Over the past 10 years I've travelled a lot! During that time I've backpacked throughout Asia several times and spent a considerable amount of time in Austria, America and China. Each trip has been an epic adventure lasting between a month to a year.
I've always been in the mindset that travelling slow (staying in one place longer) and for extended periods of time is the way to truly absorb a culture and explore a destination. However, lately I've been having second thoughts... Here's why:
The more I travel and make mistakes the more I learn what I want and don't want. Now, couple that with two important factors in my life:
a.) I'm now married, which means we need to act together and adjust our plans on an agreed consensus.
b.) I'm now 30 and want to continue building my career, save money for a house, and ensure I'm putting away money for retirement.
Wow, look at that.. I'm actually thinking like an adult...
I'm undecided which I prefer. Sometimes I just wish I had a nesty home base. Other times I love the feeling of exploring a foreign world with nothing but a backpack filled with the bare essentials. Of course, I still want my wife by my side 😍.
As I've gotten older things like work, money and more responsibility all start to hold a lot more weight. Lucky I don't have kids ... yet? 🤔
I now get why people say "do it while you're young!".
When you've got no responsibilities and can travel Asia with on a government funded student income the world is literally your oyster.. Yes, we've got it good here in Australia 🏝.
But here's the kicker: going slow means taking a big chunk out of your year. If this is the case you cannot make excuses for putting "life on hold". Building a career, getting fit, learning new skills are all possible when travelling. Removing oneself from the "holiday" mindset is required when going slow.
It takes a lot of discipline to rid yourself of the "holiday" mindset even when going slow. Health and fitness is important but it's probably the first thing to slide once you hit the road. As you continually move from place to place it's easy to make excuses for not having a gym. Same goes for diet. Nothing is ever consistent when you have to eat out every day. It's far too easy to drink too much, stay out too late or just eat junk.
For me that's become so much easier to manage when I realise my income is directly tied to my productivity, mental health and ability to focus. Taking a day off to be hungover means less 💵 for me!
On the other hand, taking a short break as an actual "holiday" can be really enjoyable. Especially if you're nesting, working at a company or you have a family. This makes more sense to me as I get older. I just need a little time to recharge every few months. Packing everything up and leaving your world behind to chase an adventure can sometimes feel selfish ...
So, which way to go? Well, it depends.
I always thought slow was the way to go, but now I'm starting to think otherwise. How to make a hybrid of the two work? Well that's what I'm working towards.
Right now we are using Boulder, CO as our "home base" as we travel across the US. This is working well, but it's not perfect. I'll likely write more about this topic as I travel across the US and figure things out. I want to find a happy medium for both me and my wife.
What about you? Are you a fast or slow traveller? If so, why?