The Places I Love and The Places I Haven’t Been

Lauren at Tulum
Happy and safe while travelling in Mexico
Lauren at Tulum

It’s time for me to leave Mexico. I thought after six months here I’d be ready but I’m not.

Prior to arriving in Mexico, I’d spent three months in the US. I wasn’t ready to leave when we did — there were a lot of tears and a promise to return soon.

Before the US, Vietnam, a country I wanted to spend much longer than a month in.

Before that, Thailand — a country that’s never easy for me to leave.

New Zealand: Somewhere I haven’t been able to stop talking about since leaving, and somewhere I keep trying to convince Dave to move back to. You know, just until I’m ready to leave.

Lauren at Rotorua in New Zealand

There are so many challenging moments in travel — navigating unfamiliar cities, attempting to communicate in a language you only know one word of, trying to avoid getting robbed, scammed, lost or sick.

For me, by far the hardest aspect of travel is leaving.

It’s ridiculous that, as a full-time traveller, I find myself in tears when I have to leave 80% of the countries I travel through. I develop a strong attachment to the places I visit, one that I’m almost never ready to break. I hate the feeling of moving on when I’ve found somewhere so amazing and it hurts my heart to do so.

And yet, on the other hand, I spend an unhealthy amount of my day gazing at maps. Today, I spent an hour plotting my predicted travels for 2014 so that I could see what my travel map would look like in ten months time. The day before that, I spent several hours researching Guatemala and planning routes and hikes and tours and where I wanted to stay and what I was going to eat. I spend a significant amount of my time planning for future travels and devouring books about countries I’ve yet to visit. In my head I’ve planned a road trip from London to Cape Town in an American school bus, a scooter trip through Southeast Asia, an RV adventure across the United States, a Mongol Rally route from London to Ulan Bator.

I’m a mess.

Lauren at the Golden Gate Bridge

I’ve agonised over writing this post because I don’t want to appear as if I’m complaining about my life — I’m not. I have a wonderful life, one that offers me the freedom to see the places I’ve spent my life dreaming of visiting. Travel has changed my life in so many positive ways and I wouldn’t change anything about the past few years. This is absolutely a first world problem and one I know I shouldn’t be working myself up over.

So what do I do?

I’m writing this at 10:15pm on an overnight bus from Cancun to Belize City. Part of me wants to get to Belize, turn around and head back into Mexico, a fresh six month visa in my passport. I don’t want to leave. However, the other part of me is so incredibly excited to be finally visiting Belize. I’ve wanted to visit for so long, I’ve dreamed of exploring Central America for years. I’m finally doing it — I’m living out yet another one of my travel dreams.

So why do I feel so upset?

Unless I have an terrible time in Belize, I can tell you that two weeks from now I’ll be feeling the same about there. I’ll be sitting in my apartment in Caye Caulker, dreading getting on a plane to Portland — a city I’m returning to because I was so distraught to leave last August — and wanting to change my plans around and stay in Belize forever.

Do you see why I said I’m a mess?

Views over the jungle at Coba

Having the freedom to decide to go where I want whenever I choose is something I’m so grateful for and wouldn’t want to ever lose. I love that I’ll be heading to Portland in two weeks, purely because I was missing the food and wanted to eat yams for breakfast at my favourite restaurant. If you’d have told me that this would ever be a possibility in my life three years ago I wouldn’t have believed you — it wasn’t something I thought was an attainable, realistic goal. Now that this is my life, I wake up every morning and remind myself how lucky I am.

However, having the freedom to fall in love with practically every place I visit emotionally drains and exhausts me when my life is forever full of goodbyes.

I think the reason why I find leaving so hard is because I never know when I’ll return — or if I ever will. In the early months of my travels, I missed a few of the major tourist sites in cities because I was feeling tired or had work to catch up on, rationalising that it was okay because I’d return at some point and then I’d get to see everything I missed. The more I travel and the longer my list of places to visit grows, the less likely this seems.

When Dave I first started travelling together, we both decided that at some point in the future, when we’d seen a lot of the places we most wanted to visit, we’d slow down our travels and start spending around three months in a place. We started a list to keep track of all the places that we’d like to return to in the future to spend one of these three month stints. Here’s the list:

Chiang Mai, Koh Chang, Koh Yao Noi, Ubud, Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, Amsterdam, Lake Como, Ljubljana, Chefchaouen, Budapest, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Veliko Tarnovo, Istanbul, Saigon, Melbourne, Hobart, Raglan, Wellington, Penang, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, New York City, Montreal, Flagstaff, Austin, Guanajuato, Valladolid… 

That’s over seven years worth of slow travel, and I’m certain we’ll have plenty more places added to the list by the time we finish up in Central and South America. We also have a list, just as long, of places we haven’t visited but hope to get to within the next few years.

Lauren in Guanajuato

Clearly, the solution is to find a way to be in 20 places at once — so I can have that breakfast of yams in Portland, relax on the beach in Koh Yao Noi, eat tacos in Valladolid, wander aimlessly in awe in Chefchaouen and watch an incredible sunset in Lake Como.

Until that’s a possibility, however, I need to find a way to realise what my priorities are, and I need to stop worrying that I’m always going to make the wrong decision.

The reason why I’m writing this post now is that I’m struggling to decide if my current travel plans are what’s right for me. I miss Southeast Asia, so, so much — more than any other region in the world — several times a week I’ll consider giving up my current plans to explore Latin America and jumping on a plane to Chiang Mai.

Yet, I know that if I were to do this I’d end up regretting it. This year, I’ll be travelling through every country in Central America, island hopping in The Galapagos, hiking to Machu Picchu, trekking in the Amazon, driving across the Bolivian Salt Flats, visiting Iguazu Falls and finishing up the year with a cruise to Antarctica. I feel that this year could be my best travel year to date and I couldn’t be more excited about what the next ten months hold.

The problem is, I’ve fallen in love with so many places over the last few years that I constantly find myself yearning to return to them, even when I’m in a place I’m completely and utterly in love with.

Cuddling a koala in Sydney Australia

So what’s the solution?

I think the solution is to learn to be present.

To become better at making decisions.

To be happy and content in the place I’m currently in.

To accept that goodbyes are a tough but necessary part of choosing to live the life I do.

To trust my gut feelings.

And to stop freaking out that I’m missing out on hundreds of amazing experiences by choosing to follow a certain path.

How hard can it be?


  1. February 25, 2014

    Living in the present is definitely not easy but something I think is necessary. You may not revisit the places you’ve been but you also might, nothing is certain. Enjoy Central America!

    • November 14, 2015

      Thanks, Danielle! Who knew that when I wrote this, I was about to be offered a book deal and would have to cut my Central America trip short?!

  2. February 25, 2014

    This is exactly my problem. Only, not always just with travel. It’s a flaw of wanting everything, and having the possibility to do/see everything laid out at your feet. Freedom is a wonderful, sometimes anxiety-ridden thing. Thankfully the freedom of the lifestyle makes up for it, but I definitely agree that it can be difficult to see at times.

    In essence – I completely get where you’re coming from!

    • November 14, 2015

      Yes! Glad the post resonated :-)

  3. February 25, 2014

    You know that I am right there with you on this one and understand this dilemma so much! I’m so bad that sometimes I find myself missing places (like Saigon, where we are now!) before we even leave them. I haven’t actually cried on leaving a place yet, but I know the day we leave Asia will be a VERY SAD DAY indeed.

    I think you hit the nail on the head, however, when you say the best solution to this problem is to learn how to be present. I struggle with this so much because I LOVE to plan, and just like you, even when I’m somewhere I love, I can’t help but start dreaming and anticipating the next adventure. I guess it keeps my mind busy? But if I could just learn to be wholly present and live in the now, I know I’d be so much happier. It’s why I try to meditate every single day, to stay centered and focused, but obviously I have a ways to go before I reach any kind of enlightenment!

    • November 14, 2015

      Meditation is something I always start to practice and then give up after a few days. I know it would help, though, so it’s something for me to focus on over the next year.

  4. Karin
    February 25, 2014

    I feel exactly the way you do Lauren. I am living at present between Los Angeles and Paris. When I’m in Paris I don’t want to leave. When I’m in Los Angeles, I get all comfortable and lazy and don’t feel like going back. A few weeks ago I was in UAE and as I watched the dhows gently glide along Deira Creek, I found myself wanting to stay longer. I was there on business and I knew there was so much more to see. I’ll come back again, I reasoned, but the reality is, there is so much of this world to see, I probably won’t.

    I do have a question for you, I read so many people who love Chiang Mai. I have never been to SE Asia, unless you call flying through Singapore a visit. What is so entrancing about Chiang Mai, if I could ask? I have now definitely put it on my list because I read so many people love it. Would love to hear your thoughts, even though I’m certain you have written about it before. Happy travels to you!

    • November 14, 2015

      For me, Chiang Mai has pretty much everything I’d need from a destination (apart from a visa that let’s me stay there long-term). You can have a great quality of life (think a decent apartment with a swimming pool and a cleaner in the centre of town, scooter rental, gym membership, eating out for every meal, regular trips) for $500 a month. There’s so many delicious food options, from $1 a meal street food, to fantastic Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Italian cuisines. Amazing breakfasts. A huge community of expats, so there’s always someone to hang out with. Good weather. Friendly locals. Relaxed lifestyle. Lots of Western conveniences and shopping malls.

  5. February 25, 2014

    This makes me happy and sad reading this post. Getting to visit and experience new places is an amazing, life changing experience. It’s bittersweet to leave the places that have impacted you so much. I think a lot of people that travel have this problem, though. I know I will, especially when I meet new people on my trip. I think leaving Costa Rica has been the hardest for me. But the way I think about it is that I have an extremely long life (betting on the fact nothing bad occurs in my life to prevent that) and I’ll have at least 50 good years of travel :)

    • November 14, 2015

      I hope so! There’s still lots of time to return to the places you love and explore new ones. We just have to stay in the present to make sure we appreciate it.

  6. Josh
    February 25, 2014

    I think it’s tough to stay content where you are when the world has become so small and we know how much there is to see and do. I am lucky enough to get out of the country once a year, and every place I decide to go to is really hard, since there are so many places I want to see.

    • March 5, 2014

      That’s true, Josh — once you know how easy it is to visit the majority of countries in the world, it makes choosing a destination much tougher!

  7. Jordan
    February 25, 2014

    Great post, really resonated with me. In Chiang Mai currently and as you know many are leaving for burning season. While I’m staying till April at least, it will be hard to leave as I know many great friends will be back in May.

    As you say though, live in the present.

    Enjoy Belize!

    • March 5, 2014

      Ah yes, I don’t miss that burning season — it gave me terrible migraines! Chiang Mai is the one place I keep returning to at least once a year — I can never stay away for long.

      Loving Belize :-)

  8. Smallz
    February 25, 2014

    To trust that I’m not making the wrong decision is something I’m working on right now. This post came at the right time. I need to trust my struggle and be appreciative of what I do have. #journeynotdestination

    • March 5, 2014

      Absolutely — it’s tricky, isn’t it? I swear I’ve wasted so many days of my life worrying about whether I’ve made the right decision rather than just accepting the choices I’ve made.

  9. February 25, 2014

    When you have such a massive love to discover every inch of this world it can be really hard to keep your mind in one place. I find myself constantly planning trips in my head for the next few years all the time. I can’t turn it off sometimes and it drives me up the wall. But what levels my mind is knowing how much I love travelling and how lucky I am to be able to do something that I love.

    • November 14, 2015

      Absolutely. We’re very fortunate to have the lives we do.

  10. February 25, 2014

    I had the same plan of spending a month or two in my favorite places when I visit the “major places”. But, there are so many places I’d like to visit at least once! Life is too short :(

    • March 5, 2014

      I agree — there are far too many options! :-)

  11. melissa
    February 25, 2014

    “…emotionally drains and exhausts me when my life is forever full of goodbyes.” This! I suck at goodbyes and try to avoid them.

    • March 5, 2014

      I hate goodbyes, too. It’s so hard to avoid them as a traveller — I feel like I’m always having to say goodbye to people and places.

  12. Jamie
    February 25, 2014

    I cry almost every time I leave a new place because I just don’t want to leave. I spent less than a week in Easter Island and cried the whole flight back to mainland Chile even though I had great travel plans ahead. And then I cried when I left Chile….and moved here and have stayed 5 years and I still don’t know if I know it as well as I would like.
    Any plans to spend time here other than as a jumping off point to Antarctica?

    • November 14, 2015

      It’s so emotionally tough to leave a place you’ve fallen in love with. I think part of it stems from not knowing for sure if you’ll ever get to return.

  13. February 25, 2014

    I am exactly the same Lauren. I almost feel like I am not enjoying my current destination as I am already planning the next one. But then, when I start reflecting, I consider myself to be lucky to be in that exact same place right now I have been dreaming about for so long. I just need to slap myself every now and then to realize that I am lucky to be travelling so much.

    • November 14, 2015

      That’s exactly it, Tammy! I’m always planning out my next trip, while pining for old favourites, and worrying about how little time I have left in my current destination, and all it ends up to is me not enjoying where I am right now! And yes, I need to slap myself, too. Such a first world problem!

  14. February 26, 2014

    I always feel the same. I live in India now and love it so decided to stay put for a while, but then while reading other blogs I get excited about some other country and second guess where I am now.

    • March 5, 2014

      Reading travel blogs doesn’t help with my wanderlust at all!

  15. February 26, 2014

    So much truth in this post! I catch myself all the time falling into the bad habit of mentally planning my next trip in my head while I’m still on my current one. If you figure out the secret to the whole “being present” thing, you’ll have to share it :)

    • March 5, 2014

      I will do! I’m not sure how successful I’ll be :-)

      • May 28, 2014

        Being present is possibly on the forefront of every Travel blogger’s mind but it’s their nature to be in their own heads as its this analytical instinct that allows them to document their experience and visualise narratives for future writing. I’ve heard comedians and artists lament the same thing.
        I personally avoid looking beyond the horizon for the “next big thing”. I find it more enjoyable going with the flow, keep control of my disposition rather than my circumstances.
        Also I see the real blessing of travel as the freedom to leave, to be able to slide through different realities on a whim. I mean, I grew up in Sydney one of the most enviable cities in the world to live in. Why would I change the scenery? Travel is ultimately about accessing options, the trick is enjoying them as they’re experienced not before and after the fact.

        • June 24, 2014

          Thanks for sharing, Loz!

  16. February 26, 2014

    I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to thank you for sharing your personal ups and downs of living the travel life. They’ve been interesting to read, particularly for me who is on the opposite side of the spectrum – having a consistent place I call home and leaving to travel for a month or two when I can. I find myself dreaming of being on the road for long term, but as you say, there are benefits and challenges to both. Either way we choose to approach travel, there is much to be thankful for in just having the opportunity to see different cultures and places in the world; as this is something many people in the world live without. Enjoy your travels, and know it’s okay to struggle saying goodbye – it just means you’ve had the privilege of being touched by your new locations, people, and experiences! Thanks again.

    • November 14, 2015

      And funnily enough, I’m now writing this as I crave having a consistent base and leaving to travel for a few weeks or months at a time. Ah — too many options!

  17. February 27, 2014

    I can completely understand what you mean. I don’t travel full-time, but have lived abroad a few times for decent amounts of time and often fall in love with the places I visit from there. I think the first base – when I studied in Austria was the worst to leave, because it was my first taste of living abroad and travelling. Your note of living in the present and being happy with it is a good point.

    I think keeping an eye on the future enables you to stay excited about what is to come and makes you make the most of the now also.

    Great post!

    • November 14, 2015

      Thanks, Ngaire. I often feel like I’m leaving pieces of myself in the places I visit, and it’s so hard to keep track of where they all are.

  18. February 27, 2014

    You’re so right when you say the solution is living in the present, though it’s a lot easier said than done! Perhaps inventing a time travel machine is the real solution. Would that fall under the realm of physics? Could put your degree to good use!

    • March 5, 2014

      I’ve often said I’d love to use my physics degree for time travel or teleportation! ;-)

  19. February 27, 2014

    In some senses, I think when you’re a constant traveller, it becomes a bit like ‘the more you see, the more you want to see’ though it never makes it any easier to leave a place behind because they all give us memories!

    The only good thing is that you know your tears of sadness will be replaced by warm smiles in your new destination :)

    • March 5, 2014

      I think that’s true — I didn’t have much desire to visit Mexico when I first started travelling and it’s ended up being one of my favourite countries! … And as predicted I’m loving my time in Belize and will be so sad to leave!

  20. February 27, 2014

    Trying to gain roots and find stability is one of our most primal instincts as human beings, so what you’re experiencing it’s absolutely normal, I experience that myself every single time I leave a place. I feel like my heart of breaking in tiny little pieces, but that’s because I was already reaching my comfort zone there and breaking from that comfort and familiarity pushes out buttons.

    I think we’ll never get rid of those feelings of attachment, it’s in our DNA.

    • March 5, 2014

      I agree — I definitely struggle to leave my comfort zone and travel does that to me on a daily basis. There are just too many places where I want to live (for a few months) :-)

  21. Katrin
    February 28, 2014

    That’s a wonderful post Lauren. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

    • March 5, 2014

      Thanks, Katrin :-)

  22. Casey
    February 28, 2014

    This is a bit off topic, but when will you be in Peru? I’ve been living in Lima for about 2 months now (and plan to be here through December). If you need any help, let me know! I’d love to get together!

    Love your blog :)

    • March 5, 2014

      Hi Casey. Peru… hmmm. I would guess around August/September time. I’ll let you know once I know more details! :-)

  23. March 1, 2014

    I wouldn’t have seen this post as complain-y at all, even without you mentioning it. To me it seems like you actually appreciate everywhere you go so much, and this is what causes the internal conflicts. I can totally understand how you feel though. I am in Spain right now, and I really love it, but sometimes I miss other places for no defined reason at all. Also, even though I’m not ready to move home, there are so many things I yearn for in San Diego. It’s such conflict! The key is definitely being present and content, and I’m making those feelings my goal this year too!

    • March 5, 2014

      Thanks, Jessica, that’s so great of you to say that :-) Good luck!

  24. I have the same problem! Everywhere I go on vacation, I start thinking about what it would be like if I moved there and envisioning my new life. I’m always swearing I’ll return to places that I never do. Who knows, maybe someday!

    • March 5, 2014

      It’s tough, isn’t it? I always promise myself I’ll return to most places I’ve visited but this no longer feels realistic — but hey, I still have plenty of time to visit them :-) Like you say, “maybe someday”!

  25. March 3, 2014

    please don’t shoot me down in flames but I think it isn’t just a 1st world problem but also a Gen Y problem. Having access to so much choice in our lives is indeed emotionally draining and I think your generation were brought up on the erroneous idea that you really could have it all. Although I totally understand where you are coming from the only way to approach this and end up sane is to accept that you can’t and won’t ever have it all. It’s not just living in the present – I too plan months, even years ahead, have learnt languages for countries I’m yet to visit etc etc, but it’s also enjoying and accepting both the journey, the past experiences and the forward planning for what they are, not what they aren’t.
    I’m also going to suggest that maybe your psyche might be telling you you want to settle somewhere for a while – the nesting instinct can’t be ignored forever you know.
    FWIW I have 20 years of possible travel plans on my “little list”, that gets me to 70!! I know I’m never going to see everything I want to see, but I’ll damn well enjoy what I do.

    • March 5, 2014

      I won’t shoot you down in flames, Naomi :-). But I will respectfully disagree with you. While I agree that your statement is true for a lot of Gen Y people, I spent most of my life battling numerous anxiety disorders. When I spent six months being unable to even step outside my front door, I never once thought I could “have it all” — I just wanted to be able to step outside and have a conversation with somebody, like a “normal” person :-). I’m still terrified every single day that this life I’ve built for myself will be taken away from me and I’ll be left with nothing — I think I feel the opposite, that I’ll never have it all!

      I settled down a few months ago in a small beach town in Mexico for three months and that was enough nesting for me — I couldn’t wait to move on and start travelling again! :-)

  26. March 3, 2014

    Very personal post, thanks for sharing.

    However, the reason you feel like you don’t want to leave is that you’ll lulled into a sense of security that you know what’s going to happen. With that you strengthen bonds with other people and places.

    It’s all part of personal development :)


    • March 5, 2014

      I hadn’t considered that, Rex, and I’m definitely somebody who likes to live firmly in her (very narrow) comfort zone :-)

  27. Cait
    March 3, 2014

    I’ll trade! Currently in Chiang Mai trying to live in the present and enjoy the time I have here but I’m seriously missing my Latin American adventures! You have to try pupusas in El Salvador …delicious!

    • March 5, 2014

      Ha, that’s funny because I was just talking about how much I miss Chiang Mai the other day! Trade accepted :-)

  28. March 4, 2014

    Wow. To have the kind of travels you have would be awesome. Enjoy the moment and live for that time and place. Move a lot and visit often. Why not? It’s fun and you enjoy it so go ahead but don’t allow your attachments to “one place” stop you from experiencing every place you visit 100%. Have an awesome 2014 travel experience!

    • March 5, 2014

      I’m very appreciative of my travels, that’s for sure! Sometimes it gets quite exhausting to move a lot though, so it’s good to mix it up with bases every now and then :-)

  29. TCI
    March 4, 2014

    It is always scary to leave what you know behind and move forward to unknown. That is why we cry when we are born I think. We are leaving the only thing we know, a crammed space. But we don’t know that our new life is going to bring bigger and better things. I feel the same whenever, I make changes in my life like new job, new business venture. I think it is good to feel safe with our current surroundings. And yet we venture out.

    • March 5, 2014

      I struggle to balance my fear of the unknown with my fear of missing out :-)

  30. March 5, 2014

    I think your post describes life in general, so I don’t think this musing is misplaced. We say goodbye to a lot of things every year–family, friends, jobs, “phases.” But I think your post just expresses how rich a life you are living. I don’t think a lot of people can feel dread and excitement at the same thing, which you seem to feel. It just means that you are grateful for having what you have today and what you will have tomorrow.

    Good luck and safe travels!

    • March 5, 2014

      Thanks Rod, I think that sums it up perfectly. It’s true that it can be accurate for situations outside of travel, too — I hadn’t thought of that.

  31. March 5, 2014

    Gah, I have exactly this problem, and it’s what has kept me in Hong Kong for so long even though I only planned to stay a year! Why do we get so attached to countries?

    I’m glad I’m not the only one with this problem, best of luck trying to live in the present and now worry about it!

    • March 5, 2014

      Thanks, Beth! I think it’s something that most travellers struggle to deal with — there’s so much to see and so many amazing places we never want to leave! Good luck to you, too :-)

  32. Marcello Arrambide
    March 5, 2014

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a hard time. I think of all the points you made, living in the present is something you should heavily draw from. It allows you to better appreciate the place you’re currently in.

    Apart from that, I’d say learn to move on :-) We can’t be happy in the “now” if we’re stuck with the past.


    • March 5, 2014

      I wouldn’t call it a hard time — I’m thankful that these are the hardest decisions I have to make! Still, I’m doing my best to stay present :-)

  33. Carmen
    March 9, 2014

    I can certainly relate to this. Every time we leave a place we love I feel sadness. Although, often the feeling of excitement about going to a new place trumps this!

    • November 14, 2015

      Travel can be an emotional rollercoaster!

  34. March 18, 2014

    It’s been almost a year since I visited your blog last and just wanted to say I really dig the new design layout. That is all :).

    • November 14, 2015

      Thanks so much! You should visit more often! :-)

  35. March 21, 2014

    I know exactly what you mean Lauren; my list of places to revisit just keeps growing as I travel but like you, I can’t stop planning future adventures in new parts of the world too. I keep picking up discarded Lonely Planets in restaurants in Asia and even though I should be enjoying sitting in a cafe in Thailand with a fruit shake I end up transported with longing to visit somewhere new. I think it’s really a common problem with travellers; once you’ve started exploring the world you realise just how achievable travel is and you begin to understand just how many more places there are to discover. Like you, I’m always trying to remind myself to just live in the present – it’s not easy though :)

    • November 14, 2015

      Yeah, it’s definitely true that the more you travel, the more places you add to your list. I think it’s really hard to get it out of your system once you start.

  36. Supreeth
    March 24, 2014

    The spontaneity of life is what keeps us going I believe. If everything were planned and goes as per that, there would not be anything fun/discovery left.

    • November 14, 2015

      True! Spontaneous travels are some of the best travels.

  37. Scarlett
    March 28, 2014

    I get sad saying bye to a hotel I stay in for a day, let alone a country!! I’m be an emotional wreck. It’s a good sadness to have though, and it’s always nice to keep things to do if you do return xx

    • November 13, 2015

      Yes! I get sad about leaving hotels, too.

  38. Tilly
    March 29, 2014

    Stupendous post Lauren, really enjoyed it. Thankful you shared your thoughts with us.

    • November 13, 2015

      Glad you enjoyed the read :-)

  39. If you do make it to Montreal again I’ll be happy to show you around and help you live a local life :-)

    • November 13, 2015

      I’d love that!

  40. April 1, 2014

    I don’t know whether you can call it the downside of travel – it hurts when you leave a place you’ve begun to love. Mexico, Tokyo, Canada … any place you’ve become fond of … becomes almost a tragic place when you have to say good-bye.

    • November 26, 2015

      Yeah, it’s always a struggle, especially as you know you may never return.

  41. Deb
    April 3, 2014

    I know exactly how you feel! I’ve been traveling the world on my own for over 20 years, and I have some bad news for you: it doesn’t get any easier to leave places. I also have some good news for you: you will LOVE Latin America!!! It’s my favourite region of the world, with Southeast Asia taking second place. I’ve been to all the places you listed in Latin America (except Antarctica), and they are all so amazing! Galapagos is the most magical place in the world; I spent six weeks there once, and it broke my heart to leave. So don’t you dare change your plans to go to Latin America. :)

    • November 26, 2015

      Whoops! Reading this comment now and I’m afraid I cancelled much of my trip to Latin America.

  42. April 7, 2014

    So how hard can it be?

    Hmmm. Well, I think you have answered that yourself when you said “I need to find a way to realise what my priorities are” :)

    Rest assured, you are not the only one with these dilemmas. Although most of the times the hardest part for us is also leaving, but a few times we have been happy to leave :)

    We should always remember that we will, in all probability, get attached to the next place we visit. That’s the “promise” that makes saying goodbye for us a bit easier :)

    Loved your personal touch, Lauren. It was almost as if we were having a face-to-face conversation. Very well written.


    • November 26, 2015

      Thanks, Vid. Glad you could relate to the post :-)

  43. James Cox
    April 8, 2014

    Lauren i envy you. You have traveled to so many wonderful places, Great. I am going to
    London England for two weeks in July. I can hardly wait. I have book marked your blog
    because i truly love it. Great content, keep up the good work.

    • November 15, 2015

      Awww, thanks so much, James! Hope you have a wonderful time in London!

  44. Eve
    April 9, 2014

    I totally understand you Lauren! Every time I leave a place, I’m nostalgic too. I always think about what I might have missed… I think being in the present is THE key for appreciating everything even more. Best of luck with finding your balance.

    • November 26, 2015

      Thanks, Eve! I’m still working on it, but getting there :-)

  45. Louisa
    April 16, 2014

    You have a really sweet blog Lauren – this is a nice post in particular. I think the solution is not to plan too far ahead or to worry about lists. The choice/possibility is overwhelming! My husband and I don’t think about it too much. People ask us why we choose to live in each new city and we just shrug our shoulders (someone just asked us ‘Why Budapest?’ again today). We simply want to live somewhere new and have all the learning that comes with that. Just being in Budapest today (as opposed to Melbourne) is simply brilliant. How lucky we are.

    • November 26, 2015

      Thank you, Louisa! I think you’ve got it right and it sounds like it’s working for you :-)

  46. Ryan
    April 25, 2014

    Though I haven’t been to many countries, and though I don’t cry much, I do get really sad when i leave a country. I didn’t want Haiti to only be 10 days, and after 30 days road tripping through Eastern Canada to TBEX, I knew it wasn’t enough. Now free of obligations, I struggle to find an income to let me keep traveling around. Then again, I love staying in a place long term. It’s a hard one!

    • November 26, 2015

      Sometimes freedom can be so disorientating, hey?

  47. April 25, 2014

    lauren, i strongly relate to this. i am wildly in love with wherever i am, while at the same time constantly stressing about the places i haven’t been & the limited time i have to visit them, while at the same time maintaining a list of places i’d like to do a “stint” in — austin, new orleans, saigon, london….i’d like to think this can be classified as a “good problem” but it still makes my head spin!!

    • November 13, 2015

      Yes! We’re exactly the same! My list doesn’t seem to ever get any shorter either!

  48. April 26, 2014

    Leaving and saying goodbye is always the hardest part but it only show’s that we had a great time at the place we were. Probably it’s best to enjoy every experience and grow with it.

    Safe and enjoyable travels,


    • May 3, 2014

      I agree! Thanks, Catherine :-)

  49. MACH
    May 9, 2014

    How great is it that you have so many places you want desperately to get back to! A lifetime of places to go back to because you loved them the first time. Thanks for sharing!

    • November 13, 2015

      You’re welcome! I’m definitely very fortunate to be in this situation :-)

  50. Susan Wilson
    January 21, 2016

    You are really lucky to have this adventurous lifestyle! Having the freedom to move from place to place is amazing! I also dream of visiting all these places but it is really difficult if you have settled somewhere with a family. I wish you to keep moving from country to country and visit all the amazing places that you want to visit! Thanks for sharing about your adventures! It is really inspirational!

    • January 29, 2016

      Awww, thanks so much, Susan! :-) It has its ups and downs, but the freedom makes it all worth it!