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What Happens When Travel Becomes Escapism?

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Updated December 2020

What happens when travel becomes escapism? Travel escapism is a very real thing, let me tell you my experience. I’m not sure where this is headed, but I feel very much compelled to share with you all what’s been going on and what’ been going on in my mind for the past couple of weeks.

The last time I posted something was last July, a practical post on how to be a good house guest, which I hope you all enjoyed and found some value in that. Since then, coming back from an amazing trip in Ireland visiting my friend and discovering Dublin, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, left me with many lasting impressions that went beyond the amazing memories. I had a list of ideas to write about travel related to Dublin and the places I had visited based on my experience, but I realized that there were certain blocks coming up making it hard to sit down and write the ideas down in post format.

So, what’s been going on?

When I arrived back from Ireland, I realized the similar sensation of coming back to the States after a trip; wishing my time abroad could have been extended, no surprise there. However, it was still a little bit different from other times. It wasn’t quite reverse culture shock, as I was not in Ireland for a substantial amount of time that would have allowed for reverse culture shock to occur. It was a feeling of regret of putting myself through this again. Going away for a trip, feeling liberated, like anything good could happen, at my happiest walking foreign streets and meeting new people. Then upon coming back to the States, I realized I couldn’t keep doing this.

girl with brown hair looking at the cliffs of moher in ireland

Specifically, I realized I couldn’t keep kidding myself that I was happy in my current work/life routine. I thought deeply about this, and came to the realization and that I was now using travel as a way to escape from this reality. Travel escapism. I found out that more people had experienced travel escapism based on this video by one of my favorite YouTubers. Here she explained that she realized how travel was a form of escapism from the real things that needed the most attention in her life. Through this, I became aware that we have areas in our lives that need adequate attention and work to get to the root of why we feel unhappy, and that it was happening to me. In my case, rather than dealing with my unhappy view of my work/life situation, I escaped it by going somewhere temporarily.

I saw that I wasn’t truly happy in my current job. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled by the 9-5 work style. I didn’t have time to work on passion projects enough to make them into passion careers, and that was not ok with me. It felt like everyday was groundhog day, and I was repeating the same routine, commute, conversations, and frustration for feeling like I had no time left after 5pm to do what I wanted to do. Life became predictable. With these feelings about my current life situation, I became aware of certain habits that came out when I felt this way. My immediate reaction was to look up flights because travel makes me happy (as we may not be surprised around here).

However, I noticed after being more aware of my actions one big aha moment: If I really loved to travel, and I kept admiring people online that made their dream lives happen by creating their dream jobs, why would I just settle and watch them if that was what I wanted for me as well? Well, because of the fear of not being able to achieve this lifestyle that others had. There was an irony to all of this. The more I stayed in this current work/life situation, the more I felt myself “settling” and therefore I felt like I wanted to travel to temporarily fix this real issue. But that’s not what travel should be; an escape, at least, from the current physical reality of life. It’s like running away, but I didn’t want to continue that.

girl with brown hair looking at trees

I didn’t realize that I had created the limited belief in my head that If I remained at this job, I could afford travel. It had become a cycle of belief that in order to travel, I had to stay at this job, and that the more I stayed at this job, the more I traveled because I wanted to escape it, because I could. And I masked this all with ” I just love to travel!” This was a moment I decided that I didn’t want travel to become this for me. In addition, I had created another limited belief that If I left to start my own business or own career ventures, travel opportunities wouldn’t come by as often, financially anyways.

I completely disregarded my dream life and dream job and with this, the potential that these opportunities could create for me to get to a point of traveling and working anywhere on my laptop. I didn’t do anything about it because I was afraid to actually make that happen. Instead of rewriting that limiting belief I had created, I was setting and therefore escaping (literally) through travel in my mini paid but short vacations that my job allowed me to go on.

And just to be clear, this is more of the travel I did when I was in the 9-5 life, not the other travels previous to this.

Read More: Transformative Travel

So, what did I do?

Though I was and am grateful for the professional development I had at my job, the amazing coworkers I got to see day in and day out, I decided to quit my 9-5 job. It has taken me some work to get to this realization, and figuring out the root of this feeling of regret that I mentioned earlier. I kept putting myself in a position of having a taste of the “what could be” but then taking it away from myself when I had to come back to the States. My trip to Ireland was kind of the final straw and along with some amazing coaching, I was able to get some clarity. Clarity with other areas of my life, but this was one that came up in the work I was doing. I felt the fear of truly going against what I’ve been conditioned to think: work for a company or organization, and take a couple vacations occasionally; basically build your life around a 9-5 desk job with the works.

What does this mean going forward?

So, with all this being said, it’s not to say that I don’t like travel anymore as I used to. If anything, I understand myself more and my relationship with travel. I see travel not as escapism, but as a way of life. A pure enjoyment of life in motion and constant learning. I absolutely love it ❤️ – and I am not saying that I still didn’t enjoy all those trips that I did while I was working my 9-5 job. More so I see one of the big reasons why I made the action to leave. I wanted to continue to see the world and learn from other cultures, but I also really wanted to leave my current work life situation and not do anything deeper to fix that. A big reason why I took a small break and made the decisions that I have made, have been because I want to seriously pursue this lifestyle: Something of a Digital Nomad meets world expat. I’ll figure out the actual name for this later ?

girl looking the city of montreal in canada in the spring

I have left my 9-5 job with the mindset of simply closing this income source to make way for other bigger, and more creative income sources that allow me more flexibility. Doing the mindset shifts, rewriting my limiting beliefs, and taking inspired action; educating myself, sharpening and crafting my skillset, reaching out to other like minded people, coaching, and the big one; feeling confident in myself, I have already been able to attract clients and work opportunities. I am so grateful, and I know that this is what I am meant to do at this point in my life.

So, today on my birthday, I am gifting myself with being more open about these kinds of things on my blog. My blog is dedicated to travel, but it’s also dedicated to the personal growth that happens when we step outside our comfort zones. It’s not the easiest thing for me to open up about my life and challenges, especially because I don’t know who reads this and i’m an overall private person. However, I know that there’s some value in this, and that there are others who are going through similar situations. A lot of good can come out of this, it may resonate with one of you, and it may be what you need to hear. If that’s the case, it’s worth it for me. Please let me know in the comments below what you think and if this is relatable to you.

girl with brown hair and glasses posing in front of tulips at the montreal botanic garden

December 2020 Update:

It has been officially a little over a year since I posted this, sharing with you a side very real that I was experiencing, and a change I felt so needed to do for myself, as well as share with others who may come across this post. If you’re still reading this, thank you. I hope that you will take something from this, and that at the very least, you find the realization of the importance of putting yourself first in doing the things you want to do in life. It’s your life, you have the power to make it the very best! Whatever that means for you.

Since writing this, I haven’t been traveling as much because of the pandemic, however, this year has been nothing short of expansion in both personal and professional ways, one of those being this very blog that you’re reading. Exercising my creativity this way, allowing ideas to come through, and trying new things. My intention remains the same as day 1…

To have a space online where other travel lovers can come to explore and share with others the transformative effects of travel, and to see how travel is such a liberating experience for the long run. This has been my main message and one that I will remain by.

Since then, I have launched my first program The Travel Transformation which is a 6-week program designed to help travelers unleash true, free, and inspired versions of them that they uncovered while abroad, utilizing the truths they discovered through travel experiences, to finally understand what they’ve been trying to tell them going forward in life (you can read more about here!) and I’m currently in the works of revamping it – so stay tuned! I have also been interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts, The Aligned Entrepreneur (which you can catch here if you’d like!) where I talk about taking the leap of faith in my blogging ventures, as well as collaborating with other amazing travel bloggers, and creatives all of which you can catch here if you’d like.

The reason why I mention all of these things is not to show off or brag, but to inspire and show you (using myself as an example) what happens when you let go of the mold (the same one we want to leave when we travel) to do something different. Something that lights your soul up on fire and gives you butterflies knowing that you get to do what you love. I absolutely love what I do, and how much the community has expanded since I first posted this. The blog is still relatively “small” in comparison to others, but I choose to look at its own growth throughout the years, and this year of 2020, in true fashion, has been one of growth in more ways than one as you can imagine.

I’ve also been doing a lot of healing, working on myself in various ways, something that I definitely don’t think I could have done if 2020 would have been “normal.” Maybe I could have fallen into travel escapism again, in a slightly different way. Nothing is certain, if there is anything this year has taught us, and I’ve learned that this very fact can be a very empowering one to take ahold of in your favor.

The main message here is that can also be possible for you. I know this to be certain. Working on yourself, believing in yourself to do the damn thing (whatever it is for you), and doing it whether you feel like you’re ready or not, that’s the prerequisite needed to go on to accomplish what it is you want. I know, super cliche, and repetitive, but it’s for a reason.

I have a long way to go only because I know life is always going to be about learning and expanding, which I am excited about. I will continue to update this space with more to come.

To more travel moments of expansion and doing things you love ✨

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4 Comments

  1. Absolutely love this and I applaud your vulnerability. Opening up and letting us see a glimpse into your being is one of the most beautiful things anyone can share with the world. Just stumbled across your blog today and I love it. I too am into travel, coaching and self-development (especially blending all three together to create something magical) so I am very grateful to you for sharing your gifts!
    Tash xx

    1. Tash, seeing your comment this morning has truly made my day! Thank you for leaving such kindness and understanding. It makes me feel that I’m not alone in experiencing these feelings, and that there are individuals out there that care. Also I love being able to meet other like-minded thinkers!! Would love to connect with you 🙂

      1. I am so glad to hear that! I too find comfort in stumbling across something that highlights that I am not alone in what I am feeling. The funny thing is that when you wrote this blog post in September, I too was going through a big shift – having been retrenched (laid-off) in early Sept, I jetted off to Turkey to use the trip to intentionally decide what I wanted to be doing, what lifestyle I wanted. I knew deep down what I loved and I knew I had strayed from this path. So reading your post brought back some warm memories from my time in Turkey and how it made me feel so alive! The feelings of gratitude from what a difficult time taught me to where I find myself now – putting one foot in front of another to pursue that dream. Would LOVE to connect with you, there are so many things that resonate from reading your posts. I love it 😀

        1. Wow, I love the part where you said that deep down you knew what you loved and knew you had strayed from that path. This is basically the essence of that post I wrote, and the feelings I also felt. So amazing to be hearing your story ? so thank you for sharing. Are you on Instagram by any chance?

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