The Dark Side To Travel No One Talks About

By Hollie Lowes

I have been travelling for what feels like forever now. It’s my life, it’s my passion and it’s who I am. And although travel is the best thing that has happened to me, we neglect to talk about the dark side to it. The last month, I have had the death of a family member, the death of a friend, serious health issues, a failed break up and have found myself unable to help a friend in heartbreaking pain, all while abroad. A huge thing that has always frustrated me is that people just assume once you travel, everything is rainbows and butterflies and nothing happens in travel-land; but life still happens. None of these things change my mind that travel is amazing, it’s the hypothetical support system that cradles me in both the worst and best parts of my life and I wouldn’t change it for a thing. But long-term travel is not for the faint of heart and these are the things you must learn to deal with if you plan on going on that plane:

Not Being There

You miss funerals, births, being there for the big moments and the people that matter in your life back home. Hell, sometimes you just simply miss May 2-4 weekend away at the cottage with your quirky dysfunctional friends. Life goes on without you back home and although you know it is for the best, it doesn’t mean it won’t hurt to see at times.

Losing Friendships

The longer you’re away, the less and less you hear from those back home. They’re used to you being gone. Out of sight, out of mind. You get less invites and when you come home, every time you come back there’s always a few less people waiting there for you each time. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me from time to time, but for me, I consider this to be a good thing. THIS is when you see who your true friends are. The ones who will come see you at home even for 5 minutes before you jet off again, the ones who get excited for you coming home even on the 10th time, the ones who no matter the distance, will always be there for you, cheering you on to do what makes you happy.

Self Reliance

Whether it’s dealing with the death of a friend or quite literally thinking you’re going to die as you fall and convulse on the floor of an empty hotel room, or just simply dealing with the pain of a crap relationship; you are on your own. You are not home to have the safety net of your family and friends to help you. Instead, you are in your hostel room hiding in your bunk bed, crying and wondering what to do next. But I am not saying this is terrible, because it’s not. Dealing with things like this abroad teaches you a whole other realm of self-reliance and independence and you will become stronger because of it. But at times, all you want is the comfort of your own bed, cuddling your puppy and being able to call your best friend to come over in 10 minutes to drink wine and bitch about your day.

For every good thing, there’s always a bad but it doesn’t make it any less worth it. I love travel and everything it’s done for me as a person. And you know what? On crappy days, I have the opportunity to book a 10 euro flight to Barcelona to enjoy some tapas and sangria to deal with life how I know best, doing what I love. So yes, there is a dark side to travel but as long as you embrace it, life will only get better as it goes on.

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