How Planning

Long-Term Travel Affected Me

I wanted to take a break from talking about my pre-trip preparations to talk about, well, my pre-trip preparations.

21 min read

A change of pace

I’m not going to be talking about the specifics of a part of my prep work, just about the preparations as a whole. This will be more about the mentality behind what it’s like to try to ignore something you deeply know you want, how ignoring it takes a toll on your psyche, and how pursuing something you’ve always wanted changes, well, everything.

As I’ve mentioned in the past few videos and posts, I’ve wanted to take off on a trip around the world like this for years. It’s always been something in the back of my mind, whether I realized it or not. It was the underlying cause of a quarter-life crisis. It was the start of arguments with past girlfriends.

It’s been the root of the feeling of discontentment in my career as well as my personal life.

The root cause

The thought has been the driving factor behind the anxiety and feeling of stagnancy I’ve had for most of my adult life. I always felt like I was doing something wrong by still living in Florida, the state I was born in. I felt that I was doing myself a disservice by being at a 9-5 job I didn’t like. In fact, I didn’t care about my career at all. I’m good at what I do, but I had no intention to work on improving and becoming great. That state of “meh” was sucking the soul out of me. My subconscious mind was telling me I wasn’t pursuing something I found personally meaningful.

Flashback to a year ago when I made the decision to stop saying, “If I follow this dream” and instead to start saying, “When I pursue this dream.”

Once I wrapped my brain around the idea of leaving, my mentality changed.

Now, the job in which I felt stagnant was just the means to an end. I was working to save money so I could pursue my ultimate bucket list dream. I didn’t feel like a failure for never leaving Florida, I felt an appreciation for the family and friends I have to eventually come back to. The career I wasn’t focused on became the stepping stone I could use to make this dream a reality. In choosing to leave, it shifted the lens through which I looked at, well, everything.

New mindset, who this?

Committing to quitting my job and traveling the world provided a whole new set of things to worry about. I had to figure out exactly how to go about it. What did I need to do beforehand? It was such a daunting idea, one that I knew nothing about. Hours were spent researching other travel blogs, YouTube videos, and Reddit threads, taking note of everything I found. The more I learned, the less I felt prepared. Every article read or video watched answered one question and presented three more. My To-Do list in Asana quickly tripled in size. I decided to post my checklist on my website as a way of keeping me honest as well as providing a resource for anyone else who was planning a similar adventure. After deciding to leave, the thought of the trip has been on my mind every single day. That’s where I ran into the main issue with planning this adventure so far in advance.

Starting the research and formulating a plan a year ahead of time was both a blessing and a curse. It was great because it allowed me to procrastinate and still have plenty of time to get things done. It wasn’t so great because it meant I was front-loading all of the negative aspects of planning such a monumental task with none of the payoff. Normally, planning a vacation is fun! You get to look into all of the fun places to stay and the interesting things to do. This was different. I was constantly stressed about 9 different things at once, with the actual event itself far in the future. It’s a very odd subspecies of stress that I hadn’t really dealt with before.

Different nerves

The odd thing about my concern about planning a trip around the world? This new type of anxiety was actually motivating. I understand that there was a purpose to it instead of it just being existential concerns. The worry was a current flowing over an ocean floor of calm. I knew that I was pursuing something I’ve always wanted, so the tension was only surface-level. Even now, as I lay awake most nights and worry about what adventuring alone will be like or stressing that I won’t have the fortitude to travel for a full year, I feel that I’m pursuing something honest and true to myself. What has primarily been a year of both anxious scrambling and peaceful acceptance is starting to resolve into confidence and excitement. All of the hard work, the doubt, and the previous years of mental flagellation is coming to a close and I can’t believe I’m currently two weeks out from the one thing I’ve wanted for so long. It’s a blend of emotions that I can’t accurately describe.

Your turn

I suppose the message that I’m trying to give starts with a question. What is the thing that gives you purpose? It will likely be a difficult process to figure out what that purpose is and potentially an even longer journey start pursuing it. Hell, it took me five years to build up the courage for this trip. You’ll know what it is when you find it. Pursue that.

You’ll feel a new sense of contentment once you find your purpose and start working towards it.

That’s how planning for a trip around the world affected me

I hope these insights into the months and years leading up to this adventure have provided some value to you. If nothing else, it’s been cathartic for me to write about. Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to hear about it.

Until Next Time