The idea for this article was born from a conversation with a salesman. However, it got me thinking about how I would feel if I could not travel.
The other day my husband dragged me to one of those timeshare presentations. Those where they give you a paid vacation just for listening to their offers. I didn’t feel like going but my husband convinced me.
The experience didn’t turn to be bad at all. The guy who tried to sell us a vacation package was a good vendor. He started by asking us questions about our travel patterns. How often do you travel? What is your dream vacation? How much do you spend on a regular trip?
He asked all these questions because then he can use the answers to sell us what he wants. But there was a particular question that caught my attention (and believe me at that point, my mind was already on another planet).
He asked: “How you would feel if you could not travel anymore?”. For some reason, it was hard to answer. I stood there trying to find the correct words. I just said: “Sad”. The vendor asked me: “What else?”. Again, it was taking me too long to answer. The guy helped me out a little bit and suggested: “Angry, devastated, undeserved, irritated, distressed”.
To be honest, I didn’t like any of his suggested words. Maybe, I even didn’t like the question. The question (and the answers) really got me thinking about what travel really means to me. Also, it revealed to me how others want me (or you) to see travel.
First, in my opinion, the question tries to limit the meaning of the term travel. Travel is such a broad term but a lot of people try to encapsulate it in a determined way. Then, they want to make you believe “real” travel can only be done in that way.
I really, really believe you cannot take travel away from a person who loves to explore and discover. There are millions of ways to fulfill the wanderlust craving. So, don’t come and tell me that “real” travel is restricted to certain countries, resorts, or experiences. Travel opportunities are accessible to anyone (look around, you don’t even have to go far) and are not restricted for a few.
Angry, devastated, distressed? Please. Let me tell you, I love to travel. I truly do. However, at this point in my life, I know what is most important to me.
Let’s suppose that for some reason I cannot travel anymore (a supposition since the previous paragraph explains why I believe this is not possible). Well, I am not going to make a scene straight out of a reality show with tears, screams, and sniffles. I will not walk around like some zombie sucked out my soul.
Some want to make us believe travel will magically make us happy. When have you seen travel advertisements with sad people? But this is not always true. The occasional vacation or the round the world trip will not necessarily heal all your sorrows. If you want to travel, do it (and consider why you do it). But don’t let anyone tell you how to feel in a situation (or how this or that situation is going to change your life). You can decide what is good for you.
I believe travel can help you grow in many ways. However, I value other things more than travel. I have God, my family, and friends (and I have life itself). I have a happy life and I don’t try to fill holes in it with travel. I like to see like this: I live, I love, I travel. In that exact order.
Undeserved? I don’t know about you but I don’t want to see travel as something I deserve. The problem I have with this concept is the meaning some give to the word “deserve”. When people talk about something we deserve, usually they are referring to something we don’t do or get often.
It is a reward for our boring, stressful, and routine life (I don’t even understand why we have to reward ourselves, shouldn’t life be full of beautiful and pleasant things). You need to get that deserved object or experience to be at a different level, to get a certain status quo.
I don’t want to see travel as something I do once in a blue moon, something I give myself to feel better about my life, or something I do to feel above others. I want to see travel as an integral part of my life, as something I practice often, as something to share with others. I love life, enjoy every minute of it and travel is just one of the things I practice to explore different aspects of it.
Ok, so now you can see why it was so difficult for me to answer the question. Maybe I have complicated thoughts. I don’t know.
Now, it is your turn. How would you answer the question?
How you would feel if you could not travel anymore? Let me know in the comments section below. By the way, I am really interested in knowing what you think.
Update: I wrote this article in 2011 and it became real in 2020 due to the global pandemic. Nobody would have ever imagined entire regions quarantined, international borders closed, and flights canceled. However, what I wrote stands true. I was not able to travel internationally or domestically but, to me, health and family became first. I was grateful for spending those troubling times with my husband and knowing my family was doing good (given the circumstances). Of course, my husband and I made the most of our time off by exploring the area where we live (following the proper guidelines).
Jan Ross says
Sad would be my answer as well. You never know what might interfere with future travel plans – illness, finances, the possibilities are endless. We are very fortunate that both our grown children live nearby, as well as our 6-year old grandson and extended family with whom we are very close. We both love what we do for a living – he actually retired and then went back! – and love spending time together. We are very, very fortunate in our lives and travel is an added perk that we both enjoy. We would be sad if we couldn’t travel anymore – but there are other things that are much more important.
Glad to see that we kind of share the same persepective on this. I am sure your children, grandson and friends bring you lots of love.
Shirlene from Idelish says
Definitely sad. Devastated even. But you are right that travel is a broad term. Going to a neighboring county is considered “Travel”. Going to an unexplored part of our own city can also be considered “travel”. So it sure is complicated as you said. I’ll be sure to find other ways to “travel” if circumstances in my life has limited my ability to travel. For example, if i am one day unable to physically travel, I’ll watch the travel channels, read travel magazines to continue to enrich my life with tales of travel from around the world.
I guess you will get creative like me. I think if we really have the desire to do something, some doors will open. I have met so many people on the road (sometimes in difficult physical or mental conditions) that are exploring and learning and having a blast as best as they can.
What a wonderful, reflective post. I’ve often wondered how I would feel if I suddenly stopped traveling as much as I do. If we got a dog? If we became less financially able to travel? If my health declined? And as much as I love to travel (obsessed really), I’d have to adjust to the new life and be thankful for the opportunities I’ve had in the past to see our planet. It would also give me time to explore the world inside me.
Wow, you comment is really deep. I didn’t write about being thankful for past opportunities but I have thought about it. I would say I share your same outlook. I believe I can adapt to different situations and feel gratitude for what I have. I am not saying it will be easy but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
Very sad. As if I were to have unfulfilled dreams.
I can picture you sad without travel.
Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says
Tough question to answer. You’re right, “travel” is hard to define. You can be a tourist in your own hometown and “travel” without leaving your immediate area. So I would probably draw a blank trying to answer that as well.
I know, I know. It is not that easy and more when somebody wants a quick answer. I am still trying to find the right words.
Well in way, I have experienced that! Earlier this year my husband ended up in hospital and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (the autoimmune disease kind, not the “I’ve eaten too much chocolate in my life” kind). We wanted to go many places but the first few months practically kept him housebound while we learned how to manage the disease. It’s frustrating and hard on many levels with just the disease, but when you had plans to visit new places and just travel in general, it makes it a little harder.
Now that we know more about managing diabetes, things are easier, so we’ve started back off by being tourists in our own town. And you know what, that’s fine too! As much as that thrill of a completely new place is unbeatable, there are often lots of awesome things on your doorstep too!
Thanks for sharing you personal story. Glad to know your husband is doing better and you guys are learning to do what you love in this new situation. Hopefully, there will be a time when you can travel as wanted. In the meantime, continue enjoying what is close but awesome to you.
Devastated, because the only reason I can think of which would prevent me from traveling is serious illness or disability. If one or the other happened, I really don’t know what I would do.
I wish you many, many more years on the road.
i’d be pretty devastated. Now that i’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like to travel, i can’t imagine NOT traveling.
You are right. At some point, you get hooked on travel. Then, you don’t know how to get off.
At this very moment I’m trying to settle down after 12 years of on-and-off travelling. I’m not happy that this part of my life is over, I wanted it to last forever. But I also want to move forward in new directions and I feel that I can best do that at the place I’m trying to settle in to: the country I was born and raised in. Of course after I’ve got my life back in order nothing will stop me from city-tripping or holidaying to get my travel fix (especially since I live in Europe and it is so easy to just hop on a plane and celebrate the weekend in a totally different environment), BUT longterm traveling will be on hold for the coming years. And although it makes me sad, I know that the thrill of travelling for me is the sense of adventure. And I believe that I can get a sense of adventure from other sources as well. I just moved to a new city I had never visited before. I will use the weekends to explore. I hope this brings me the same sense of adventure that I have after I embark off a plane into the unknown…
Sometimes I wonder, if people who like to travel are just people who cannot conform to a routinary life. Even though you are settling down, you are describing me all the exciting things you want to do. It sound like a lot of fun. A big desire to break the mold.
You said the trill of travel for you is the sense of adventure. For me, is the sense of continuous learning and discovery. I believe the best way to learn is to get immersed.
I really like what you said about travel not being defined ina certain way. For a lot of people who dont have the money or time, travel can be something close by or just going somewhere to relax, and that is ok. It is different for everyone. If I could not travel, I would be sad at first, too, but like any other hard situation in life, i would not let it make me suffer. As you said, I also have many good things in my life. I would appreciate those and then work on remaking my perspective. My kids are the thing that bring me the most joy. By the way, what happened with the free vacation? I always wonder if those presentations are worth it.
Thanks for sharing your impression on the post. Well, I got a certificate for two days in Napa. Hope to visit next year.
As someone who lives on the road full time I could not imagine a time when I would not travel. The only thing that will stop me from traveling will be death. I don’t travel to fill holes in my life, but rather to expand my spiritual self that enjoys learning, through travel, what my purpose in this life is. For me, I believe that this is my path and I do feel lucky that I can live my life this way.
Wow, love how you described what travel means for you. I never thought about how travel is a path for some. Great to learn about your perspective.
I’d be sad but not devastated or anything like that. I love travel and have enjoyed every place I have been to. It has all been a wonderful adventure and I hope to keep traveling while I’m well enough, or until the money runs. When I’m at home i am also very happy to be here for my children and grandchildren. Love my house, love my garden. Life is good and I am grateful for all the joys and pleasures there are around me. Travel has been a big bonus in my life, but when I can travel no more, I will have my photos and my scrapbooks to look back and reflect on all the wonderful places I have been, and sights I have seen. Life is good. I think you have your life in the perfect order. Live,love and travel.
Wow, so great to know how people like you are enjoying life. Hopefully, you can pass the same wisdom you expressed in your comment to your children and grandchildren.
Michael Figueiredo says
I would be devastated. This year I haven’t been able to do the international traveling that I wanted to do and I feel like I’m missing out on so much. I know that the places I want to visit will all be there next year but it is hard to not go there, now.
I totally understand you. Sometimes, I make detailed plans of the places I want to visit. For some reason, the plans do not progress. However, I have discovered that sooner or later I am able to visit the places I planned for long time ago. Three years ago I made plans to visit Brazil but for many reasons I ended up not booking the trip. This year I went to Brazil without really planning it and was able to book a free ticket with my accumulated miles. So maybe this was the year for Brazil.
There are so many places out there. Sometimes it gets overwhelming to decide where to go next. I tell to myself to be patient. Little by little I will continue going to places.
When I read the title, I could feel my chest get tighter. I may be a little dramatic, LOL, but I would feel so stuck if I couldn’t travel anymore. And with that feeling would come restriction and unhappiness. To know what’s out there, and not be able to enjoy it, seems so cruel.
I’m happy with my life on a daily basis, but when I return from traveling, I’m so energized and rejuvenated. I think that my travels add plenty of positivity to my daily life. I wouldn’t be the same if I had to stay still.