It’s extremely easy to believe that lifestyle travel is the closest someone can get to living a fairy tale these days. Especially after witnessing dozens of well-taken travel pics in our social feeds daily, we’ve all been swept up in fanciful daydreaming about the “perfect life” traveling the world. In reality, most of those alluring views and seemingly perfect lives on the road aren’t always the way things actually are.
Lifestyle travel is the same as long-term travel, but it requires more living space. Not just short stays for a week or a few days, but for months or even years. It can be hard to keep moving all the time, and it’s not always a dreamy extended vacation as the picturesque glitz and glam out there portrays.
Sometimes, travel life gets really rough. Other times, it’s less rough, but not so much that everything’s peachy. Most of the time, it’s a contrasted and constant learning experience that can exhaust you, confuse you, and make you want to give up. All the while, it shows you the most beautiful and awe-inspiring things you’ve ever seen in your life, and it truly reminds you how awesome it is to be alive.
LIFESTYLE TRAVEL BRINGS NEW CHALLENGES.
Real travel is not always made up of heavenly views and perfect Instagram shots, and it surely doesn’t feel that way every day. There is so much more to it than just waking up and seeing such stunning places. Getting there takes work, and courage.
Not only do you need to find out how to get to that picturesque place, you’ve got to find a way to get there in a foreign country that you may not speak the language in. You may also have to figure out how to pay for transport if credit cards aren’t accepted, figure out what outlets of transport to take, and how you’ll make your return at the end of the day. Plus, it’s pretty important to know where you’re sleeping that night.
There’s also the question of where can you safely stash your bags while you’re away, and what gear you’ll need to bring on the excursion. At the same time, your hostel wifi connection may be so shitty you can’t book anything in advance. It could be that you haven’t showered in a couple of days either, and the only food you’ve come across so far consists of things you’re allergic to. (Scott’s got plenty of troubles with that last one.)
Genuine, intrepid travel isn’t a walk in the park, even if you choose to have a tour company doing all the planning. Lifestyle travel rarely has this option available on a constant basis as it is! What could be considered as “normal” issues at home (i.e. making sure bills are paid, getting your vehicle fixed, dealing with crabby coworkers) doesn’t even apply to a travel life most of the time. In fact, the issues that come with lifestyle travel can be a completely different animal all together.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau
Almost always, the issues faced are things you’ve never quite encountered before. They are unfamiliar learning experiences that push you to use heightened problem-solving skills. If you’re traveling with others or as a couple, lifestyle travel is a constant lesson in good old-fashioned team work! Travel has a way of amplifying things, and in high-tension situations, it’s easier said than done to practice perfect behavior all the time.
It Can be a True Test in Emotional Stability.
While living abroad there’s a lot of new hurdles to process and adapt to that can be triggers for both homesickness and stress. Complex issues can occur often, bringing you to no other healthy conclusion than to switch your focus inward. Sometimes, the best thing to do is step back and take a minute to sort through the more perplexing situations and how to be handle them.
How can you better handle homesickness? How do you handle the situation if you’re a victim of theft? Where can you find things you need in a foreign place, like replacement gear or medicine? How do you handle a foreign currency that’s numbered in the thousands? Questions like these arise often, and there seems to be an infinite amount of new ones too. In lifestyle travel, it’s nearly impossible to be prepared for everything.
BEING AN OUTSIDER DOES GET OLD
Whether you’re an expat or a traveler just passing through, you’re a guest in someone else’s country. It’s almost a strange sort of limbo between two worlds. One is made up of the customs and traditions of your own home culture. The other is the world you’re traveling in, with a completely different set of customs and values in which you are experiencing as an outsider.
Lifestyle travel fully immerses you in the culture and the glory of exotic destinations, and that’s of course the best part about it! Travel is an awesome path to choose. No matter how you shake it though, you’re the visitor as you travel.
Unlike a vacation, you can’t just go home after a couple of weeks and recuperate either. When you’re in it for the long haul, wherever you choose to settle down for a while is home. You still have challenges to face living in a foreign place, and still need to plan how to get around and experience the area. Making friends would be nice, too.
In lifestyle travel, the separation between home and the road is muddled. Even going back home and turning in won’t likely kill the travel bug for good, and if we’re any example, the wanderlust is permanent.
After a while it can get taxing on both your mood and your mind to experience extra stares from curious locals on the daily, or to be hassled by panhandlers far too often because you’re also the “tourist”. These scenarios are almost always the case and a very real side effect of travel in general. However, that doesn’t stop the most ethical travelers from enjoying their adventures.
It is so very important to be a responsible traveler, and to not be biased or stereotypical of a place and its people because you may have had a rough experience. It’s just a fact of lifestyle travel sometimes, that it would be nice to blend in a bit and not stick out like a sore thumb so often. Even the most hardened travelers miss having that normalcy.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, TRAVEL ISN’T A CURE ALL
Traveling without a definite return date is indeed an escape, but only from the life you’ve previously been accustomed to. Travel doesn’t put a stop to life happening (actually the opposite), nor the hardships that come with it. The truth is, “running away” and leaving for a long-term trip isn’t the answer to solving all of life’s problems.
It’s a challenge, and it brings its issues like any other lifestyle. Gorgeous travel photos, no matter how well-filtered and glossy they may be, are indeed actual places in this big and beautiful world we’re a part of. It’s a serious privilege to travel, and well worth the hard work it takes to get there. But just because you’re traveling the world, it doesn’t mean the hard times are over.
Still, the challenge of handling new scenarios and situations on a regular basis is incredibly fulfilling. Lifestyle travel sets you free from routine, and what is perceived to be a conventional life in many ways. It is liberating in the fact that you get to shape your style of travel and how you keep it going. It takes lots of determination and passion, and quite a bit of problem solving, too.
Building a lifestyle around what you love is something many people never put their energy into pursuing. And that – is incredibly unfortunate. All of our stories are our own, but the reality is, we’re all dealing with struggles. It’s alright to enjoy the fanciful sides of things from time to time, as long as we make it a point to experience it ourselves!