The Curse of the Traveler?
Read about this on Reddit the other day and was very intrigued at the concept.
The more places you see, the more things you see that appeal to you, but no one place has them all.
In fact, each place has a smaller and smaller percentage of the things you love, the more things you see. It drives you, even subconsciously, to keep looking, for a place not that’s perfect (we all know there’s no Shangri-La), but just for a place that’s “just right for you.” But the curse is that the odds of finding “just right” get smaller, not larger, the more you experience. So you keep looking even more, but it always gets worse the more you see. This is Part A of the Curse.
Part B is relationships. The more you travel, the more numerous and profoundly varied the relationships you will have.
But the more people you meet, the more diffused your time is with any of them. Since all these people can’t travel with you, it becomes more and more difficult to cultivate long term relationships the more you travel.
Yet you keep traveling, and keep meeting amazing people, so it feels fulfilling, but eventually, you miss them all, and many have all but forgotten who you are. And then you make up for it by staying put somewhere long enough to develop roots and cultivate stronger relationships, but these people will never know what you know or see what you’ve seen, and you will always feel a tinge of loneliness, and you will want to tell your stories just a little bit more than they will want to hear them.
The reason this is part of the Curse is that it gets worse the more you travel, yet travel seems to be a cure for a while.
None of this is to suggest that one should ever reduce travel. It’s just a warning to young Travelers, to expect, as part of the price, a rich life tinged with a bit of sadness and loneliness, and angst that’s like the same nostalgia everyone feels for special parts of their past, except multiplied by a thousand.
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Spread love everywhere you go! Forget who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done; it doesn’t matter. It’s about the love you leave with the people you meet. Even if they forget your name, they’ll remember somewhere deep inside of their being, that one drifter who let their light shine and positively impacted their reality. Be excited to be a traveler planting those seeds of delight all around the globe!
@breathe, I’m about to embark on a big trip, and this made me think quite a bit. I’ve moved around a lot and I can already feel a sense of what you’re describing, like a slight disconnect with where you are and a longing to hit the road.
Suppose I’ll know more about it in a few months.
@cognizantelephant, But do you think it is inevitable to fall into these negative states when you travel a lot like the so called “curse” indicates?
@nirvanablue, I love the ideology and agree with it but do you think you can help not having some of those longing feelings and angst that the curse idea talks about?
I can relate to the relationships thing there, having grown up on the road… or… water… way? Anyway, never really had friends around for long enough to cultivate them strong relationships except with my sister. It’s not the same to have friends you don’t have a history with.
But no problem with the living situation, it’s too tough to own land these days, so I’ll probably end up living in a gutter somewhere in Bangkok. Kidding. But I don’t consider the location of where I’ll possibly settle down to be a big deal. I won’t settle down. I’m just typing this shit, who knows what the future holds.
When ever you talk about desiring a place thats just right for you. It’s only a desire, something we shouldn’t focus and try to remove our thoughts from. No matter where you find yourself in the journey near or far your right here right now. Truly focus on this experience and you may just find that place that is just right for you. Because it truly isnt in the destination, it’s your way of travel that leads to the fulfillment you seek.
Thought provoking post. Inevitably there are periods of loneliness associated with a lot of traveling but the purpose of traveling is to explore new places not necessarily to establish relationships; though relationships may be a consequence. Therefore I think that the desire to explore the unseen motivates travelers to overcome loneliness and to travel on and meet new people; loneliness is but a mild side effect. And with the advent of modern forms of communication I wonder how lonely we can get? Great post though!
@breathe, I think it is inevitable to witness these states, but to completely submerge oneself -to the point of actually feeling and believing these things to be true – into them is a decision, whether it was made knowingly or not depends upon the person.
Even if the person becomes seduced by this and feels that there is such a real negative force, it is still a worthwhile experience. The end result is that you learn something about how you behaved accordingly to a matter, which is an extremely detailed indicator of you and your current ability to handle internal matters.
The curse idea definitely comes from some view that there is nothing that can be done to solve the problem, when in the fact the problem does not exist at all, and the person is blocked from moving forward due to having that internal debate all together. With a little clarification of thoughts, the person can then move forward.