Not Feeling Crazy

Today’s email comes from Nick.

Hi Michael,
I would like to ask you for some “real” advice, I have tried just about every line of work that interests me, then eventually starting my own business, needless to say i remain unsatisfied , unhappy & most of all wanting more out of life…
The idea of selling all of my possessions and hitting the road has been in the back of my mind for ever a decade now.
I’m engaged by your stories and i would really love to do the same, however i do have some issues, I’m in a relationship for starters almost every family member,friends and relatives have walked out on me because I’m constantly unhappy with life and never satisfied. I am overall a really good guy, i am in love and happy in that part, but I just want more! and when i think of the idea of backpacking, I begin to glow from the inside out, the mere thought of it excites me to my inner core!
My hope is that You or someone out there see’s my comment and relates to how i feel….
I need to relate to people to feel grounded, and sane.
I also want to make sure I’m not doing this for the wrong reasons, and end up worse off than ever before….
Thanks again for sharing your experience’s
Rgds
Nick

Believe it or not, I know exactly how you’re feeling. I thought that getting a raise at my job and my own apartment would make me happy but it did just the opposite. I tried to pursue happiness in ways other people told me I should be happy for. I had to make a drastic change in my life and I did.

Not many people know this but I left a relationship because I wanted to travel solo around the world. I’m not condoing you do the same but you should think about how much this means to you. Nobody wants to see you unhappy. If by traveling you feel more like yourself and happy, people will want to be around you more. Talk to your significant other and see he/she wants to do the same as you. Nobody is against you being happy. They’re just making sure you’re choosing a path that you’ve thought out well.

I’m not sure where you are from but in the US backpacking around the world is uncommon. My family and friend had never heard that it was even possible to do so. Once I left though I realized there are thousands of people just like me. While uncommon in the US, Australians seem to be taking gap-years quite often. I also had no idea there was such a huge industry for backpackers. SE Asia for example is a paradise for backpackers with hundreds of hostels, guest houses, and low-cost living. Even with all the blogs I read before leaving, I didn’t believe it was so well structured until I left.

Once you’ve decided that you’re going to travel, everything else falls into place. You’ll be amazed just how well the world aligns itself for you when you put your heart and soul into it.

Have a question? Email me at contact(at)artofbackpacking(dot)com.

22 Comments

  1. Kritika Singh Rawat on March 22, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I feel the same, Nick. Michael I agree with your advice. But I would love to travel but not solo, you require someone to share your journey with. And to convince people you are in a relation with it’s not that easy.

  2. Kritika Singh Rawat on March 22, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I feel the same, Nick. Michael I agree with your advice. But I would love to travel but not solo, you require someone to share your journey with. And to convince people you are in a relation with it’s not that easy.

  3. Rease Kirchner on March 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I was in a relationship all through college. I desperately wanted to travel and perhaps move abroad. At first, my boyfriend claimed he wanted the same thing. It became more and more evident that he was only saying that to appease me. As I gave up more and more for him, I grew to resent him a bit (albeit subconsciously and that caused tension in our relationship. I always wanted him to be better, to be more in life, and to care about my restlessness. In the end, he left me for a girl who wanted nothing, and asked nothing of him. Within seconds of him walking out the door, I contacted a friend in Argentina. A few months later, I moved abroad to Buenos Aires. That adventure has lead to the life I live now as a freelancer (choosing to do whatever jobs make me happiest) that takes frequent trips to wherever I feel like. The breakup was certainly the most difficult emotional trauma I’ve had to deal with in my life, and I did not get over it easily. However, in the end, I have become so much happier and more free. I have a new boyfriend, who I love more than than last, and who supports my dreams. While he cannot travel as much as I do, he is always there to drive me to and from the airport, and await my skype phone calls when I am away for long trips.

    My advice to you isn’t to simply break it off, but to consider how doing nothing will affect your happiness in the long run. Talk to your significant other. See if she might want to join you. If you can’t work something out, then perhaps it was never meant to be.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just want to talk it through!

    • Jan on March 24, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Rease. I, too, have a man in my life that cannot/will not travel as much as I do. He takes me to the airport and picks me up, but I am finding that I would love to have someone that is able to and wants to travel with me, at least part of the time. I’m torn – I am always wondering if I should leave permanently, or be grateful I have a man that will wait for me while I do what I love. It’s a tough decision.

  4. Rease Kirchner on March 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

    I was in a relationship all through college. I desperately wanted to travel and perhaps move abroad. At first, my boyfriend claimed he wanted the same thing. It became more and more evident that he was only saying that to appease me. As I gave up more and more for him, I grew to resent him a bit (albeit subconsciously and that caused tension in our relationship. I always wanted him to be better, to be more in life, and to care about my restlessness. In the end, he left me for a girl who wanted nothing, and asked nothing of him. Within seconds of him walking out the door, I contacted a friend in Argentina. A few months later, I moved abroad to Buenos Aires. That adventure has lead to the life I live now as a freelancer (choosing to do whatever jobs make me happiest) that takes frequent trips to wherever I feel like. The breakup was certainly the most difficult emotional trauma I’ve had to deal with in my life, and I did not get over it easily. However, in the end, I have become so much happier and more free. I have a new boyfriend, who I love more than than last, and who supports my dreams. While he cannot travel as much as I do, he is always there to drive me to and from the airport, and await my skype phone calls when I am away for long trips.

    My advice to you isn’t to simply break it off, but to consider how doing nothing will affect your happiness in the long run. Talk to your significant other. See if she might want to join you. If you can’t work something out, then perhaps it was never meant to be.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just want to talk it through!

    • Jan on March 24, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Rease. I, too, have a man in my life that cannot/will not travel as much as I do. He takes me to the airport and picks me up, but I am finding that I would love to have someone that is able to and wants to travel with me, at least part of the time. I’m torn – I am always wondering if I should leave permanently, or be grateful I have a man that will wait for me while I do what I love. It’s a tough decision.

  5. Ryan on March 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

    You have to do what makes you happy. Saying “yes” to travel is the hardest part. You’re always going to come up with reasons why you can’t go. I turned down a great job offer in Boston to travel because I absolutely hated my career and where my life was going. My mother and brother thought I was crazy to say “no,” but after spending seven months on the road, I feel so much better about my life. Talk with your significant other, but listen to your heart and soul before you make your decision. Good luck!

  6. Ryan on March 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

    You have to do what makes you happy. Saying “yes” to travel is the hardest part. You’re always going to come up with reasons why you can’t go. I turned down a great job offer in Boston to travel because I absolutely hated my career and where my life was going. My mother and brother thought I was crazy to say “no,” but after spending seven months on the road, I feel so much better about my life. Talk with your significant other, but listen to your heart and soul before you make your decision. Good luck!

  7. TwoBadTourists on March 22, 2013 at 11:11 am

    We left our jobs to travel about a year ago now and though we enjoyed them, they didn’t make us “glow from the inside out” as Nick says. Traveling has its challenges and downsides, but they are aspects we were far more willing to accept than the lives we were living. We planned to travel for only one year, but it has left us needing more and continues to satisfy us. We’ll continue to do it until we’re ready for the next big change.

    We say challenge yourself! Take a chance. It’s better to do that and fail than to always wonder what it woud’ve been like. There’s no right reason to travel. The desire to do it is as “right” as it gets.

  8. TwoBadTourists on March 22, 2013 at 11:11 am

    We left our jobs to travel about a year ago now and though we enjoyed them, they didn’t make us “glow from the inside out” as Nick says. Traveling has its challenges and downsides, but they are aspects we were far more willing to accept than the lives we were living. We planned to travel for only one year, but it has left us needing more and continues to satisfy us. We’ll continue to do it until we’re ready for the next big change.

    We say challenge yourself! Take a chance. It’s better to do that and fail than to always wonder what it woud’ve been like. There’s no right reason to travel. The desire to do it is as “right” as it gets.

  9. Nikki on March 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    My advice is simple, you will never really know until you try.

  10. Nikki on March 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    My advice is simple, you will never really know until you try.

  11. sal on March 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    See if your significant other wants to come along, if not set a date to leave and go. You can only make yourself happy – not other people. Good luck!

  12. sal on March 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    See if your significant other wants to come along, if not set a date to leave and go. You can only make yourself happy – not other people. Good luck!

  13. TravelnLass on March 23, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Oh dear. While I agree that Nick must definitely give his dreams of travel a try (and I might add – given he’s already waited 10 years – sooner, rather than later), I must say…

    “…almost every family member, friends and relatives have walked out on me because I’m constantly unhappy with life and never satisfied.”

    This statement is both greatly telling and rather disturbing. I mean, if one is perpetually unhappy and unsatisfied with their life (and has been for 10 years?) then I dare say that travel, in and of itself will not likely be the magic panacea. Indeed, venturing forth thinking that merely hopping on a plane and landing on a new spot on the globe will somehow instantly make you “happy” is… likely to leave you sorely disappointed.

    I guess my advice to Nick would be to look a bit deeper into the “why” of your unhappiness and utter dissatisfaction with everything you do. Sure, a change of scenery might help – at least temporarily. But you really can’t expect travel to somehow make you “happy”. You need to find that within yourself – now, wherever your feet happen to be. Until you can do that – standing on the top of Machu Picchu or gazing at the glorious temples at Angkor Wat will give you nothing more than momentary giddiness. Not long-lasting true “happiness” with yourself/your life.

    • Michael on March 28, 2013 at 11:26 am

      I agree. Travel won’t solve problems you have at home. They’ll continue to follow you even as you travel or will at least still be there when you come back.

  14. TravelnLass on March 23, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Oh dear. While I agree that Nick must definitely give his dreams of travel a try (and I might add – given he’s already waited 10 years – sooner, rather than later), I must say…

    “…almost every family member, friends and relatives have walked out on me because I’m constantly unhappy with life and never satisfied.”

    This statement is both greatly telling and rather disturbing. I mean, if one is perpetually unhappy and unsatisfied with their life (and has been for 10 years?) then I dare say that travel, in and of itself will not likely be the magic panacea. Indeed, venturing forth thinking that merely hopping on a plane and landing on a new spot on the globe will somehow instantly make you “happy” is… likely to leave you sorely disappointed.

    I guess my advice to Nick would be to look a bit deeper into the “why” of your unhappiness and utter dissatisfaction with everything you do. Sure, a change of scenery might help – at least temporarily. But you really can’t expect travel to somehow make you “happy”. You need to find that within yourself – now, wherever your feet happen to be. Until you can do that – standing on the top of Machu Picchu or gazing at the glorious temples at Angkor Wat will give you nothing more than momentary giddiness. Not long-lasting true “happiness” with yourself/your life.

    • Michael on March 28, 2013 at 11:26 am

      I agree. Travel won’t solve problems you have at home. They’ll continue to follow you even as you travel or will at least still be there when you come back.

  15. Stephen Schreck on March 23, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Nick I think you captured what the majority of long term travelers feel before they go. Your comment hit me hard because your excitement and desire for more is exactly the way you should feel before you leave for an extended trip.

    I’m from the US like Michael resonate with his story. World travel in the US is uncommon. At first I would take 2 month trips and none of my friends and family understood why,but they accepted it because they knew it was the only thing that made me truly happy.

    Then the most wonderful things happened I decided to travel full-time and when I did I discovered a whole network of people who were like me. People that loved different cultures, languages, and exploring this world as much as I did. I’ll never forget that feeling like I had found my place in the world, with people who understood me. Their of hundreds of us out there feeling the same way and that have the same dream.

    If your gut says to backpack around the world. I say do it! What do you have to lose? Even if you find out that backing isn’t your cup of tea at least you gave it a shot, and you won’t have any regrets! It is a good life but it does require some sacrifices. Like Micheal said he left a relationship. Personally the watched the only girl I ever love get married, because I sacrificed my chance to be with her for traveling, and I have zero regrets about it. Life is what you make it, and all I know if I want to chase life and live it to the fullest. I say take the leap my friend.

  16. Stephen Schreck on March 23, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Nick I think you captured what the majority of long term travelers feel before they go. Your comment hit me hard because your excitement and desire for more is exactly the way you should feel before you leave for an extended trip.

    I’m from the US like Michael resonate with his story. World travel in the US is uncommon. At first I would take 2 month trips and none of my friends and family understood why,but they accepted it because they knew it was the only thing that made me truly happy.

    Then the most wonderful things happened I decided to travel full-time and when I did I discovered a whole network of people who were like me. People that loved different cultures, languages, and exploring this world as much as I did. I’ll never forget that feeling like I had found my place in the world, with people who understood me. Their of hundreds of us out there feeling the same way and that have the same dream.

    If your gut says to backpack around the world. I say do it! What do you have to lose? Even if you find out that backing isn’t your cup of tea at least you gave it a shot, and you won’t have any regrets! It is a good life but it does require some sacrifices. Like Micheal said he left a relationship. Personally the watched the only girl I ever love get married, because I sacrificed my chance to be with her for traveling, and I have zero regrets about it. Life is what you make it, and all I know if I want to chase life and live it to the fullest. I say take the leap my friend.

  17. [email protected] on April 2, 2013 at 4:03 am

    just pack your bags and get started.. don’t plan for too long…. something unusual may crop up later….Just pack,…make reservations and buy ticket and don’t fix a destination… let yourself free in the wilderness of crazy travelling fiesta. 😀

  18. [email protected] on April 2, 2013 at 4:03 am

    just pack your bags and get started.. don’t plan for too long…. something unusual may crop up later….Just pack,…make reservations and buy ticket and don’t fix a destination… let yourself free in the wilderness of crazy travelling fiesta. 😀

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