Traveling is awesome. Everyone knows that. You meet new people, see new places, experience new things. But let's face it, sometimes, every now and then, you just wanna pack up your shit and go home, you might be feeling homesick, you miss your friends, your family, even your job sometimes (maybe just a little), you're broke, nothing's going your way, you're sick of all the packing up and constant farewells.
Yeah, it happens. But you know what? Buck it up. Change what you're doing, change your plans, go somewhere weird, but don't go home yet. Here's some reasons why:
1. Bad shit makes for good stories
So you missed your bus because the guy at the corner store gave you bad directions, you're trekking across some god-forsaken border in the middle of the jungle and you just know the guy behind you is eyeing up your camera; it starts to rain, you're slodging through the ankle-deep mud, your shoe breaks, you give it up as a lost cause and trek barefoot the rest of the way... then the border control guy doesn't like the look of your 'travel beard' and tries to rip you off, and the bank has gone ahead and blocked your credit card for 'suspicious activity' because you tried to get money out of a foreign ATM... even though you've been doing exactly that for the last four months.
So shit happens. Every traveler knows it. Except those annoying ones you meet who always boast that 'everything's just gone so, so smoothly'. And, well, it'll get them sooner or later too.
Sometimes it might feel like the best option is to jump straight on the next plane to your Mum's place and cry on her shoulder "I promise I'll never leave home again!"
But just hold off buying that ticket for one more minute. What you may not realise yet is that epic failure of a day is going to give you unbelievable street cred. I mean, yeah, sure, all those lovely stories about the beautiful places you went and things you did are nice, but what people really wanna hear is how your bus broke down on some desert road and you had to hitch a ride across state with a traveling band of musicians/gypsys/circus freaks.
It makes you sound cool, makes your stories more interesting, and hey, might even make you a bit more relaxed. Silver linings? I think so.
2. It's cheaper than you think
I always used to get asked by people how I could afford to travel for so long - usually by the people staying in the flash resort up the road, ordering lobsters and knocking back margheritas.
Some people get this idea that people who travel for months or even years on end must be rolling in dispensable cashmoney. It's those same people who put off going traveling for years and years because they 'just can't afford it'. Funnily enough, those real 'long-term' travelers are almost never the ones with six figure salaries or a fat inheritance, they're just the ones who have learnt to travel smarter.
There's always a way to get shit for free if you're cheeky enough. I met a girl hitch-hiking from Mexico to Panama, setting up her tent wherever she saw fit, sleeping in fire stations if she couldn't find a good spot to set up camp. Another who's now hula-hooping her way around South America. Find your talent and work it. Whether you can play the guitar, make jewelery, take photos, build websites, write stories... there's always someone out there who'll give you a free night, a free trip or even just a couple of bucks for your troubles. There's never any harm in asking.
3. It makes you more awesome
It's true. Simple as that. When you finally do decide to pack it up and head home, you will be infinitely more awesome than when you left. You'll be more chilled, more fun, more social, be full of sweet stories and infinite worldly wisdom.
Not convinced? Check out why travel makes you awesome. It's on the internet. It must be true.
And get this, the longer you travel for, the longer you'll have to become more awesome. Cool huh?
4. Absence makes the heart grow fonder
So you've seen all the photos of your mates partying on facebook, you're constantly getting invited to events back home (sure Anna, I'll just pop across a couple oceans for your birthday drinks, no worries), your nephews or cousins are growing up etc etc etc.
Sometimes it can seem like everyone back home is having the time of their lives and you're missing out on everything. Maybe you miss the stability, the familiarity, just being in a place where you know everything and everything and shit is easy.
Newsflash: the grass is a whole lot greener on the other side of the world.
As jealous as you might be of the people who can just dash round the corner and visit their best friend or their Mum, you can guarantee they're ten times more jealous of you, you international jet-setter you. Like that 'one-who-got-away' ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, it can be pretty easy to forget about all the crappy parts of home and just focus on the good stuff.
But you know what? Your friends, family, dog, anything else you might be missing, they'll still be there when you get back, and will most likely be exactly the same whether you go home now or in six months - except maybe missing you a little more.