Bursting The Travel Bubble

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A comment left on my teaching in Thailand post had me thinking about this little travel bubble of ours we exist in that shows us a beautiful world and life filled with joy, love, peace and happiness.

You go from country to country becoming more enamoured with this beautiful thing called life, the magic it holds, and the inspiring people that join you along your journey.

You return home with grandiose thoughts of how the world can really be and how you can help be this person who changes the world to be bigger and better.

Bursting the travel bubble
Bursting the bubble

Sooner or later, reality comes crashing in and bursts your bubble to show you the truth.

Real life is fraught with problems, stresses, arguments and unhappiness.

That’s right it is a cyncical world. And I turn that way when I join it.

Fleeting Travel Moments of Only the Best Sides

The reason we don’t witness this when we travel is we only spend fleeting moments in the places we visit and in our encounters with people along the away. We see people in their best possible light.

When you meet a stranger for the first time, you are most likely to show them your best side.

When you travel you rarely get to know a person beyond this. You don’t have time to get too know their foibles, idiosyncrasies and negative outlooks on the world, and they yours. You see them shining with happiness, laughing at the joys experienced on the road and their transformative souls bursting with goodness.

Goodness that can quickly be wiped out upon return to “reality.”

Not only do I see the goodness of people, but the simplicity that comes with living a life free from society.

For me I hate reality. I hate living the normal day grind and getting trapped in my own misery and those around me. I hate becoming concerned with idiotic politicians and their baseless promises and policies that destroy our environment, bring about war, hatred and division and make our lives just that little more difficult.

I’m tired of thinking that we can improve society and that somehow I can make a difference. I tired of being surrounded by problems, by negativity, fear, insecurity, bitchiness, gossip and drama.

And the even sadder reality is that I find myself becoming more like this too. I get sucked into the grind and because I am not doing what I love I also become cynical, bitter, upset and not my best self. I do not like who I become.

It makes me want to run. Run fast and far and never return.

My post on teaching in Thailand was all fairies and nice about what I learned due to the students respecting books. I was only there teaching for six months so this is definitely what I noticed. I wasn’t there long enough to see all the problems that come with a Thai education. Well I did, but because my time was short I was able to leave with just the joys fresh in my mind.

Of course the problems are there. I am just stuck in my delusional travel bubble where everything is great, and teaches me a lesson and helps me to love the world more. This is not how it really is for those who live in that world every day.

I remember always saying about my time in London. “It was fantastic, but I should have left after six months instead of staying for an extra two years.” And that was because those extra two years burst my bubble.

It put me into the space of reality, and problems came flooding in. Problems that cost me dearly.

A Perpetual Nomad

My mind grapples with the idea of  “Am I going to be perpetually running? Has my life of travels made me want to remove myself from the real world for good?”

I had a conversation with friend recently. He was telling me how he was tired of all the people he seems to encounter who are just concerned with themselves. “I thought it was just here,” he said. “But my wife came home the other night and said the same thing.”

“That is why I travel so much,” ” I replied. “I can’t stand coming back to society. Give me six months and then I want to run again. I hate it. All I see around me are dramas and unhappy people when I return to the real world, and I become like that too. For me I have to deal with the other side to that which means I am a perpetual nomad.”

“Well that is the problem isn’t it? You can leave it but when you have kids…..

“Yeah, but for me, I am used to it, I don’t think it’s a problem for my kids.”


I don’t care if it means I will be a nomad for the rest of my life. I would rather live in my travel bubble world, where the world is perfect, people are kind, gentle and loving and everyone has the aim to live in peace.

It is a false sense of reality, but it is my reality, and it is a reality that brings me peace and joy.

And this is the only purpose to my life, so I choose to run to it.

How have you felt your travel bubble burst before?


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26 thoughts on “Bursting The Travel Bubble”

  1. Brilliant blog post!!

    Ttoally understand what you are sayign here and even though our own travels have been short up until next month, the “Bubble burst” feeling is very real.

    Kids or no kids, there is nothing wrong with being a nomad. As long as you have an income that can support your journeys, then I say RUN! Keep on experiencing the world and lovign what you do. Where does it say in stone that we must sit and tie ourselves to the daily grind? Where does it say in law that we must subject our families to the daily slog of negativity and bullshit associated with modern living?

    Children who are loved deeply will grow up on the road as openminded, amzing individuals. Yes always havign a base to come back to is important, but being out there and seeing the planet, doubly so.

    1. Thank you so much!! I completely agree. I don;t know how I can keep giving this life to myself and my family. I just want each day to be spent in that travel bubble bliss world! We just have to find the way to support our nomadic life. When you think about it, it really is mans natural state!

  2. I totally understand what you are saying Caz. I feel the same way very often but since we can’t travel all the time we are just trying to create our own world and protect it. Another thing that I am support right now is simple life. Less materialistic stuff around you. It is our way out to living with this travel bubble.

    1. I think the simpler life works so well Marina when you are having to be off the travelling road. It clears the clutter in your life and allows you to concentrate more on the happy and wonderful things. LEss is more!

  3. Great post and something that worries me a bit.

    When I talk to people from home there is always a lot of negativity and such, Travelling and generally being around travellers means I have got this fairytale view of the world where everyone is happy and we can make the world perfect. I’m so wrapped up in it I forget about the usual problems at home and find it hard to relate.

    I think I’ll keep on running…

    1. Run Poi Run! Do not ever stop. It is so hard coming back to reality and realizing that that beautiful happy place really doesn’t exist. The trick really is just to keep living that fairy tale life. Why not? Isn’t that what life should be about?
      I’ve got my joggers on and I’m ready to go

  4. I really enjoyed this Caz. A couple of months ago in Honduras, one of my teacher friends commented to me that she thought Pete and I weren’t settling there long enough to really get to know it (we had 6 months), I told her that it actually seemed to be a bit too long, as we were getting sucked into all the gossip-y type stuff that existed in the expat community (which I loath). She said: “Oh, so you only want to see the good stuff. What kind of life is that?” Um…I dunno…the BEST life ever? Why would I want to stay around for anything else?

    1. What a strange comment to make. I think people are so sold into the drama that they believe that this is life and you are just a runner and life avoider. It’s like you haven’t lived unless you suffer. That is not what life is about. It’s about peace, love and joy. I’m all for running in order to live that.

  5. It is tough having to go from seeing largely the best side of the places you go and the people you meet to getting dragged into the squabbles and melodrama that sometimes seem to make up most of “reality.” A big part of why I chose to leave Washington, DC and make my way toward Sydney was that I’d lost sight of the magic that drew me to DC in the first place. When I first arrived, I couldn’t stop thinking “Wow! I can’t believe I live here!” and the energy I felt just walking around the city was amazing. But at some point I’d just been there too long and it was hard to see past the morass of DC politics and the gossipy, impersonal social scene. Fortunately, knowing that I was leaving helped me to find the city I loved again in the midst of it all, but it was definitely time to leave. I never want to stop traveling, but I do hope to find a semi-permanent place to call home that lets me keep that travel bubble feeling happily intact most of the time!

    1. I think you can find that place too. We want to keep the travel going and the bubble but we also want to have that semi-permanent place. I think once you find the perfect place for you that becomes easier, you just have to work extra hard to stay out of the dramas that tend to accumulate in reality.

  6. I’ve kind of felt the opposite this year, actually. Last year I couldn’t wait for us to be on sabbatical, but being out in the world means you’re out amongst it and we’ve seen some ugly aspects of humanity this year on the road. I don’t always feel my happiest or “best self” when travelling just because I’m travelling. Probably because I actually like my work and I don’t mind being in one place immersed in my projects. John is probably a bit different in that respect, more like you, hating the daily grind and just glad to be out. I guess it’s different for everyone =)

    1. Very true Andrea. I think if you are in one place and you are doing what you love, like you are, then it is a very different happy place. I think if i was living in the place I most want to live and was just working on my blogging full time, and I could travel whenever I like then I could possibly have a very different perspective.
      And there are some ugly aspects of humanity you do encounter on the road as well. I guess those aspects are quite fleeting as well, so the horror of them doesn’t stick for too long, even though the lessons might.

  7. I have yet to experience this because I’m still in the middle of my first long-term travel adventure. But I can completely understand this.

    I like to think that when I return to the “real world,” I will be able to take my positive attitude with me and not let myself get stressed about the little things. But I know that will be really hard to do.

    There is nothing wrong with living outside of normal society. If it makes you happy, you should.

    1. As long as you keep that intention and focus on being positive you will be fine. You will have your moments where you crack but mostly you will regain your composure and deal with it. And if you can’t then you make a different decision that will bring you that happiness.

  8. Going back for my first time. I realized that I am just going to treat it like I am traveling in an area I am familiar with, then go again in 6 months. It’s like a drug. Opening your eyes is more addictive than anything else I have encountered.

  9. I wonder if I will become a perpetual nomad myself. As the deadline for my departure gets closer and closer month by month I daydream of creating my own travel bubble and escaping the bubble busters of every day life. The only problem I’m still 14 months away from departure day.

    1. You can start creating your travel bubble now. We live in one everyday when we come online and work on our blog and hang out in the travel community, or when we go to travel meet ups, or just explore our local area.

  10. Caz you’re absolutely right on here. When I’m traveling I haven’t a care in the world! Politics and social issues go out the window, as do any pet peeves I have at home. I’m focused on the there and then. I think the difference is that at home I constantly have to be looking ahead and worrying… About my next gig, about my finances, about my social circle, about my flatmates…

    I was once asked to write about what home meant to me. You know what my answer was? Home is when I have no home.

    That said, I can definitely think of times I develop a similar bubble when I’m not traveling, though it’s not for an extended time. While going through the daily grind of life, it’s so easy to get snapped back out again! Onto the next obnoxious adult responsibility!

  11. I can relate to this. My bubble got burst when I decided to live in Barcelona after enjoying my time visiting there for a couple weeks. Once I got more involved with the culture (Catalán not Spanish) and day-to-day life, I saw that the wonderful thing I’d experienced initially had morphed into something else, which didn’t work for me.

    Although being an ex-pat (there and elsewhere) was good for me in many ways, I think that traveling and experiencing the best of the people and culture–and the “peace and joy” as you said–works better for me. I also prefer the “bubble”; it’s a great place to be!

  12. Brutally Honest post, I too have dealt with the notion of becoming a perpetual nomad and know that the urge is all too real. Glad you found the courage to pick up and find what made you truly happy

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