The topic of this post has been on been on my mind lately. Also, I have to give credit to my new friend Adriana who gave me the idea for this title…
I did a lot of research while planning my trip to Europe. Those photographs of famous landmarks on travel websites had me oohing and ahhing just as much as you’d expect they would.
It’s funny though … I didn’t really think much about the physical process of actually getting to Europe until it was time to board the plane. I spent all my time figuring out what to pack and mapping out the places I’d go once I was there.
I now speak from experience: traveling halfway across “the pond” involves a plane ride that seems twice as long as it really is. Even if you manage to sleep through some of it (you have an awful lot of time on your hands. That means I did a lot of thinking in between dozing off, watching movies, and writing blog pieces.
The thing that worries — or maybe a better word is irritates — me the most is the fact that I’ll most likely lose some relationships while I’m away from home for such a long time.
When we’re kids, we have this misconceived notion that once we hit a certain age, we’re suddenly “grown-ups” who have to act like full-fledged adults from then on out. Adulthood carries some major responsibilities with it that we never dreamed of at age sixteen, but a most adults still act like teenagers when it comes to their relationships.
Once I started telling my friends and family about my travel plans, it almost seemed as if I was immediately placed on the back burner. I had quite a few of those pseudo-polite “Wow, must be nice to have that kind of life!” remarks from people who act like the world owes them something, but I was expecting that. Things just started … changing once people knew I was going away.
No one told me off for deciding to travel, but it almost seemed as if the general consensus became, “Steve isn’t going to be around next month anyway, so why should we invite him to dinner this weekend?”
For some odd reason, this all made me feel guilty, even though I know it shouldn’t. I’m afraid that an emergency may come up and I’ll need to get back home for that, but let’s be realistic: an emergency could also happen while I’m down the street. Where I’m located at the time can’t prevent bad things from happening.
I’ve been a fan of Tim Ferriss’s book The 4 Hour Workweek for a long time, but I think he overlooks the fact that long-distance traveling means you can’t build long-term relationships.
Businessmen who frequently travel for work wind up divorced pretty regularly and cross-country truckers are usually single, too. It’s not uncommon: travel distances you from friends. I won’t be a factor in my family and friends’ lives, so it’s going to be hard to get back into them once I return home.
As always, I love to hear from everyone else, so now I want to know what you think.
- Is it possible to do a lot of traveling and still remain close to those you care for?
- If so, what strategies would you recommend?
- Is it selfish to think of yourself first, before the needs of others?
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