Traveler’s Remorse: What It Is, and How to Deal
If you were to ask me in my 20s if I knew the definition of traveler’s remorse, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea. The only remorse I felt around traveling back then was not being able to fly away on more adventures. In my 30s, however, I am beginning to understand traveler’s remorse and ways of dealing with it.
Traveler’s remorse plays out like this… You have been looking forward to your amazing trip for a few weeks before you leave. You are SO excited on your way to the airport to catch your flight. You can barely control your excitement as you land in your favorite city and make your way to your hotel room. You throw on your pajamas to get some much needed rest before you begin the first full day of your adventure the next day and you crawl into bed. Then it hits you… That longing for all that is familiar and comfortable and home. You miss your partner, your children, your pets, your friends and the comfort of your own bed and your own home. You think to yourself – why the heck am I here again? What is this trip all about? Why didn’t I save the money and just buy the new sofa I’ve been eyeing that would look great in the living room?
That’s how traveler’s remorse works for me. I am 32, have an amazing husband who I love more than anything, two beautiful children who are my world, a great career where I get to teach my clients how to improve their lives through therapy, mindfulness and meditation, a great house in a friendly community in one of the most beautiful towns in California, and the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. I have the life I’ve always dreamed of and try to throw in a few girlfriend-only trips to Europe every year so that I can satisfy my longing for adventure.
Why do I still take off to foreign countries and leave my amazing life behind? I do it because there is still a longing deep inside of me for adventure, to be challenged and to be inspired by something new.
It wasn’t always this way. In my 20s I traveled all over the world to escape the life I was living at home. I longed to leave it all behind and take off to places that I’d never been to as much as possible. Once I got to my destination, my only regret was that I hadn’t planned on staying longer, and I dreaded going home. I felt more at home in foreign countries than I did in my own, and traveling made me feel free and hopeful that there was something better out there.
As travelers, I’m sure we’ve all experienced this. As we age, we may begin to experience traveler’s remorse, as we feel more and more rooted in our homes and our lives. There are people and places to miss from home and, for a lot of people, this keeps them from traveling completely.
So, even with traveler’s remorse, why do I still take off to foreign countries and leave my amazing life behind? I do it because there is still a longing deep inside of me for adventure, to be challenged and to be inspired by something new. Travel awakens my courage, deepens my imagination and allows me to see life from different points of view. I return to my life with something new to give and with an aliveness that can only be found outside of my comfort zone.
Dealing with traveler’s remorse has become an almost spiritual experience for me these days. Instead of looking at traveling as an escape or way out of my life like I did before, I look at it as a spiritual quest to awaken some part of me that I’d like to experience more of. On my current trip to Malaga, Spain, it’s all about bringing out my feminine energy and experiencing life from the feminine perspective. A lot of work I do in my career is with women, and my focus is usually on bringing out the feminine in my clients.
The feminine is elegant, emotional, intuitive, trusting, soft and intimate. It’s perfect, then, that the Spanish culture even dedicates language to the masculine and feminine. Everywhere I go in this beautiful city I see groups of women walking together, sharing lunch and conversation, even holding each other’s hands in shows of affection. I am inspired to be more feminine, to feel my feelings, to indulge in my cravings for amazing food and ice cream, accept my body exactly the way it is and allow myself to open up to giving and receiving affection with my friends. Making reservations with a girlfriend to go to the local spa for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience in the ancient roman baths is one way I’m embracing my feminine and investing in my own self-care . Instead of “doing,” this trip is all about being in the moment, relaxing and experiencing.
Everywhere I go in this beautiful city I see groups of women walking together, sharing lunch and conversation, even holding each other’s hands in shows of affection.
Not only am I traveling, but I’m growing, changing and healing along the way. Traveler’s remorse is inescapable for anyone who has someone or something to miss at home, but it’s all just part of the journey and something that should never keep you from traveling to the places that most excite and inspire you. It’s always important to remember that the more you are excited, relaxed, rejuvenated and inspired, the more you have to share in your life at home and the people in it.
Choosing a spiritual goal for your journey will help to remind you that your trip is worth it, even when you’re experiencing a little traveler’s remorse.