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  • Writer's pictureDillan Taylor

Why I don't love traveling



I just visited my girlfriend in London for two weeks. This is my first morning back in the States.


Saying goodbye at the airport was bittersweet.


I missed her right when she started walking away. I wanted to shout her name and ask if she could stay just five more minutes.


But I also felt relief. Let me explain.


I'll travel to more countries this year than I have in the past 10. Argentina, Brazil, England, Colombia, Peru, Brazil again, back to the US for the holidays, then back to Argentina.


The digital nomad lifestyle seemed glamorous and freeing when I was in Buenos Aires. But toward the end of my time there, I was on a plane to a new place for six weekends in a row.


All I wanted was to stay in one place. I was craving a home.


A beautiful space to work. Parks and streets I knew and could walk around. A routine for productivity and fun.


This stuff changes every time you pack up and go somewhere new. Like the Grand Staircase in Harry Potter: constantly shifting and leading you to a new area.


I meet travelers all the time who thrive in this environment. But it exhausts me.


Most days I want to...

  • wake up at 6 am

  • drink coffee and read

  • get to work

  • go to the gym

  • eat dinner at home

  • drink wine with my girlfriend

  • go to bed at 10 pm

I'm happy to go on adventures, do touristy stuff, and be spontaneous. But the longer I go without days like this, the more grey and anxious I feel.


It makes me feel unproductive and lazy. Which then makes me angry that I'm not good at harmonizing work and travel. I get embarrassed that I can't manage or figure out my routine on the go.


It makes me feel like a child.


When do I eat? When do I work out? When do I work? What if she and I have different schedules?


In London, I took the second week off. Which sucked.


I learned I don't enjoy the typical 'vacation.' Where I have no obligations and take off work completely.


I get antsy and stir-crazy. I just want to work on something.


My insight was that I didn't have to do that. I could travel my way. I could keep my schedule and workload...but just be in a different country.


I think I had it in my head that traveling had to be a certain way. Like I had to say yes to everything. If I wasn't enjoying it that meant I was an uncultured loser.


But having to constantly figure out new work, eating, and sleep schedules...takes a huge mental toll.


 


Let me be clear...I loved this London trip.


It was a blast walking around the Thames River, exploring different coffee shops and restaurants, and playing with the two wiener dogs at the house we were staying.


Above all, I just love spending days with my girlfriend. We can laugh and have insightful conversation anywhere. The swings at a park, a donut shop, brushing our teeth in the morning...


It could've been London or Kentucky. We would've loved our time together.


The issues: our conflicting work schedules and living situation.


She was on California time so she had calls late into the night. Dinners and evening wind-downs were tough.


We were also an hour away from anything we wanted to do in the city. Something simple like going to the gym or grabbing lunch meant two hours of public transportation.


So we tried to batch as many events in one trip as possible.


"Let's go get breakfast here, then we can go to that gym and shower after, then you can go to the coworking and work for three hours, then we can meet here..."


I know it sounds like I'm whining here, but doing this every day wears on you. We were craving stability and ease.


Finally, since both of our international cards were unreliable, we basically went everywhere together.


Obviously the goal was to see each other and do things together. But at the same time, I deeply believe in the power of space.


Whether it's my girlfriend, best friend, or mother...having regular space from one another makes the relationship noticeably stronger.


I won't see my girlfriend again for another three months until we live in Brazil together. That sucks and that's not what I'm talking about.


The space I mean is consistently doing things without each other.


Activities that are entirely my own and her own. Nights where she does one thing and I do another. Even the occasional weekend when one of us goes off to another city.


My mom, for example.


We got way closer after I moved out of her house. We were no longer roommates; we were mother and son. Stopping by and calling her became routine.


In other words, I deeply believe in the value of creating lots of opportunities to miss the other person.


It works.


On my last morning in London, I appreciated the little things so much more. Waking up together, sharing coffee, walking the streets arm-in-arm. I cherished the minutes I had with her.


Right now, I'm looking forward to video-chatting with her when I'm done writing this blog.


Space builds rooms for longing.


 


I don't always love traveling. But I always love having traveled.


In the next country I move to, I'll be better equipped.


More structure and more space. Which ironically, will lead to more excitement and spontaneity.

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