Travel Pains: The Road is Calling, and It’s Tearing Me Apart

In All Topics by Ryan10 Comments

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December has been a whirlwind month. After getting back to writing in November, I disappeared again. Besides finally seeing some of what the state of Victoria has to offer, I struggled balancing crazy holiday work hours, a hunger for alone time, and weird emotions of holidays abroad. Something is tearing me apart.

December has been a bit of a weird month for me. In November I vowed to explore more of Melbourne and the surrounding areas. At the same time, as December crept up, it brought holiday work hours. That means longer days, bigger and busier nights, and holiday chaos. At least in the restaurant business. And since this job is literally paying for new adventure tickets, I’ve been battling my desire for time off to write and explore in order to pad my wallet. It’s breaking me a little.

Even with the insanity that comes with the holidays (pushy shoppers, office parties, herds of aggressive drunks, erratic hours) I did manage to see a few beaches this month. To get a little fresh air. To be in the embrace of nature for just a little while. I’ve been quiet on the blog because if I wasn’t working and coming home to pass out, I was actually seeing things. Actually exploring. Early December, some work mates and I decided to rent a car last-minute and explore the Great Ocean Road of Australia. WOW. That’s all I have to say now, but I’ll share some pictures below that will make you blurt out the same thing. And it brought my emotions back up to a high point after feeling down much of November.

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How could that not boost your mojo?

I also took a trip down to Mornington which is a winery destination close to Melbourne, though I didn’t make it to the beautiful coastal areas of Mornington Peninsula. That’ll come at a later date. But instead of taking one of those $100+ tours down to Mornington, I figured out a much cheaper (though lengthier) way to get there by public transport for $5 one way. It’ll cost you 2 hours of your day each way, but if you’re on a budget it’s worth it. And I’m the kind of person that will take the longest way possible to save a few bucks. It makes for great people watching after all. This coming week I’m hoping to finally hit the peninsula for some hiking.

Because I need to. Desperately.

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Nature is definitely where I’m most happy, and this month I’ve noticed just how much of an impact it has on my emotions given the highs and lows I’ve been experiencing. Yes, I’ve been able to squeeze in a couple of brief escapes from work and the city to soak up the energy of the forest and beaches and waterfalls, but there’s always a ticking clock at the moment. I have to be back at work. I have to make money.

While driving on the Great Ocean Road I came to the realization that I love being on the road. I love movement. My spirit is transient. As much as I needed to relax after my wild 3 months in India, and as much as I needed to make some fast cash, my spirit might never be in a constant state of happiness in a city. At least not one like Melbourne or any young city of a western influence.

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Don’t get me wrong, Melbourne is awesome. There’s a ton to see and do and discover. It has one of the most exciting and unique food scenes I’ve seen, and restaurants and cafés like no other. Wander the streets and it has some of the best street art and street musicians in the world. But Melbourne is too young. No, I’m not bashing anti-conformism of the young hipster elite and their vintage swag, or the just out of high school wannabe fashion models in seedy clubs. It’s different. Not in the way that Berlin is said to be a clash of youthful ideas and culture emerging from an old soul, but in Melbourne’s actual age. It shows.

As much as the early 1800’s and 1900’s Victorian influences fascinate me in the row houses of Melbourne, it doesn’t have that deep soul that cities like Rome or Prague have. The music scene might be eclectic and awesome here, but it isn’t anything like watching a 90-year-old man in Budapest play the accordion like his father and father’s father had played. All the while in Heroes Square beneath the statues of ancient warriors.

I can sit in a cafe and people watch and be fascinated by the comings and goings, but I can’t sit in a window and ever truly feel like I’m in a place where thousands of years of history have unfolded. Melbourne baffles me and amuses me and excites me — it just doesn’t speak to me. Maybe I’m an old soul, but my recent wanderings have tugged on something in my heart. That I haven’t been able to find constant happiness while living in one place in a city as young as Melbourne or Washington DC. It could be because I’m still not in a position to survive off of my passion, and I’m waiting tables.

Or it could be that I’m just a restless spirit.

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While driving the Great Ocean Road I was tempted to just keep on driving and not go back. The cities of Australia are young like the United States, but the land is ancient. Of course I’d be fined by the rental company for that, but I felt the draw of the winding roads and unfolding horizons. It was out of Melbourne and standing before the wind-swept cliffs that line the Great Ocean Road where I felt it most. Rivers and forests and mountains that have been there for millions of years spoke to me. Camping under the infinite blanket of the stars watching the shooting stars write stories across the universe. The rock “Apostles” worn by wind and sea for centuries stood in the never-ending waves. Here I only needed to feel her, Mother Nature, and smell and touch and hear her. When I’m living in the city, I feel more of a draw to buy something, or feel like I need a drink, or that I need to watch something for distraction.

Nature needs no distraction. Same when I’m actually on the road.

Not just nature, but in ancient cities. I hunger for history. When I was in Rome or Prague or even Chiang Mai, I can sit and relax all day. I could wander the streets all day like a little kid. I never felt the need to “escape” the city. I wander Melbourne’s streets and admire the art and musician and cool hole-in-the-wall joints…but it’s an adult admiration. I don’t feel my imagination flourish. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a feeling I’ve had all month. Maybe even since I arrived. For now I can inject myself with a small cure by seeing more of Victoria and its natural attractions. And when the time comes, exploring more of Australia’s wild side.

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It’s clear I need to find a balance. It could also be the pressure of the approaching New Year that the world puts on “changing your life” and that I’ve been constantly fighting with my dislike of working in restaurants again. It could be that I’ve decided on some exciting travel plans for 2016 and I want ache to be on the road again already. It could just be the feeling that I’m stuck working now instead of being a free spirit.

Either way, the road is ever calling me — my disease, the “fernweh” or farsickness I have for places I’ve never been. Sometimes it hurts. I can feel the pull of it tearing at my chest but I’m grounded here at the moment for monetary reasons. Some days I’m at work and I can’t kick the feeling that I just want to walk off. Not that it’s a bad job, and I really love the people I work with, but dammit I hunger for roads and trails and ancient streets. I just need to wait a little bit longer, and make the best of a situation that isn’t so bad — just not the one my spirit desires.

Maybe I need meditation?

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Have you ever felt this way?

Comments

  1. Audrey

    In an endless stream of very uninspiring Travel Bloggers, I happened upon your great post here by way of Twitter. Keep up the great writing. It’s hard to find any meaningful posts out in the blogger world today. It’s usually the same old, same old.

    I plan on keeping a closer on on your comings and goings. 🙂 Greetings from Budapest (which we haven’t connected at all with – no mountains!). Funny how different places around the globe speak to different people.

    Hope 2016 finds you where you want to be.

    1. Author
      Ryan

      Hey Audrey, thank you very much for the comment and especially the compliment about my blog and the writing. Means a lot to read that! Sometimes I see the top 10 things that get all of the attention and I think to change to it, but I need to share all aspects and emotions of traveling — they need feeling and not just photos to me. And your comment vindicates that so it makes it worthwhile! Glad to have you along for the journey as well. And yeah, no mountains in Budapest but still an awesome city! Happy New Year!

  2. Lauren Rains

    Left you a comment on Facebook, but YES I have felt this way. I have felt this way every single day of my life, except when I’m actually on the road exploring. At times when I’m on the road I do feel a subtle pull to be in one place and have a community of friends and places I love and frequent, but that craving has never been as strong as the pull of “Frenweh”. We have the same disease Ryan! hahaha.

    I get what you mean, calling it a “disease”. Strange how we can place such a dark word on such a beautiful and inspiring calling though. It feels like an oxymoron. Yet it does feel that way. It won’t go away. I’ll try so hard to stay Present where I’m at, and remember the bigger picture, and that The Road and lands full of soul and history and mystery and magic are on the way. Yet, I get angry with myself for not being able to enjoy the simple life of staying put. But I just get bored. And I get depressed. And I feel alone most of the time.

    So yes, I very much get you. And I think you for sharing this, because lately I’ve been realizing I need to just embrace my own “Frenweh”, because I’ve been fighting it for awhile now. And I think its when you fight it that it becomes a Disease, and when you embrace it, it becomes its own cure. 🙂

    1. Author
      Ryan

      Hey Lauren! I did see that comment and it’s been a rough week so I’m only getting to this now! Really happy for you to be sharing your story as well and it just shows that we aren’t in this feeling alone even though sometimes it seems that way. And I think what you say about the “disease” is true because it does feel like a sickness sometimes. It’s a beautiful thing, but when it’s at its strongest pull and you aren’t traveling it can be really painful! Have to get back onto the road to embrace it I feel, to transform it from the pull to the joy!

  3. Victoria@ The British Berliner

    ‘Lovely post thoughtfully written. And yes, I have felt the way that you do, but it was the other way around!
    I went to India 10 years ago looking for inspiration and “something other”and that was when I realised that I already had it. And when I returned, for the first time in my travels since university, I was glad to be “home” and that home was Berlin!
    It was, and still is, everything I’ve ever wanted – a historical city of respect, awe and grandeur, as well as being young, grungy, liberal and totally out there.

    In short, totally me!

    Keep on searching and never give up looking for your dream. 🙂
    Victoria@ The British Berliner recently posted..6 Quirky Museums that you really shouldn’t miss! – #bestofBerlin

    1. Author
      Ryan

      Hey Victoria, thanks for commenting! And I appreciate the compliment.

      Thats so great that you’ve found “home” and one day I’m sure I will…it seems like my call is to European cities or those that have that soul to it, and I can’t wait to see Berlin someday! But until then I’ll keep traveling and home will be the road for now. But I’ll never give up! Thanks =)

  4. Jordain Dawkins

    I understand I came back from Canada after a year of living travelling around amaerica Canada on a whv. moved back home and within 3 months I was done stuck in an office job , in my hometown (Manchester,uk) needing to get out nothing better than being on the road. I missed home but after 3 months I cant wait to get back out there.

    its like a free spirit I think travelling alone (like you did in new Zealand) you cannot get that level of freedom or confidence any other way. heading to Thailand Malaysia for a while before visiting a friend in Melbourne in march then working and living in new zealand in Auckland nz to save up for the next adventure.

    My friends at home are all settled in there mid 20s (ive just turned 25 btw) in careers relationships etc and I feel strange its like ive been away and everyone has conformed to this one way of living which is fair enough each to there own but its a bit strange in todays globalised society to stay put in one location for the rest of your life apart from the odd vacation every year especially when you are young (18-35) , with no commitments (not married , no children).

    1. Author
      Ryan

      Hey Jordain, thank you for the comment and sharing your story as well. And you put it so well about that…ya know it’s so strange how everyone likes to gobble up Pinterest and Instagram photos of far away places but just won’t go. And Being in a city like Melbourne or DC has its pluses, but it just doesn’t feed my soul. I think you understand that from what you’ve said. When do you arrive in Melbourne? It’s a cool city for sure, but if you’re coming here to save up it can be a little stressful. But I’ll take this over living in a societal safety bubble and settling down for now.

  5. Jordain

    I arrive in mid march if your around I’m just visiting primarily to catch up with an old friend . Might pick up a part time job for the month or two I’ll be there but other than that not really saving tbh. it’ll be my 2nd time in Australia 1st time in Melbourne, before I start my working holiday visa in New Zealand (seems more laid back). Any advice for work/travel in new Zealand btw? I agree city life can be consuming and tiring but at the end of the day you’ve got to make sacrifices to live the life you want whether that be friendships, or even relationships unsociable work hours and getting out of your comfort zone. City life tends to benefit financially In the short term due to the abundance of work in comparison to more rural locations but a few months of wages in Australia can last twice as long in the majority of Asia, central and South America or it even can go towards a car for a road trip to explore what Australia has to offer outside of Victoria .
    Life is short and at the end of the day as I’ve got older I’ve found out that the majority of people are making it up as they go along with no real path to life or end up stuck in the rat race. Anyway I respect your story and have been following your blog for sometime now and respect your journey you’re one of the true. Travel bloggers who doesn’t sugar coat there experiences good and bad.

    1. Author
      Ryan

      Jordain, you’re spot on with a lot that you’ve said here. Sometimes the sacrifice of being unsocial or having “boring” nights in to save up money is worth it for the bigger trip coming. Sure, there is a part of me that wants to go out when everyone else does or I get lonely and such, but then when I do go out and spend $200 I look back and go, “that wasn’t worth it for 1 night out.”

      I’ve been considering going out into the rural areas to do some farm work but we’ll see. New Zealand can be a bit up in the air. Places always need waiters and bar staff or baristas, so if you’ve got that then good. For travel, make sure to take Naked Bus or the discounted bus lines to save a ton for travel. And outside of major cities you can pretty much camp anywhere you want so you can sleep uber cheap on a beach or something.

      Thanks again for the awesome insight and comment Jordain!
      Ryan recently posted..Face to Face with One of the World’s Deadliest Animals in Australia

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