Riding The Emotional Lows: The Other Side Of Travel

Montanita Surfing

Let me let you in on a secret. Travel ain’t always all sunshine and rainbows. People are always telling me how lucky I am. How my life sounds so exciting. How they’re jealous. How they wish they could be doing what I’m doing. Well first of all, I believe that anyone can be doing what I’m doing right now, if that’s what they truly want.

And second, I am grateful for the lifestyle that I have created and I absolutely love traveling, but I’d be lying if I said that every day on the road is like a fairy tail. I think that this is a big misconception. For anyone out there who believes that traveling the world is an adventure solely full of highs, and completely free of lows, well that’s just not true (At least not for me).

When I travel, I feel the low times just like everyone else. If anything, I find that long term travel, similar to entrepreneurship, increases the spectrum of emotions that we experience. It can be quite the roller coaster at times. Everything becomes amplified. The highs may be higher and more abundant, but the same can be said of the lows.

The Other Side Of Travel

The pressure to meet people and be social, even when I’m exhausted, in order to avoid spending the day alone; building relationships and making new friends, only to say goodbye a few days later (Knowing that we’ll probably never see each other again).

Skyping with close friends and family and hearing about all the exciting things they are doing back home, but being unable to be a part of them; staying in hostels and getting woken up in the middle of the night by loud, drunk roommates; long, lonely bus rides; always being on the go, wanting to see it all and rarely settling in a spot long enough to call it home. These things take a toll.

Travel allows me to live at my edge and push my comfort zone on a daily basis. Living this way, in general, typically results in more excitement, fun and joy, but also an increase in uncertainty, fear and occasionally, loneliness. Travel allows me to better understand my strengths, but also brings me face to face with my insecurities and weaknesses.

“It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The fact is that unless we completely close ourselves off (Which I did for much of my life), we will all experience the ebb and flow of emotional highs and lows. It doesn’t matter if we’re at home working a 9-5 or if we’re off traveling the world. And it doesn’t end after we’ve built the business of our dreams or find the woman/man of our dreams. There is no end. The lows do not stop.

As unpleasant as it can feel during the times that I am actually experiencing these lows, I’ve learned to not only accept them, but to embrace them. In my previous post, I wrote about the time I spent in the beach town of Montanita. This post talked about spending time on the beach, diving, surfing, and catching up with old friends. All fun stuff, right? However, the truth is, I was experiencing one of these lows at that time. And when I say low, I really mean it.

Looking back, I believe this was caused by a combination of several things that were going on in my life at that time. My Dad had just left to return home and I was now traveling “alone” again. I’d been talking to some of my close friends, which made me miss home. I was feeling frustrated with my dating/love life. I didn’t feel like I connected with the guys I was hanging out with. I was feeling unproductive, lying around on the beach all day. And one of my biggest investments was completely tanking.

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” – Tony Robbins

The combination of all of these things, led to a few pretty rough days. However, looking back, this low time in my life, is one of the best things that happened to me this year. It was a wake up call. I was drifting away from my vision and this gave me the motivation to put myself back on course. It inspired me to make changes in my day to day life.

It was in this dark time that I committed to my vision once again. I started exercising, meditating and reading personal development books every day. I started going on more dates. I started reaching out to skype with my close friends and family more often. I started to put more focus on this blog.

And now, 3 months later, I feel like I am more committed to my vision and my life is more balanced than it’s ever been before. I still have my good days and my bad days. I have been through several more low times since those days in Montanita, but those have been the times that have continued to keep me on track.

“Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life” – Unknown

This was definitely a turning point in my growth and development, this year. And thinking back, I find that it’s always been the low times that have propelled me forward to reach the high points of my life. I wrote a post called Finding Gratitude In Our Flaws, where I talk about how I’ve learned to appreciate the toughest times of my life.

I’ve learned that negative emotions are just signals, telling us that we may want to make some adjustments to our lives. So next time you experience a low in your life, why not stop and ask yourself, “What is this emotion trying to tell me.” Maybe it’s time to make some changes. Or not? That’s up to you.

As I said, the highs and lows of life will be with us until the day we die. The lows will always be there, so we might as well make the most of them.

“Sometimes you’re on top of the world, stay humble. Sometimes you’ve hit a low, stay hopeful.” – Unknown

Back To The Beach: Montanita
Quito: My Home Away From Home

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