How Much “Luggage” Can You Carry?

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.

Losing Relationships???

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?

Please comment below…

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9 thoughts on “How Much “Luggage” Can You Carry?”

  1. Hi Steve

    I think it is possible to have long lasting, close relationships with people that you care about even if you don’t physically see them all the time. I have made wonderful friends via the internet and we all had the opportunity to meet and for the last 3 years we made plans to visit each other even though we all live continents apart. You don’t have to see somebody to show that you care and the advantage of the technological era we live in, is that you can be anywhere and keep contact. Wi-Fi, webcams, etc has made it possible to be around people even when you are not. I am only referring to my experience but I found that these friendships have not only enabled me to learn about different cultures but also to meet new people and to realize that you do not have to be alone out there. These friends have also showed me that it is not selfish to care for your needs as that could give you the inner peace and happiness that in turn will give you a more positive outlook in life which will then reflect on your relationships with others. In that, your “selfishness” may give you the tools, experience and knowledge to see to others’ needs

    I really enjoy reading your blog

    South Africa

    • Wilma- All excellent points! I do think you can keep in touch, using a lot of advantages of modern technology. But I’ve always felt closer to the people I see in person.

  2. I commend your courage to write this post. I agree with most of what you have to say. It is really hard for long distance relationships to work. But, I still think that they are not impossible to keep. It can be challenging to keep a long distance love relationship alive because that is complicated at many levels. However, relationships with with your friends and family can be maintained. But again, that too requires understanding and sincere effort from both parties. I hope you can figure out a way to not lose relationships that mean the world to you. Good luck and have fun travelling.

  3. I think it’s possible to remain close and even get closer to some. There are some relationships that seem to distant themselves and others that seem to grow even stronger and create an even more concrete bond. At least from my experiences.

    Though I think you have to remain in constant contact with those who you want to stay close to. It’s not like I can go and chat once a month or once every couple months and think that we won’t grow apart etc.. I have found that if I remain consistent in my contacts then the relationship stays strong and grows. Even if I (emphasis on I) have to be the one who does the reaching out each time. Don’t leave it up to them, it goes both ways.
    .-= Lees Shizzle´s last blog ..The Hardest Post for Me to Effin Write =-.

  4. I can relate to this post, even though I haven’t done any long-distance traveling. I have moved from a city where I spent the last 10 years building a life and have really felt the relationships that I’ve had with people suffer. Things like moving always filter out the people who are really friends from those who were merely convenient in your life. Changing jobs does this, too.

    On the other hand, sometimes you have to go out and meet new people and build new relationships, particularly if that person(s) hasn’t entered your life yet. Go out there and find them!

    Besides, people do re-enter your life from time to time. I’ve had this happen to me recently where I had given up on a couple of relationships only to have those people reconnect with me. It feels great, regardless of how long it lasts.

    You bring up an excellent point about traveling that not a lot of people talk about.

    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Friday’s Links =-.

    • You’re right…anyone that doesn’t really respond might not be the best person in the world. I just have to make sure that I’m making the same amount of effort.

  5. Of course I won’t forget… it’s the people that come to this site (and the ones I regularly visit) which give me the drive to go out and do a lot of these things 🙂

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