Dear girls of the world: Find your own travel personality

Dear girls of the world,

A year and a half ago, I made my first long term travel plans. I started obsessively planning, saving money, and selling off all of my possessions. I also moved out of my own apartment and back in with family to save even more money. I continued working a job I loathed knowing I would be quitting in a year. I talked, wrote about and dreamt about my travel plans incessantly. I was going to leave for Southeast Asia and not come home again until nine months later.

Problem is – I didn’t make it nine months. I made it five weeks.

After a year and a half of planning and anticipating, I traveled in Thailand for five weeks before deciding it was time for me to come home. It felt like the right thing, yet I felt like a failure.

All of the travelers I looked up to and admired were long term travelers. Life on the road seemed so glamorous and inspiring. I desperately wanted to be one of those long term travelers that inspired others or that others admired. Not only did I want it, but the whole idea just seemed so, for lack of better words, me.

Ashley in La Push, Washington.

Once I was on the road for a few weeks, I started to notice a change in my attitude and feelings though. Instead of the exhilarating feeling I got in the beginning at trying to figure things out, I started to just become simply tired. Traveling via five different methods of transportation in one day was new and exciting at first but then became a hassle in my mind. Unpacking and repacking my bags was quickly getting on my nerves. Also never being by myself, even though I was traveling alone, was getting to me. I enjoy my alone time and my own space to get my head back in the right place and recuperate.

All of this is making me sound ridiculous – making me sound like I wasn’t grateful for the experiences I was lucky enough to have. Of course I was lucky and of course I felt grateful.

My point, however, is that I was pushing myself to do something that I thought was for me. I was pushing myself to enjoy myself even though I had hit my threshold. I was having an amazing time – an even more amazing time than I expected to, but I knew if I continued on that I wouldn’t enjoy the rest of my time as much as I had the first month.

I learnt the very hard way that I was not a long term traveler.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida. 

All sorts of emotions went through my head when I realized this. Disappointment for not being what I wanted to be so bad. Fear of what others would think of me. Excitement of returning home. Anxiety of breaking the news to everyone.I quickly realized though that I didn’t need to be any of these things. I should be proud of myself for doing something not many try to do. I should be proud of myself for realizing what is and isn’t right for me. I should be proud of myself for doing things for myself and not others which is what I done for so long.

So, my advice to all the other women out there, is to find your own travel personality.

Don’t try to make yourself a long term traveler, a short term traveler, solo traveler, independent traveler, group traveler, and so on. Simply be yourself.

If you have the luxury of doing so, make plans for a longer trip and take it for a test drive. You can always come home early and you can always keep going. When it comes to travel, there is no wrong answer.

Love,
Ashley
who is currently braving the Michigan weather

Ashley Hubbard is the creator and Senior Editor of asoutherngypsy.com – an outdoors and adventure travel blog that brings the best adventure, outdoors and wildlife from all over the world. Ashley just returned back home from Thailand and is currently working on writing about and photographing the best spots in and around Nashville, Tennessee until her next big adventure.

Comments

  • January 16, 2015

    What an eye opening letter! Not only to girls but to everyone, we should travel the way we want to be. Yes we admire travellers so much (like me, I ADMIRE YOU SO MUCH TRISHA), but we shouldn’t depend our ways on their ways. We have our own and it will surely be a learning and fun experience whatever the turnout may be.

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  • January 16, 2015

    Cheers to you for being brave and determined to plan the trip and GO and even braver for realizing when it was time to come home. You are 100% correct that everyone has their own travel preferences and what works for one person doesn’t work for another, and that’s ok. So glad I found your blog via Travel Bloggers Network.

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  • January 17, 2015

    Thanks so much Christina! It’s a scary thing admitting you were wrong especially after telling everyone for over a year how right long term travel is for you. I’m beyond thrilled with the response I’ve had from everyone for making my own decisions 🙂

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  • January 17, 2015

    Thanks so much Chester! I’m so glad you agree – everyone should travel the way they want to without the guilt or pressure of traveling “the right way.”

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  • Melissa Trinidad
    January 20, 2015

    Good on you! The thought of moving somewhere new every couple of days makes my skin crawl now. That’s what I initially set out to do. Instead, I ended up staying put for at least a week minimum. It’s exhausting for me otherwise.

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