The last couple of months have seen some rather large changes in my personal circumstances which have resulted in some equally large changes in my travel plans.
The short version of it is that I’m now single again after 2 years and I jetted off to Ecuador at the beginning of January, signalling the start of my next long term travel plan.
All this change and slight uncertainty has made me questions why I travel and how I’ve ended up on the path I’m currently walking.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that I use travel as a tool to run away and distract myself.
My first gap year to Australia was planned way back in late 2008.
At the point I was with a girl who I’d been dating for just over 3 years, and who was aware that I was wanting to travel. Initially my plans were to head down under for 3months – covering the east coast, Sydney for Xmas and new year and finishing off in Melbourne with some buddies who had moved out there.
A nice simple plan which would mean a brief period of long distance love.
But the longer the relationship went on and the more arguments we had the more drawn out my Aussie travels became.
Eventually it culminated in a massive argument, the ending of a 4 year relationship, a few too many beers and me purchasing a working holiday visa – which landed me in Australia a few months later, where I stayed and played for an entire year.
At the time it seemed like a slightly rash decision to make, but it’s the best decision I ever made. It grew me as a person, allowed me to clear my head and I came home with an exciting future of travel with a beautiful girl who I’d met along the way.
A further year down the line and a whole heaps of arguments later I once again found myself throwing away another relationship to go head back out on the road.
But was I ending the relationship because I wanted to go and travel or was I traveling because I ended the relationship?
Why I Travel
I have pondered on that thought alot recently and on why I travel in general. One of the main reasons behind all my adventures is to surf, it’s been my passion for the last decade and is firmly routed behind most of the decisions I make. I do however tend to use it as an excuse for alot of things – rash decisions included.
I also travel because I want to experience the world and explore the unknown. I want to see new things, photograph them and meet heaps of new people.
But the more I think about it the more I realise that a large part of my travelling experience is escapism.
Through my travels I escape the 9-5 grind that many of my friends have become helplessly trapped in. I’m sure this is the reasoning behind many a backpackers decision and something all gap years travellers have I the back of their minds, the postponing of work and ‘real life’.
I also use it to escape the English weather and climate – again another common reason for travel. Everyone enjoys the sun and leaving behind the rainy UK winter, and indeed summer!
It has however become apparent that I use travel as an excuse to avoid alot of other responsibilities, and as the easy option when it comes to making changes, decisions and confronting difficult periods in my life.
Mainly relationships it seems.
So far is worked out pretty well. I had an epic year in Australia and settled into Byronian living – my home away from home.
And this time I’d scored my dream job surf coaching in South America and I’ve also sorted a long term flight ticket that will take me over 18,000 miles through various places on the way to New Zealand.
Both seem like pretty amazing experiences right?
But this travel is underlined with the fact it’s cost me alot. Not just financially but emotionally.
At some point I will run out of places to run to and have to step up and face my fears – the fear of actually having to deal with the day to day issues of normal life and big decisions.
Everyone travels for their own reasons – and I’m sure I’m not the only one who uses it as a way to escape, whether intentionally or not.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see if this latest move of escapism is another stroke of glorious genius or a step too far…I’m sure it’ll entail some fun along the way though!
Have you jetted off to a far flung place to escape, did it help, or did you simply not questions what you were doing?!