The Travel Drug: Potent, with possible Severe Side-effects.

In All Topics by Ryan14 Comments

the-travel-drug

Bloggers tend to paint a picture of constant euphoria, of happiness, of adventure, of the grandest lifestyle that everyone is missing out on. It can be all of those things.

But it isn’t always rainbows, butterflies, and happiness. Actually, rarely is it an “ideal” lifestyle.

It is a lonely road at times, a hard road at times, a sad road at times, and a road to emotions you tried to hide deep down inside.

Travel can be one helluva potent drug, and if used as a supplement for things you aren’t facing in your life, can have very severe and sometimes deadly side-effects.

One thing traveling for the first time to New Zealand taught me was the same thing running away from my hometown after the death of my father taught me. You will be haunted no matter what from these things until you look them straight in the eyes and face them.

And after I returned, my own crash was so severe that I nearly ended my own life in a way, which I am currently forming into a short story when my emotions permit.

But after that crash, and after a serious self-review of my emotional state, my trip to New Zealand revealed to me that I was still hiding from myself, and exposed my issues with self-worthiness like an open wound. A wound I finally realized I needed to heal. Not by ignoring or escaping, but by doing things for myself.

Many people, including myself at one point, think travel can be the end-all-be-all-cure-all for what ails your heart, mind, or life as a whole. From personal experience I tell you it can’t.

What travel can do is give you the solitude needed to see inside yourself, and to begin to realize what you need to do for happiness. It can help you escape the bondage created by our normal lives so you can formulate a lifestyle you want to live.

It made me realize that happiness isn’t in the traveling, but what the traveling provides me: Challenges, knowledge, exposure, hardship, cunning, and all other skills you begin to utilize on an adventure. It presents me with the nakedness needed to realize that I was still trying to live up to some other standard, to show people “I made it!

I have personally struggled with the feeling of inadequacy, the feeling of failure, of desperate moments, of despair, the feeling I had to prove myself to the world and to other people. And ultimately I have even contemplated suicide before. That ultimate and permanent “cure” lies in wait until you are at your weakest point.

And this is exactly the reason why I speak out so much these days about my own parents deaths, about my shattered childhood, and also about the darkness that followed me. That still follows me. I have battled with alcoholism for years, not believing such a creature existed in me like it did in my father.

And I can’t hide from this anymore, because it tears at my soul.

After leaving for a year in New Zealand it showed me that even though I wasn’t running away like before when I moved across the United States, I was still just avoiding the life I didn’t want. I still wasn’t fixing myself, or making myself better, or making myself feel worthy. And that makes the crash from a high even more catastrophic.

New Zealand and traveling did help me realize the most paramount thing: I needed to work on me.

For the first time in my life, through writing and surprisingly in person with other people, I am revealing what pains me deep inside, how I am afraid to cry, afraid to feel, afraid to connect, how desperately I want to succeed because others said I won’t. Problem is, proving yourself to other people is a battle that cannot be won.

I write so much about my turmoil(s) in life because for the first time I am facing it. I hid away emotions, truths, and weaknesses for so long that it came back to haunt me after returning from New Zealand.

Revealing what haunts me brings it out like a raw wound, and then I can see the damage and try to fix myself. I can try to begin to live this dream for myself and not just to show up others.

I think it is EXTREMELY important that if you are going to take on the endeavor of a life of a traveler, you must take it on as just that, an endeavor. Traveling indefinitely is a life choice to do what makes yourself happy, not to become happy by avoiding what is inside yourself. Life is a mean mother fucker, a wicked and cruel gauntlet at times, and just booking a ticket WILL NOT FIX IT.

You must do it for yourself and nobody else, and you must be honest and open with yourself, and then you will be to others. And then it won’t be just a sugarcoat.

You must also know that the initial surge of happiness from the freedom you experience, as well as the intense relationships you develop on the road, will eventually have it’s bad moments. And when the fall happens, you need to reach out to those you love the most. You have to be self-aware, and you have to not hide it.

Even when culture shock smacked me across the face when I arrogantly thought I was immune, the loneliness I felt made me hole myself up for more than a week.

It pains me to read about Anita Mac, a fellow travel blogger and dreamer, taking her life. I know how much it hurt me when my mother committed suicide, and I wish her family the strongest of hearts.

Travel can have dire consequences with anyone. To escape means to typically run away, and to run away means to not face something. And to not face something lets said something grow into an enormous and fierce beast that will come back to ravage your life.

As I write this, I don’t know the full story of Anita and I will never make assumptions about another persons life. But I wish I could have met her, because everybody who mentions her all have beautiful things to say. And I wish someone…anyone…could have discovered her inner turmoil before she fell to the darkness and helped her through it.

I just know the dark moments I’ve been through myself, and how I’ve come to realize that a life on the road needs to be taken seriously. It can be a phenomenal transformation, or an amplifier for hidden emotions. Keep honest with yourself, and tell people when travel isn’t going so rosy.

With Anita’s death, paired with my “travel drug” overdose, I felt this message had to be shared. I’ve realized I must travel to live for myself. I travel to find my own self worth and happiness. I see travel now as the journey, not the destination, and surely not to escape anymore, but to face the world head on. And to face myself.

Feel free to share your own stories of emotional struggles on the road, and how you overcame them. The travel community is a great one, and we should all support each other.

 

Comments

  1. Kristin of Be My Travel Mues

    I felt like you were talking directly to me as I was reading this. It’s incredibly true that traveling doesn’t fix anything. Running away is still running. I’m no less sure about anything now than I ever was before. The only thing I know is I don’t fit into normal life anymore, so I’ll keep wandering, looking for whatever it is that may one day make me whole. In reality, that one thing, I know, is going to have to be me.

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Yes, I was speaking to you! And to myself, and to everyone else 🙂 it definitely has to be about finding your perfect median and your happiness. I’m glad you aren’t stopping the search and realizing to travel for you!

  2. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    I admire you for your openness and honesty. You are absolutely right in terms of peoples’ perception in regard to a life of travel and travellers desire to perpetuate the myth that it is a perfectly life. It is both very brave and very challenging to began sharing your feelings and experiences in the ways that you have been doing through your blog. I believe that by sharing your process publicly, you are helping others who may not yet have learned to be vulnerable, to reach out and connect. Thank you*

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Thank you Mary. I’ve come to find out one of my biggest fears is being vulnerable, and has shaped the past few years if my life in some negative directions. But writing, it seems, is helping me with that and I hope to help other people!

  3. Kitty

    Great sharing Ryan,
    Maybe this is your pursuit, to share these struggles so others in the same or similar situation can feel a kindred connection. This open communication is paramount to human interaction. As a race we often spend our time with turned inwardly, not in reflection but to protect the self.

    The problem is, that doesn’t work At All. Humans are meant to come together, to connect and to share their lives with one another and nature or the world at large, if you prefer. And by sharing, it need come in all forms. Through writing as we do, listening and physical interaction, community. This is something I feel very strongly about at this point in my life.

    I spent many years self contained. Not a complete hermit, I was pretty social but it was superficial, part of the party, the scene. Now the realization of how very important it is for us to come together, to unite and build better relationships and be kinder to ourselves is my spark. And by reaching out, as you have done in this post and have been doing all along, you are connecting and giving a great message to others. Discovering that there are other people who care and have gone through a similar event is a gift for someone sitting in darkness.

    Your honesty and openness is helping someone somewhere. This is your message and your gift. You may find the short story you are writing is not so short. I’m sure it’s something that should be published.

    ~Kitty

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Thank you for the amazing support Kitty, and it seems like you are becoming very tuned in with yourself as well!

      I’m happy you have come to realize that connection with yourself and others is very important to your life and well-being, and assuming a role of fitting in to protect yourself or feel worthy can have adverse affects.

      I’m so happy to have you as a reader and along for my journey, your insight is always great and it feels good to see others chasing their dream and their happiness!

  4. James Shannon

    As much as travel is not a cure-all for your problems, it often helps bring them to the surface so you can face them head-on. Removed from the noise of everyday living, they stand right there, in the cold light of day.

    Also, returning home and contrasting the freedom of the road with the routines of home can make it much easier to choose what you value, because now you’ve seen both ways of life, and you can therefore make an educated decision.

    Keep being brutally honest Ryan, it’s the only way to truly find members for your tribe that will march with you through thick and thin!

    I look forward to meeting you when you get to Thailand in November man!

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      James, thank you so much and glad to have you along for the March as well! Great insight, and all that you said was true. Much of it has to do with bring issues to the surface and facing them, as opposed to them coming to the surface and ignore them, making the monster grow larger.

      Can’t wait to meet ya as well James.

  5. Noor - Desert to Jungle

    Thank you, Ryan, for such a well written, heart-felt and honest post.

    Have you ever heard of EFT Tapping? It’s a very powerful technique for improving emotional and physical health and particularly effective for releasing trauma. I’ve been working for the last week with a young woman who has carried the burden of childhood abuse with her for two decades. The changes she felt after two sessions were amazing (she’d had 18 months of ‘talk therapy’ before coming to the centre where I work).

    If you are interested then please feel free to send me an email and I’ll tell you more about it. I’ve just started doing a ‘detox’ of difficult experiences in my childhood using tapping and the insights I’m getting are blowing my mind.

  6. Jayne

    Hi Ryan,

    Wow! this one got me thinking, thanks so much for sharing. I’m very new to travelling (about to take my first trip in less than 7weeks). But like yourself and many others I to have had a fair share of deaths and for a while it was like that was the only thing that happened – another loss to try and live with. One day I was like, that’s it, I’m going to start doing the things I want to because I don’t want to waste my time and why not? However, I would be lying to myself and others if I didn’t hold my recent losses partially responsible for my decision to bite the bullet. For me I think death has made me more aware of how precious our time is – well I hope I’m on the right track! Great post – 🙂

    1. Author
      JustChuckinIt

      Jayne, if you are acknowledging these things and talking about it, then you are definitely on the right track! I blamed myself for such a long time as well, but there is nobody to blame. Especially yourself. Thank you for sharing and I am stoked that you are traveling soon!

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