and actually feels relaxed. They know that they are about to experience the unknown, which arises feelings of pure bliss. Travel addicts have memorized the airport rules and know exactly how to make it through security without a bump in the road.
If you are able to self-diagnose yourself with a travel addiction after reading these 16 symptoms, then congratulations! You have developed the greatest habit that will offer you a lifetime full of memories. Through being so accepting of other cultures, you will develop a greater sense of yourself and be able to recognize all of the good that happens in this world each and every day. Good luck on your next adventure (because I know if you are a travel addict that you probably already have it planned).
“CERTAINLY TRAVEL IS MORE THAN THE SEEING OF SIGHTS; IT IS A CHANGE THAT GOES ON, DEEP AND PERMANENT, IN THE IDEAS OF THE LIVING.”
– Mary Ritter Beard