Losing my motivation to travel

For a long time I had been fundamentally unhappy with my life in New Jersey. This is all in spite of being close to my family and friends, having a great job, taking classes that I enjoyed, and being on the path to embarking on a career that I was truly passionate about. I felt restless, and traveling filled that void.

I finally got away and traveled for three months. I came back and all I could think about was leaving again. I left for two months the next summer. But when I came back this time, I realized that there was no way I could save money for a trip while working as a student teacher. It looked like the next time I’d be able to leave was the fall or winter of the following year.

It gave me a sinking feeling. The only time I really felt like I was living was when I was traveling.


I continued to spend hours a day trip planning and reading travel blogs. Then school really kicked into gear. After years of learning about theory, I was finally being taught how to teach. My classes inspired me and spending time at a school for fieldwork was so rewarding. I wasn’t just getting by, or doing okay–I finally started to love what I was doing.

As a result…my travel plans took a backseat, along with this blog. I wondered what would happen if I was offered a teaching job after graduation: would I turn it down so that I could still travel?

I vacillated on the answer. Then today I looked at my finances and realized that I was behind…about $2,000 behind, to be exact. This debt from my last trip should’ve been paid off by now, but I’ve been slacking.

I haven’t been planning. I haven’t been saving. I’ve lost my sense of urgency. I don’t have the constant, overwhelming urge to leave because I’ve found a good amount of contentment at home. I love traveling. But I think a significant part of me loved getting away.


I needed to make a decision about the South America trip, because if I was actually going, then I needed to get my shit together. It still didn’t seem real; it seemed more like a vague idea. It sounded nice to talk about it but in reality I had no idea what I was doing yet. I needed to make it real. I needed to make a timeline for getting everything done. I needed to crack open the Lonely Planets that have been sitting on my shelf, gathering dust.

I realized that I could look at getting a teaching job in two different ways. One way: finally starting my career in education. The other way: postponing my dream of long-term travel indefinitely.

The idea made me feel sick to my stomach.

I can wait to get a “real job.” But I still have almost a year left of waiting to travel again…I can’t imagine waiting any longer.


6 thoughts on “Losing my motivation to travel

  1. Good insight.

    I myself felt trapped in the monotony of day to day life (even though I always managed to take at least 2-3 vacations each year, including one that was at least 2-3weeks long). Last year I left Vancouver for Australia / NZ, traveling for 4 months, then settling in Sydney for another 7 months to live and work until my visa ran out.

    I have been back for since March of this year; at first my plan was to go off somewhere again for an extended period after the summer (Maybe the UK, maybe even New Zealand for a whole year). Then my plan changed to maybe trying to build my career back here. Now, I’m starting to wonder once again if I can settle for this, or if I should look into going somewhere for an extended period once again – even though I have gone on four trips since returing!

    The main problem is the money (or lack of it, mostly), and the balance of when is enough enough… I AM 29 years old. Is it time to grow up and build roots yet, or am I too young to settle?

    TIme will tell, I guess.

    • I’m jealous you got to live and work in Australia! That’s one of my dreams. And I can relate to this: “Is it time to grow up and build roots yet, or am I too young to settle?” I struggle with that all the time. Most of my friends have embarked on their careers and I feel pressure to do the same, but I want more than anything to see the world.

      The money part though…that’s the worst! I would be gone the minute I graduated if I had the means to.

  2. I would say you have a third option: teaching overseas. I’m working to get a teaching job overseas right now. Generally you get paid a lot better than in the states, you live somewhere interesting, and you can travel extensively on your breaks. If you’re interested, I could supply more information.

  3. Pingback: South America planning « adultescence

  4. When I was in grad school Brazil was the only thing I thought about, so I applied for a scholarship to teach English there, and here I am. It’s an easy way to fund travel, and because I only work part time, I have plenty of time to do just that. I’d encourage checking it out. I know of English Teaching Assistantships in Spain and France too. I can send you what I know, if you’re interested.

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