It takes guts to swap your hometown for life on the road.
You’re a born adventurer, which means you’re willing to swap the many comforts of home for a more meagre existence. You’re ready to explore new countries, discover new cultures and broaden your mind.
When I was in Atlanta, I met some people from San Diego, California who sold their houses and priced possessions in exchange of a nomadic life. A great, big move that completely shocked me. According to them, only a special kind of idiot would choose to part ways with ‘America’s Finest City’. It’s an achingly cool spot that’s ever so close to perfect, with its temperate weather, laidback surfing vibe, stunning scenery, and thriving culinary scene.
If they can do it, why can’t we?
But before you grab your backpack and passport and hotfoot it to the airport, there are some things you should know about long-term travel: it’s not all gumdrops and lollipops and frolicking in far-flung tropical waters.
That’s why I am here to give you three top tips to help prepare you for life on the road, and the many ups and downs you’ll experience as you wave au revoir to your beloved hometown and say bonjour to a new and exciting adventure.
Tip #1: It’s natural to feel overwhelmed
When you’re starting to plan for life away, it’s normal to feel like you’re spinning plates. What should you do first? Where will you stay? What if you get lost? Will you meet new people? There’s plenty to think about.
My acquaintances from San Diego shared a precious advice – take it one step at a time. they booked their plane tickets to their first destination, found a long-term parking spot at San Diego International Airport by using the coast-to-coast comparison service Looking4.com, then smile. Simple!
Tip #2: Find your own likes and dislikes
If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ll make a decision about what restaurant to eat at or what airline to fly with based on how positive or negative the online reviews are, but it’s important not to apply the same rationale to a country or city.
As a traveler, you’ll rub shoulders with many different people, who will all have their own likes and dislikes: one person in your hostel may like Amsterdam, another may not. The takeaway? Don’t be afraid to discover your own likes and dislikes, and don’t be led by other people.
Tip #3: Going home is not admitting defeat
Life on the road can be tough. Travel is not a panacea for an unhappy home life. It’s a cycle of airports, buses, hostels and getting to grips with an unfamiliar culture or language—and many folk simply miss their friends and family.
If this happens to you and you decide to cut your tip short and head for home, it’s important to remember that this is not a failure. Instead, you should bask victorious in the knowledge that you’ve likely learned more about yourself in a short time on the road than in years living in your hometown.