Why I’ve Stopped Travelling Full-Time


A detailed breakdown on how I managed to spend just $19,528 on a year of full-time travel.

This is a scary post to write.

From the moment this site took its first trembling breath, it’s been all about travelling full-time. I mean, just look at the name! I started Never Ending Footsteps with the enormously unrealistic dream of travelling the world forever. And somehow, less than a year after my first post went live, I’d managed to build a business that would allowed me to do just that. I couldn’t believe my luck.

I was living the dream.

Being paid to travel the world? Having the freedom to spend a month on the beach and not having to work if I didn’t want to? Getting to fly to Morocco on a whim because the flights were cheap and I’d always wanted to go? Spending my Monday mornings on Bora Bora while friends trudged to work in the rain?

How many people would kill to have a life like that?

Me. Five years ago, I would have killed to have a life like that.

Lauren in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands
In the Cook Islands

So, what happened?

Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to the realisation that full-time travel isn’t sustainable for me. It wasn’t healthy. It was exhausting. My mental and physical health hit rock bottom. Travel stopped being enjoyable. I lost my sense of community. My sense of wonder. Lost touch with my friends. Lost touch with the *real world*. Lost sight of myself. I became a one-dimensional human who thought about travel, spoke with travellers about travel, planned my upcoming travels, and then travelled. Oh, and I wrote about travel, too.

Travel? I wholeheartedly believe it’s one of the best things you can do in life. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Travelling year after year after year after year? The benefits didn’t stick around for me.

It took a long time for me to admit this to myself and even longer to write about it publicly.

It was roughly two years ago that travel stopped being as fun, and that mere realisation made me feel terrible.

I had this dream life. I had a life that millions of people would dream of having. I could wake up and jump on a plane to South Africa if I felt like it, then fly to Brazil the week after that. I was even making enough passive income to be able to take a year off work if I felt like it. So why was I so fucking miserable? Why I was I having panic attacks every night for months on end? Why had I contracted eight separate infections in 12 months? Why was I permanently unwell? Why couldn’t I see how lucky I was? There had to be something wrong with me, because who has a life like that and isn’t happy?

It wasn’t just these feelings of shame that forced me to continue moving. It was the fact that my entire identity had been built around travel.

I liked that I could tell people I’d been travelling for five years, and that they’d find it impressive or interesting. I liked doing something unconventional. I liked writing about being a full-time traveller. I liked differentiating myself from all of the other bloggers who had dropped off to find a base. Because they, too, had found full-time travel to be unsustainable.

Who would I be if I stopped travelling constantly? Would I be boring? I didn’t have any hobbies. I didn’t know what my passions were outside of travel. What would be the interesting thing I told people about myself? I know it sounds like I was caring way too much about what other people think of me, but I kind of run my business around me living an unconventional life of full-time travel. How I would I brand myself on my site if I stopped? Would my readers all unsubscribe?

lauren-hammock-belize

So, I travelled and I travelled and I travelled some more.

I tried slowing down last year, basing myself in Granada for four months, then Madrid for six weeks, then the UK for a month, then Taipei for a month, then Melbourne for a month.

It didn’t help.

It turned out it wasn’t the pace of my travels that were the problem; it was the lack of constants in my life. The lack of stability. Those aspects of travel that I used to thrive off of started to make me sick.

When I discovered the only thing that would stop my panic attacks in their tracks was talking about stopping travelling and finding a home, I knew what I had to do.

I needed to make a change.

So that’s exactly what I did.

It was two years later than I should have done it, but I’ve done it now, and I’ve never felt happier, healthier, or stronger.

I. am. so. so. so. happy.

Here’s why it was finally time for me to stop.

Macbook rage
Macbook rage

I Struggled to Run My Business While Travelling

Let me tell you about one of my recent travel days.

I was in Paris for the very first time and I wanted to see everything. On my first morning, I walked from my Airbnb apartment to the Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe to the Louvre, getting my tourist on and racking up 25,000 steps on my Fitbit in the process.

I got home at 8 p.m., absolutely shattered. I sat down on the sofa, opened my laptop, and started writing a blog post about a cocktail tour I took in New Orleans six months ago. My mind was somewhere else, though. My mind was in Paris and processing everything I’d experienced that day. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t put myself in a New Orleans frame of mind and I struggled to remember how it felt to be there. I managed to write around 200 words before I passed out on the couch from exhaustion.

That’s been my life for the past five years. I’ve been in a constant state of over-stimulation.

It’s hard enough to regularly publish blog posts about places you’re not currently in, but what about if you want to further your business even more? I have a list of so. many. things. I want to do to improve this site, but I can’t even start on any of them when I’m constantly moving.

Now that I’m not travelling full-time: I have the time and energy to write about my travels without also having to deal with stimulation overload. I can work on side projects without having to skip out on seeing a major tourist attraction in a city. I can prepare for upcoming trips by writing posts in advance and scheduling them for my time away. Work is so much less stressful when I’m staying in one place.

As an added bonus, since stopping, I’ve managed to publish posts more frequently than when I was permanently on the road and tripled my income!

lauren in roswell
Me at ten kilograms heavier than I was when I left to travel. Yes, all of my weight goes to my butt, lol.

Travel Made Me So Unhealthy

I put on 20lbs/10kgs while I was travelling, and that’s a lot for someone who’s only 5’1”.

I lost it all within a few months of finding a base, getting a gym membership, and eating better.

When I joined a gym and saw my personal trainer for the first time, my BMI had me pegged as being overweight. That has never happened before — I’ve always been slightly underweight if anything!

It’s not even that Dave and I eat unhealthily when we travel. It’s that we would eat out for every. single. meal. Eating at restaurants three times a day sounds amazing, and we certainly ate well, but it’s not exactly the healthiest option. Sure, we could get an Airbnb apartment and cook for ourselves, but buying spices and ingredients and stuff ends up being ridiculous when we have to abandon them all three days later when we leave the country. Plus, one of our favourite aspects of travel is getting to try the local food. Could you imagine if I visited Paris and spent the entire trip eating boiled vegetables in my apartment?

As well as having a poor diet, it’s tough to exercise when you’re always on the move. You can’t have a gym membership, doing bodyweight workouts in a dorm rooms is weird, and running is tough when the pavement makes way for open sewers and it’s 90% humidity from sunrise to sunset.

Now that I’m not travelling full-time: I have a gym membership, I do pilates, I go for runs outside, I cook for myself, and eat much healthier. I’m no longer overweight and I feel stronger and healthier, too.

Most importantly: I got to do the Whole30 and use my results from that to learn that I’m intolerant to histamine and start building a low histamine diet that has drastically improved my anxiety. I could not have done that while travelling. As someone with a fragile brain, getting to take better care of myself has hugely improved my quality of life.

Before I stopped travelling full-time, I was having such severe panic attacks that I often couldn’t even find the strength to step outside my apartment. Since stopping and changing up my diet, I haven’t had a single panic attack in over a year.

Lauren at White Sands
Me with all of my friends, lol.

I Kind of Lost My Community of Friends

My best friends back home have new best friends now.

It’s to be expected. I’ve disappeared out of their lives for over five years. I tried to keep in touch and send Facebook messages regularly, and we Skyped and chatted plenty. But it all stopped eventually. Soon, our online catch ups turned to them talking about work and me talking about travel and neither of us really connecting with each other anymore. We ran out of things to talk about in minutes rather than hours.

I understand, but it makes me sad.

And sure, you can say that real friends never abandon you, but put yourself in their position: if one of your friends disappeared around the world for six straight years, and still showed no sign of ever returning, wouldn’t you move on and form closer friendships with the people who still were in your life?

You make so many friends when you travel, and it’s surprisingly easy to do so, even when you’re a socially awkward person like me. And then you say goodbye three days later and you never see them again. And onto the next friendship and the next and the next. I’ve missed going for beers with someone I’ve known for years and sharing inside jokes and having mutual friends and doing that once a week rather than once and never again.

And although I feel like I can chat with any traveller for days, travel kind of killed my social skills with anyone else. When all you’ve done is one thing for five years, it’s hard to relate to someone working the 9-5. I don’t know how to small talk with people who have never travelled. I don’t know how to bitch about corporate jobs and terrible bosses. I don’t know how to talk about kids and babies and schools and shopping and gossip about celebrities. It’s embarrassing.

Now that I’ve stopped travelling: I can actually form a community of friends that I get to see multiple times a week rather than once a year — and I have! Within months of Dave and I settling down, we’d found a community of several dozen digital nomads who are based in Lisbon long-term. I love that I can put up a message in a Facebook group at any time looking for someone to go for drinks with and be almost guaranteed to be sat in a bar with someone within an hour. And that they’re not a stranger — we don’t have to have the same old conversation about where we’ve been and where we’re going! My life feels so much richer for it.

flower in huahine

I Needed a Sanctuary

Let’s talk mental health, too.

It’s funny, because I’ve kind of become known as the travel blogger with anxiety in recent times. I’ve been so broken.

It’s weird to me, because for the first three years of my travels, I wasn’t even in the slightest bit anxious. I had maybe five panic attacks. And sure, things freaked me out and I was full of irrational thought processes, but real anxiety? Anxiety that prevented me from going outside? From eating? That suddenly appeared in 2015.

And travel made it so much worse.

I mentioned above that talking about finding a base was the only thing to halt my panic attacks, and it’s true. I’d be sat down in a restaurant, hyperventilating while having all the symptoms of a heart attack, and all Dave would have to say would be, tell me about your sanctuary.

I’d focus then on having a home and turning one of the rooms into a place for me. It would be white and cosy, with soft lighting and bean bags and cushions. It would be a place with candles and colouring books and a meditation space and essential oils. And whenever I felt anxious, I could go to that physical place and I would feel better again.

That’s all I had to think about to stop my panic attacks.

Now that I’ve stopped travelling full-time: I have the exact sanctuary I couldn’t stop thinking about and it’s one of the few things in my life that never fails to calm my mind. I don’t even spend that much time in there, but knowing it’s an option and that it’s there for me was all I needed.

Having a panic attack and having to spend my day in a dorm room surrounded by people I didn’t know was awful — sometimes just the fear of that was enough to make me anxious. Having a home makes me so much stronger.

My mental health has to come first — yes, above even travel — and if ending my continuous trip is what improves it, I have to listen to my brain.

Yosemite National Park

I Lost My Sense of Wonder

I used to pride myself on my childlike sense of wonder. Every time I visited a waterfall, I’d stop and pretend it was the first one I’d ever seen. I would do everything I could to prevent myself from comparing it to the other, more impressive waterfalls I’d seen on my travels.

After five years of seeing waterfall after waterfall after waterfall, though? Eventually it just became falling water and I can see that whenever I take a shower.

Mountains became giant rocks in my eyes. Deserts became huge stretches of tiny stones. Glaciers became massive ice cubes.

Yeah, I became jaded.

And I didn’t want it to happen! It’s disappointing, frustrating, upsetting, but I can’t change how I feel.

When you spend every single day of your life chasing something new and exciting, eventually you kind of run out of new and exciting things to see. Your tolerance builds. Suddenly, it takes something something mind-blowingly incredible to impress you.

I think my priorities changed, too.

Back before I travelled, that was my number one priority; it was all I was focused on. I even remember when I thought I was going to die in the tsunami, my first thought was, oh god no, I’m not going to get to Antarctica. Yeah, seriously.

At some point, probably right around the time I started feeling jaded, my family became a much bigger priority in my life. I prioritise spending time with the people I love over travel now. I don’t want to wake up in twenty years’ time and have my parents be dead and wish I’d spent more time with them rather than skipping through countries for years on end.

Now that I’m not travelling full-time: The grass is always greener, so now that I have a base, I can take a break from chasing waterfalls. But that also means that eventually I start craving travel again, and I begin to appreciate the falling water and those giant ice cubes when I’m not spending every day seeking them out. My life feels more balanced.

The main road in Rarotonga

I thought I was living the dream because I was “travelling forever”.

But the truth is: I was living the dream because I had the freedom to travel forever if I wanted to.

And because I also have the freedom to stop.

I like knowing that full-time travel will always be an option for as long as I continue to work online. That makes the decision to stop far less scarier.

My Life Now

It’s been six months since I stopped travelling full-time and decided to base myself in Portugal. I’ve never been happier.

I’ve realised I’m the type of human who needs stability and constants and guarantees. Even if it’s just the guarantee that I can leave my routine whenever I feel like it.

My life is just so much richer now, even though it’s kind of boring some days. It’s balanced. I have a gym membership and a constant set of friends and a home I can fill with the things I want to buy. I no longer have to throw something out if I ever want to buy something new! I’m picking up hobbies now, and learning who I am as a person outside of travel. I’m learning how to cook for the first time. I’m working on my mental health and taking great steps towards finding my anxious-free self again. I’ve got a dozen favourite restaurants in my neighbourhood, now, and a local park to sunbathe in. I spend half of the year in a beautiful city that’s close to the beach and feels like home whenever I return.

And when it comes to travel itself? I’m still doing so much of it.

In 2017, I based myself in Lisbon for six months and travelled for six months. I visited 15 countries. I saw and did just as much as I did when I was travelling full-time, but instead of travelling for a month and then finding an Airbnb apartment for a month to recover, I was able to return to the same apartment and live a normal life for a while before jetting off again.

Hot air balloon views in Lake Bled, Slovenia

Hopefully this post doesn’t come off as me whinging or sounding negative — I want it to be a positive post, because I’ve finally made the change I’ve been craving for years, and it worked out exactly as I’d hoped. I haven’t even had so much as a cold since finding a home (I had eight infections in the year before I arrived in Lisbon!), my business is doing better than ever, and I no longer suffer from debilitating panic attacks.

I hope I don’t disappoint anyone by ending my full-time travels, either. I’ll still be travelling just as much as before, but rather than spending month-long stints in different cities to recover between trips, I’ll be heading to Lisbon instead.

This is something I had to do.

I’ve learned that I need stability and routine in my life in order to stay strong, healthy, and happy.

And you know me — I love to share both the good and bad sides of everything. I think there is a dark side to full-time travel, and it’s one I’m glad to have finally acknowledged.

TL;DR: I work, travel, and live better when I don’t try to do all three at the same time. 

Coming up soon: after visiting 70-odd countries, what made me choose Portugal as my home base!

After five years of travel, why I had to stop

99 Comments

  1. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    Really interesting post! I sometimes wish I could travel full time but the reality is that I need a base to call home, money in the bank and a sense of purpose outside of travel. I work in a hospice with palliative patients, and this has always given me my incentive to do what I love now, but also keeps me incredibly grounded, surrounded with “real life” and what many people are coping with on a daily basis. It sounds as though you have found your equilibrium which is so important for personal happiness and mental well being. Have fun! :)

  2. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    It sounds like you were stuck in a routine that you no longer enjoyed – much like a 9-5 job. It was something that wasn’t working for you and so you had to change it. As you said, you can always start traveling the world again if it suits you.

    I’m glad to hear that you are feeling much better!

    • October 19, 2016
      Reply

      That’s exactly it! :-)

  3. Mireille
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    I would never travel full-time. I definitely need a base. My dream is to live in someplace for six months, maybe take a couple of day/weekend trips around it. Otherwise, it is exhausting! I can’t believe you were staying in spots for so short a time. It must have cost a lot more money, too!

    • June 3, 2017
      Reply

      That’s exactly what I’m aiming for in Lisbon, and I’m fairly certain I can achieve it.

  4. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    I love how open and honest this post is! And it’s necessary because so many people glamourize full time travelling, they have to see the downsides to it too. Can;t wait to hear all about Portugal as you settle in!

    • October 19, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Rachel! I’m looking forward to sharing lots of updates from my new home :-)

  5. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    One of the reasons you’re one of my favorite travel bloggers is because of posts like this. I can read about what to do in a city or on an Jane on Wikipedia. I like travel blogs because I enjoy hearing about people’s personal experiences. As someone who lives with a panic disorder, I relate to your struggles. I also fully understand the need for a sanctuary. That’s why I’m keeping my home on a lake and traveling 6 to 9 months every year instead of full time. It’s so important to look forward to home, just as important as looking forward to the next trip!

  6. Maria
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    Life is all about exploring, experiencing and adjusting to circumstances. It’s good to listen to your body and mind. You should always do what makes you feel best. You are building probably the best kind of life right now by combining both lifestyles.

    • October 19, 2016
      Reply

      I agree. As much as I wanted to keep travelling, because I know that’s what some of my readers wanted me to, I had to start prioritising myself. Especially when travel was making me so unwell.

      I definitely feel as though I have the perfect mix of what I’m looking for right now! :-)

  7. Amie
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing this; it took a lot of courage. You’re still traveling, just in a different way. One that just might prove to be more relatable to some people. The concept of ceaseless full-time travel is over-rated, imho. I think it would be great for six months or a year or two but there is something to be said for the solace and stability of having a home to return to. After all, isn’t that rooted sense of place something to be admired and appreciated in quaint countryside villages seen during travels?? Also, Portugal is lovely! Great choice for a home base.

  8. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    This is such an important post. The most traveling I ever did was a few months in a row and it really took it out of me. I always say that you just need to find your own pace in life and stick to it. the older I get the more of a homebody I become and that’s okay. I still love to travel, just have learned that it need to come in little spurts instead of long stretches. Thanks for sharing!

  9. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    I’m glad you’re doing what works for YOU. You have to take care of yourself. I don’t think I could ever be a full time nomadic traveler because, like you, I need more stability and more constants. I love traveling, even for long periods of time, but I also love having a home to come back to. Berlin is that for me. I’m happy for you that you’ve found that in Lisbon!

  10. Isaac
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    Can’t wait for your new post!

  11. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    Great post! I’m an American expat based in Taiwan and, like you found out, I think I need that home base. Glad you found that in Portugal. People evolve, blogs evolve, and yours will grow along with you. Congratulations on making a wise decision.

    • June 3, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Andi! When travel was making me so unwell, I knew it was definitely time to stop.

  12. brie
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    thx for this post. it’s enlightening to hear the flip side of the story in contrast to all the glamors of travelling.
    also i’m assuming you look (and most importantly feel) great now, but you look pretty hot as well in the +10kg photo. there is even a dude in said photo that is checking you out who prob agrees with me haha.

    anyway looking forward to reading more about portugal since that is also one of my favorite counties i’ve visited so far.

  13. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    I enjoyed the read and think there are a bunch of bloggers out there who no longer have their heart set on what they’re doing but they keep at it for a bunch of reasons. Brave of you to share this and make those changes for yourself. Love your site because you step up and talk about stuff like this. ;-)

    • October 7, 2016
      Reply

      Oh yeah, for sure. I was one of them, haha! And since publishing this post and receiving abuse via email/social media — people calling me pathetic, saying I’m not a real traveller, saying I was only travelling because it was trendy, saying I’m not doing anything interesting anymore — I understand why people are so reluctant to make a change. Or at least speak publicly about their lifestyle not working for them anymore.

      • October 7, 2016
        Reply

        Lauren, I’m sorry to hear of the abuse you are experiencing. I saw a bit of what you posted on twitter. It is astounding that people think it’s okay to say those things.

        So far, I’ve only had two not-so-nice comments (one of them hit my blog today, in fact!) I hope you can ignore them and know that the people who wrote them are trying to drag you into their own misery.

        Even settled down, you are traveling far more often than the average American. I’m sure that even if you never traveled from here on out, you have stories for years!

      • October 7, 2016
        Reply

        When I settled other travel bloggers were actually making fun of me for doing it, but I always reply: you’ve been traveling for a year or two, let’s talk after 5-10 years ;-)

        • October 7, 2016
          Reply

          Yes! It took me a while to understand, but I think it hits most long-term travellers eventually. Sorry that people were making fun of you for it — that’s so awful!

  14. Emma
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    Lauren, I truly love your blog, your writing, your refreshing honesty. I’m so pleased for you that you now have your sanctuary. I struggle with the – can’t buy this (but I want it in my future home) when travelling. Being surrounded by so many different people! I love having a base. Not having to shower in flip flops, eat out every night, to get into boring routines because it’s lovely, comfy and reassuring. There are so many perks to both being settled and traveling. Unjust know you’re going to enjoy the perks of both. Do what you love, what makes you happy. Your writing gad certainly bought such happiness to my life. Emma X

  15. Caroline
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    I really enjoyed this post. I have to say, I’ve always loved reading full-time travel blogs, but I have never once aspired to that life. I love travelling and wish I could carve out a life that includes more of it, but I think a month or two straight would be the sweet spot for me. Having a home (and a group of friends who live there) is incredibly important to me, even if routine can get boring! I never really understood travel bloggers who didn’t crave those things, although I love reading about them vicariously!

  16. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    Great post Lauren! First i think how can you not want to travel anymore. Then I remember myself at the end of a 9month rtw trip when other people came rushing in “we saw a monkey at the temple” and I couldn’t care less. Let’s multiply that and I do understand you. Five years is a long time to be travellng all the time. Enjoy your home in Lissabon. Oh and this daily posts thing for a month are great! Looking forward to tommorow’s

    • October 6, 2016
      Reply

      I think that’s exactly it. I still believe that travel is amazing/incredible/the best and I never want to stop exploring the world, but I’ve learned that taking breaks is a good idea, so you can make sure you’re not burnt out and can fully appreciate where you are :-)

      Glad you’re enjoying the daily posts! I’m having a lot of fun writing them.

  17. Ayesha
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you for this post, and for your honesty. I loved reading it. I’m so happy that you found the balance. I’m impressed it took 3 years before you were done. I did a year, and was ready to come home. There is such a thing as too much travel, for all the reasons you’ve written about above. Glad things are working out so well for you now. This is a brilliantly written post. Hope you did it quickly! ;) Enjoy the new lifestyle.

    • October 6, 2016
      Reply

      This definitely wasn’t a fast post to write! But fortunately, it’s been cloudy all day so I haven’t minded spending some time inside writing.

  18. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    What an incredible post, really inspirational and very honest (but that’s kind of your trademark;-)! I am very happy for you and Dave that your base in Lisbon has brought you so much happiness, balance and stability. Have a great autumn!

    • October 6, 2016
      Reply

      Awww, thank you so much, Lotte! And it really has. We regularly just look at each other and announce that finding a base was the best decision ever, haha. You’ll have to come check out Lisbon at some point! :-)

      • October 6, 2016
        Reply

        Haha, sometimes it takes a while to figure out what you really need/want… But that’s okay and it definitely sounds like you guys have found it!

        I’m actually struggling a bit deciding what I want, but that’s okay too. I do know I would love to visit Lisbon! Also, it would be lovely to meet up :-)

  19. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    You were very honest here and I can understand how you were feeling. But then I got to your last paragraph and that still sounds like so much travelling to me! 5 cities in the next few weeks! I have lived in various countries around the world where I base myself, find a job or volunteer and stick around until my contracts over or until I get the urge to live somewhere else. I too struggle with keeping up friendships and routine, though the routine is on me for being such a lazy bugger ha. I lived in Vietnam for 6 months, Maldives for 9 months, Naples Italy for 6 month, Sicily for 4 months, Kenya for 2 and now I’m living in the Canary Islands. I teach English and I think it’s good for me to have a job that isn’t about travel. It means that I focus on personal/professional development on other things but then at the same time, it means my blog is just a hobby- so unlike you, I can’t not work any time soon, no savings unfortunantely!

    We all just have to find the balance thats right for us during this chapter of our lives :)

  20. October 6, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you for being so candid and honest. I love to travel and would love to do it full-time, however I have always told people that once your “hobbies” become work they will no longer be enjoyable because they will become a “have-to” instead of a “want-to”. I’m glad you made the decision to slow down and enjoy your trips because traveling is really a blessing.

    • October 7, 2016
      Reply

      That’s so true! One thing I love about having a base is that I no longer have to work while I’m travelling, because I can prepare to spend time offline in advance. It makes my travels so much more enjoyable, because I don’t have this urge to work and write whenever I’m outside exploring. And I actually get to do and see more while I’m on the move!

  21. Erica Mcquade
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    To find the right path for yourself is a huge success story . Well done . To write about two sides of full time travel is fantastic and you rarely read about both sides . I have been following your adventures for quite a while now and as a much older person , I have felt for you through your hardships and smiled at your fun , it had been like a grandmother following her granddaughters life . I still look forward to stories of Portugal and future travels and maybe one day I will visit Portugal . It’s on my bucket list anyway .

    • October 19, 2016
      Reply

      Awww, thank you so much, Erica! That means a lot.

      I hope you do get to visit Portugal one day! It’s a wonderful country and I’d be happy to show you around Lisbon :-)

  22. Clare
    October 6, 2016
    Reply

    This is quite beautiful and so inspirational. I love your honesty – it took a great deal of bravery to write it. I recently embarked on a travel/personal growth journey and I already hate the instability and not having my people. Its definitely an amazing life to have, just travelling and living a life many only dream about. But it comes with a price. I also commend you on writing this post – good on you for getting your life back on track. Ultimately, you need to be happy and I am so happy you have found that again.

  23. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you for this, and sharing so openly. Reading this couldnt have come at a better time.

    I’m in northern India and Nepal, two years into my ‘endless forever travel lifestyle’ that I thought I wanted.

    While everyone marvels over my latest destination post or Instagram update, telling me how lucky I am for this wonderful life, I’m lying in a hostel bed trying to cry quietly and not wake up everyone in the dorm.

    I totally agree.. Travel is incredible and profound and the best thing I’ve ever done. But I’m definitely loosing my zest for it. I’m no longer in awe of the beautiful things I see, and I day dream about the stability of a home base instead.

    Thank you again for sharing this, it’s a wonderful post. I think it might be time for me to find a home soon too!

  24. Patricia Moreno
    October 7, 2016
    Reply

    I did exactly what you did a year ago, quit my job, sold everything I owned and went traveling with my husband. And the same thing happened to me… started having panic attacks and feeling really unhealthy. I lasted 14 months and I just wanted a place to call home so understand exactly what your going through. You have to do what is right for you and I’m so glad you have. Enjoy your new home and life!

    • October 19, 2016
      Reply

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear you experienced the same, Patricia. Thank you so much for your comment and kind words! :-)

  25. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    I am so glad to hear how good you are doing now!
    Travel is the best, but if you need a steady life to enjoy it, then that’s what you need to do.
    Everyone who loves you and follows you will understand.
    Take time for yourself and enjoy the stability!

    • October 7, 2016
      Reply

      That’s definitely what I need! It’s all about finding the right balance, and I finally feel like I have :-)

  26. Lilly C
    October 7, 2016
    Reply

    Even though I’ve been a follower of your blog for a long while now, I usually don’t leave comments nor respond. But this has got to be your BEST post yet!!! I love the soul-searching quality of your writing here… and I just want to say KUDOS for being authentic to yourself and to your community. Be kind to yourself.

    Even though travel is wonderful, it’s your reflections of how travels make YOU as a person that is worthy of writing and reading. A place is just a place. It’s how travel treats you… how your adventures transform you… THAT is worth writing about. And this article did just that!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • October 7, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you so much for the amazing comment, Lilly! It really does mean a lot to me :-)

  27. Sarah
    October 7, 2016
    Reply

    Great post! Im definitely a fan of slower travel.. About a month in one place works for us at the moment. Not been travelling as long as you have though and can definitely imagine the month creeping up to two.. three.. And so on the longer we travel ?

    • October 19, 2016
      Reply

      One month was a pretty good amount of time for us… but we rarely stuck to it long-term! We’d stay for a month in a few places and then travel like crazy for the next two months and end up exhausted. I wonder if I’d still be feeling the same as I do now if we hadn’t had those crazy travel periods in-between.

  28. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    I totally agree that a home base is comforting. I like traveling slowly and hope to live abroad again. I love having somewhere that’s mine to come back to. I also like filling it with fun things I find on my adventures!

    • October 7, 2016
      Reply

      Yes! It’s been so lovely to fill my new home with souvenirs from my travels. And it’s also nice to be able to head home and have more than three t-shirts to choose from, ha.

  29. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    I absolutely feel the same way and went through the same issues when we decided to settle down. I needed to much earlier but I couldn’t admit it to myself.

    I still struggle done days but like you said I’m still always exploring and traveling anyway.

    Thabnks for this post. Really open and helpful.

    • October 19, 2016
      Reply

      Yeah, same. I’d have had a much more enjoyable past couple of years if I’d found a base back then, but doing it this way has at least shown me that it’s *really* the right decision for me.

  30. Atanas
    October 7, 2016
    Reply

    Settling down and making side trips is still a nice option. Although it doesn’t allow you to soak up so deep in the local culture, as you mentioned – it’s good for both your health and business. I follow many travel bloggers and noticed sooner or later, everyone eventually settles down. Constant travel is exhausting, no doubt (I’ve made a 20-day rush trip across the States and, at the end, was tired and impatient to get back home; can’t imagine what it is like to travel for five full years).
    I think it can work well only if one makes it really slow – I mean, something like living for three months in Spain, then three months in Italy, three to six months in Brazil or Australia, etc.
    Thumbs up for your new lifestyle, Lauren.
    P. S. Sierra Leone sounds a little scary for a female traveler. I hope you’ll go there with Dave.

    • October 7, 2016
      Reply

      Honestly, I wasn’t diving deep into the culture when I was travelling full-time. I learn and see a lot more now that it’s not full-time because I don’t spend eight hours a day behind my laptop :-)

      Heading to Sierra Leone on my own, actually! I don’t need Dave to come with me to stay safe; I have plenty of solo travel experience :-)

  31. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    You go girl! I have never understood how people can travel full-time. For most of the reasons you mentioned above, I know I wouldn’t be able and wouldn’t even want to! I met people who were travelling full-time on my recent trip to South Korea, and they didn’t like it there at all; where I was full of wonder and enjoyment of the sights they told me actually what you wrote, that a waterfall is just a falling water and temples are everywhere in the world.

    What I like is travelling as much as I can with a full-time job and while writing about my travels. This means I can have a full retrospective of the trips. I can plan awesome next trips. And I can do it all from the comfort of my own home :) I’m not surprised by your post, I laude your ability to put your feelings into words so well, and I’m happy you’re doing something which makes you feel comfortable!

  32. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    What a wonderful post. I lingered over every word, allowing each one to mingle with my own memories of times when travel needed to be interrupted to pursue other needs. Your needs for a stable community of friends, and a base from which to pursue other interests resonated with me. All the best, Lauren, in your discovery of other paths and passions from your new home.

  33. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    I’m glad that you felt you could finally put this all out there! Writing this post must have been cathartic! Really good to hear that your health is back on track and that you are really loving having the home base. Although I’ve never traveled full time, I am not sure that I ever will.

    Psychologically, needing to stop makes total sense. So does losing your sense of wonder. Don’t ever feel bad about it; it is bound to happen!

  34. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    Thank you for this post Lauren. It really spoke to me. We’ve been travelling for a year now and I can totally identify with your points. I really thought long-term travel was for me but in reality I think a base and regular but shorter travel experiences would be better for me. Just got to work out a way of making it happen!

    • October 19, 2016
      Reply

      Yep, I was convinced for years that I’d be travelling for the rest of my life, but it just stopped working for me. A base a month-long trips or day trips has been really great for me so far. Who knows what the future holds, but it does feel like I’ve found the perfect balance for me right now! :-)

  35. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    This is so amazing! Thank you for sharing this. I am not there yet but I can totally relate to it and good that you realized what your happy space is and to claim it. Just because it is someone else’s dream doesn’t mean that it needs to be yours and that doesn’t make you ungrateful. And as you said, you can appreciate even the travel more now – so yay for stability, routine and a gym membership :)

    • October 7, 2016
      Reply

      Exactly! I’m travelling right now and it’s one of the best solo trips I’ve taken in years :-)

  36. October 7, 2016
    Reply

    Hi Lauren!

    I know this post is supposed to be about taking a break, but what I got out of it was that you vow to make a new post every day. That got me excited because I want to read them. I also had the thought that I should be inspired by you and to get working on my blog. Then I remembered the photos I want to upload are on my phone, which is all the way in the other room. So I am going to go ahead and spend the next few hours mindlessly hitting refresh on Facebook. Sigh.

    I am glad you found the right balance. I never thought you were a whiner, I always appreciated your honesty about mental exhaustion. I usually have one tear filled breakdown on every trip I take, so I understand what it is like. If going to be writing about traveling, you have every right to write about TRAVELING. Not just about the places, but the experiences.

  37. Linda
    October 8, 2016
    Reply

    Dear Lauren,
    My gypsy soul inspired me to start traveling internationally at age 15 and that was decades ago! I am glad I did it. In recent years I hit the road again after a cycle of stability that had begun to feel like a trap. I revisited places I loved like Paris as well as the last places on my bucket list like Thailand and Ecuador. My appetite for travel has finally been satiated late in life. Like yourself, I have finally grown tired of the adventure and it has begun to feel like work. The body and spirit spirit are weary of the road. Yes, I realize I sound like a spoiled brat to some people. But for those of us willing to live out our nomadic dreams, more power to us! And yes, amazingly, it does get old eventually! I am currently living in San Miguel de Allende, Mx, but miss the ocean. I found your blog while researching Riviera Maya. I miss the beach–but will ‘home’ be back to CA or Tulum? Any feedback welcome. Thanks for sharing the dirty little secrets of intrepid nomads…

  38. October 8, 2016
    Reply

    I’m so glad you’re feeling happier and healthier now that you’ve decided to stop full-time travel. We all change as time moves on, so it’s understandable that we don’t live the same type of lifestyle forever. My bf and I tried to make a similar move to Madrid this year and although it turned into an epic fail, we are now in Chiang Mai for the next 8 months and it feels great to have a home for a while. Like you, I now really relish short trips and planning future adventures, but I love balancing that with stability and routine.

  39. October 8, 2016
    Reply

    Like many other people here, I would like to thank you for writing this honest post. I’m tired of reading blog posts that encourage people to quit their jobs and travel. In fact, I often tell people that traveling full-time is not really for every one – and it’s not as fun as it sounds!

    Your first point really resonated with me. I love having at least a three-week gap before heading somewhere new. Like that, I’ll have time to catch up on work and blog posts, and I wouldn’t have to spend the next trip sitting at my laptop, trying to recall details from a previous trip.

    Living in Portugal sounds lovely, by the way!

  40. October 8, 2016
    Reply

    I think it’s only understandable that someone can get a bit “traveled” out after a while. While I sometimes dream about taking a longer backpacking trip around the world, I know that I would miss the constants and the sense of stability at a certain point. I’m glad you’re feeling happier now, and I really look forward to reading about Portugal. I’ve only been to Lisbon and the surrounding area, but I absolutely loved it!

    • October 14, 2016
      Reply

      Yeah. I’d always sworn it wouldn’t happen to me, but it turns out I wasn’t immune to it! Definitely so much happier now and enjoying the novelty of having a home again :-)

  41. October 8, 2016
    Reply

    This is exactly why I don’t want to travel full-time. Though my website isn’t anywhere near where I’d like it to be, I know that even if I could, I wouldn’t travel that much. My ideal would be to travel/live in a place for a month, take day trips and explore from there. But I need downtime desperately! I’m so glad you are listening to yourself and doing what you need to do!

    • June 3, 2017
      Reply

      That’s exactly it! Being a digital nomad is like the worst of both worlds: you can’t travel well, you can’t work well… you just continue to do both things badly for years at a time. I’m so much happier since moving to Lisbon.

  42. Good for your Lauren!
    I’m a new follower of probably about 2 or 3 months, but the reason that I follow you is not because of your never ending travels but rather, because of the way that you write!

    You’re hilarious! And you’re real, and have problems. Just like the rest of us. And that’s why I follow you.

    I also bought your book and believe me, I don’t buy books that bloggers write. Sorry guys! I’m an ex-Head Teacher, and I’m going to be starting a Phd next year, I don’t think that I’m going to spend my hard-earned money on crap! But your book was really good, quite British in it’s essence, and really funny.

    I like funny!

  43. October 9, 2016
    Reply

    It took me (and my wife) until we got married. We traveled solo, met on the road, married on the road and carried on like before. It was kind of a tough pill to swallow when we realized that after a few years of traveling and getting married, we weren’t totally fulfilled by this world that everyone seems to envy.

    For a while, we thought that we could get what we wanted with just a comfy desk and flat. We tried a few places in Southeast Asia, but what we really needed was to plant ourselves in one place (where we could stay longer than 30 or 90 days at a time), crack down on our businesses, get to know some people who could speak one of our languages and really grow into a community.

    Three months ago, we decided on Germany, and four weeks ago, we moved to Berlin (from Thailand). Now I’m writing the exact same article. Thanks for writing, my wife and I love your articles!

  44. October 9, 2016
    Reply

    I SO UNDERSTAND YOU! I have been traveling a lot since November 2013, but I have come to the conclusion that for every month of travel, I do need to stay at home for at least 2 months afterwards. I feel very much the same as you do: I need a base, a place where I am comfortable (my home in Sardinia) where I can concentrate on writing my posts. A place where I can work on the many changes on my site that I need to tackle (and the list keeps getting longer). I need to stay put in a place where I can eat healthy (I ear ya on the weight gain!) and exercise – I actually train in a pool, and I dare you finding a decent pool to train when on the road. There’s no pools in the developing countries I go to, and trust me I have looked and looked. Besides, I do need a real life – a life out of travel, where I can talk to my friends about things other than travel. Don’t get me wrong, I am still so so so happy whenever I have to leave for another adventure, but then I am also so happy when I get to sleep in my bed, pet my cats, see my family.

    Thank you for being REAL, girl!

    • October 20, 2016
      Reply

      Agree with absolutely all of that! :-) Thanks for sharing!

  45. October 11, 2016
    Reply

    I love this article Lauren! I don’t think you will loose your subscribers or readers. This is such a great read and I appreciate your honesty in your writing! I often wondered how sustainable of life of travel blogging would be. I myself moved a year ago to the UK from the US to join my fiance. We actually travel quite frequently and have each traveled well over 30 years. So I needed something to do with my spare time in this new land, so We started a travel blog website. It’s still taking shape and we will most likely never travel full time. With only four months into it, I already feel the pressure of keeping up with trying to design and build site while writing articles and keeping up with social media. It becomes a lot and that’s without traveling! I admire your courage to write this article! and Happy that you are happy and refreshed from not feeling well! I look forward to continuing with our site and to see how it goes, my biggest fear has been we don’t write about how to travel cheap or live a life of travel. we still work and have some home stability and always will.

  46. October 12, 2016
    Reply

    I love this post and hate it at the same time! I mean I love it cause you are so honest and I love how you share what I think about or have concerns over. I hate it also because you share what my girlfriend thinks and has major concerns over! She complains about not having a base, losing touch with her friends and everything you say happened. I just worry about losing my girlish figure because I cant travel a weekend without eating everything in sight!
    Thanks for sharing sincerely,
    I hope you don’t mind but I am afraid to show this to Darcee…my girlfriend cause I will never get her out of the house again! ha

    • October 12, 2016
      Reply

      Well, if it helps, it took around four years of travel before all of these things started to affect me — it’s definitely not something I experienced right away :-)

  47. ESI Money
    October 12, 2016
    Reply

    I’m loving this — how happy you sound.

    I’m thrilled for you!!!

    • October 14, 2016
      Reply

      Thank you! Honestly, I haven’t been this happy in years, so I know 100% I’ve made the right decision :-)

  48. rob
    October 26, 2016
    Reply

    This is a brave post, and really honest imo. I’ve rolled my eyes plenty (PLENTY) at some of your past posts but this one hits home for me and Asian temples. Once you’ve seen a couple, they are all the same. Sucks that happened for you and like, everything, but that’s when our wanderlust fizzles out. No shame in recharging the batteries. Good luck!

    • October 26, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks for the backhanded compliment!

  49. November 11, 2016
    Reply

    That was genuinely written and I stumbled upon your blog from Instagram. I can feel your passion for life. I’ve been traveling full-time with my dog globally to 33 countries. I’m not a blog wrtter haha ? Hobbies is what keeps me focused and being home in my heart has been important for myself. Having a Sense and Base is definitely needed. I’ve kept three homes going and pop in every once in awhile and continue to explore while building my brand and business. Maybe you’ll revisit and find your purpose. Sounds like you have and thank yuh for sharing. See you around on the trails of life. ?

  50. November 23, 2016
    Reply

    Sounds like you made the right decision for yourself. I don’t think having a home base makes you less of a traveler. Personally, I would rather work a lot when I am home and then focus on experiencing my destination while traveling rather than be holed up in my hotel doing hours of work.

    • November 24, 2016
      Reply

      That’s exactly it. (Some) people want me to keep travelling constantly, despite the fact that it was making me unwell, that I rarely had the time to explore, and that I ended up stressed and miserable! But yeah, after being in Lisbon for nine months and having a base to return to, I’m actually enjoying travelling again and actually seeing the places I’m visiting rather than spending the entire time on my laptop!

  51. Marissa
    March 31, 2017
    Reply

    About 2 months ago I lost the joy of travel. Nothing is interesting. Sounds sad. I’m in Vietnam again to renew my passport but I feel no pull from anywhere in the world to go. I feel like all the desperate people at ‘home’ working and living will be disappointed but my life is not about them. I am not sure where to go to stop either. Nothing seems good. But I think it’s over for now.

    • March 31, 2017
      Reply

      Ah, I’m sorry to hear that Marissa. If it helps, it’s now been a year since I stopped travelling full-time and I’ve rediscovered the joy of travel through having a base to return to between trips. It really is the best of both worlds and I highly recommend doing something similar, if you can. I travel better, work better, and live better after making the decision to stop.

  52. David
    June 22, 2017
    Reply

    I can certainly relate. Last year I travelled 250,000 miles. I hate it. The whole world seems glued to their cell phones that I felt like I was travelling through Zombie Land! When the fun is gone – it is time to stop.

    • June 22, 2017
      Reply

      Oh man, that’s definitely true! My boyfriend travelled before smartphones were around and gets extremely frustrated by all of the travellers staring at screens all day every day.

  53. Iris
    November 26, 2017
    Reply

    Thanks for this post! I’ve just started my digital nomad journey about half a year ago and feel most of the things you’ve listed already. I’m just a person who needs a sense of belonging, and the guarantees and constants that you mentioned.

    I was wondering, did you buy the flat in Lisbon and just rent it out when you’re traveling? Or do you rent and just sublet it? I’m working on a solution now and this would be helpful : )

    • November 26, 2017
      Reply

      I rented the flat, but didn’t sublet or Airbnb it out while I was away, just because it was easier. Sometimes we travel solo, usually we’re only away for a couple of weeks at a time, so it would have been annoying to find people who only wanted to stay for two specific weeks of the year, etc.

  54. April 23, 2018
    Reply

    About 4 months ago I lost the joy of travel. Nothing is interesting. Sounds sad. I’m in Switzerland again to renew my passport but I feel no pull from anywhere in the world to go. I feel like all the desperate people at ‘home’ working and living will be disappointed but my life is not about them

    • April 26, 2018
      Reply

      My suggestion is to stop. After writing this blog post, I moved to Lisbon for 18 months and gradually found my love of travel once more. As I write this, I’m at the end of a six month trip around the world! It took stopping for me to realise how great travel can be.

  55. September 9, 2018
    Reply

    This is a great blog post. As a person who travels full time (for three years now!) I totally get it.
    Every point I was nodding along. yup. Fatigue. Health. Burn out.

    I’m almost there. But we are trying to avoid it by house sitting and working, but it’s still not enough.

    We crave the mundane. Going to Ikea? YES!!!!

    It’s the little things.

    Thanks for writing this post. :)

    • September 15, 2018
      Reply

      Yeah. It’s so tough to stop when travel is such a huge part of your identity, but it seems to happen to most full=time travellers eventually. I’m much happier travelling 25% of the time and having a home base 75% of the time — I feel like I get the best of both worlds and I no longer feel jaded by travel.

  56. Mark
    January 5, 2019
    Reply

    I travelled full time for 8.5 years and it was enough. I went to 70 countries and now it’s time to do something different. Life is beautiful for what it is. Not for what you choose.

    • January 7, 2019
      Reply

      Glad to hear from somebody who can relate :-) I still travel, but it’s much less frequently now, and I’m happier and healthier because of it.

  57. Dan
    February 2, 2020
    Reply

    Wow I can relate to this so much. I was travelling for around 2 years but instead of “digital nomad style” I used a working holiday visa to find random work (which gives you a routine but even less constants). After 2 years I experienced exactly what you wrote. Lost my sense of community and my sense of wonder. I was craving stability and the familiar. Being on an expensive scuba diving live aboard in Thailand and “not really enjoying it” was where I called it quits.
    I am back home now and probably need for find a regular job again, which makes me quite depressed. I wish I could have something like you where you can travel for 6 months/year, that would be a perfect balance for now! I still have a big urge to travel and have adventures, but also need some stability and a base.

  58. Saloni Gupta
    August 8, 2020
    Reply

    Loved this! thanks for sharing your beautiful experience

  59. Dana
    August 20, 2021
    Reply

    I have a very close friend I love dearly who just embarked on this same road and they are exhibiting all of these signs already. Distancing from friends and family, working all the time, isolation, and feeling sickly. I want to warn them of the exact things you describe, and what I see from the outside, but they are extremely difficult to give any feedback to and usually take any suggestions as a personal attack.

    They tend to go overboard on every thing they commit to, and this is no exception…I just don’t know what to do

  60. Rune
    August 23, 2021
    Reply

    This is what i needed so much. I have been traveling full time since 2016. It has been year since i realized all of these you mentioned above. I was wondering whether i should go home or i should go to Africa for volunteering for some short period of time and go somewhere else again.. The saddest part is that i lost my sense of wonder. I miss that young man who was curious and excited about the world, people and the culture.
    I am about to book my plane ticket rn. Going back home in a week or two. Thanks so much! Peace!

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