10 Ways Long-Term Travel Ruins Your Life

Travelling the world is an enriching and life-altering experience in so many positive ways. Personally, I am more independent, tolerant, open-minded and spontaneous as a direct result of long-term travel. But it’s not all sunshine and roses, kids. I’ve discovered more and more in the years following my big round the world trip that I’ve also acquired some less-than-desirable after-affects from my backpacking days.

1. I like change a little too much

Waitressing in Brisbane

Long-term travel taught me to embrace change. It kind of has to when you’re moving cities all the time, or at least hostel rooms. But I’ve embraced it a little too much. Since then, when I’ve gotten bored of my job, I’ve just gone ahead and found a new one. Because that was totally okay when I was bumming around Australia, right? It’s not so much when you’re 28 and your CV is 5 pages long. #FlightRisk

2. I care more about annual leave days than salary when looking for a new job


This is mental isn’t it? But it’s totally my life. Scrolling through LinkedIn jobs: great role, cool office, fab location, nice people, wait… 20 days holiday? GTFO.

3. My life plan is completely fucked


My life plan before I went travelling: Graduate from uni, go travelling, move to London, have a fabulous fashion job, get married, have kids, job done.

My life plan after I went travelling: Graduate from uni, go travelling, move to Milton Keynes so I can afford more travel, try multiple careers for a laugh, contemplate career break, act like I’m still a student, refuse to get married or have kids any time soon because I still haven’t travelled South America.

4. Clutter. Everywhere.

Southeast Asia Souvenirs

My house is now filled with photo frames, ethnic artwork, tacky snow globes, a foam finger, a giant map, travel coffee table books, embroidered cushions, buddha statues and every other kind of tat you find in a touristy gift shop. Basically, I’ve given up any chance of my house looking like Pinterest.

5. I refuse to pay for spa treatments ever again

Massage Time, Bangkok


When you have £3 pedicures every week for an extended period of time, how can you justify UK prices for a toe polish? And don’t get me started on massages. £150 and you won’t even crack my neck? Someone get me back to Thailand pronto.

6. I share way too much with new friends

Amsterdam besties

I used to be totally okay with having casual friends that you just met up with for a coffee now and then and chit-chatted. But once you’ve formed deep and meaningful friendships on your travels and it becomes totally normal to talk about childhood trauma and detailed accounts of your sex lives with people you’ve just met, it’s hard to go back to superficial relationships. So yeah, if I meet you and think you’re cool, I’m going to tell you about my latest visit to the gynaecologists as well as my views on starsigns. Enjoy.

7. The bar has been raised on good nights out and it’s damn hard to hit it

Scooby Doo Fancy Dress

Sometimes I just think, maybe I’ve had too much fun? Because how can I be content with a night out at Wetherspoons when I’ve been tubing in Vang Vieng? I realise it’s the people you’re with and not the location that really affects the success of a night out and I’d much rather be partying in MK with my bestie than in Laos alone, but you know what I mean. The giddy joy of dancing to Arctic Monkeys in the sunshine, by the river with a bucket of rum, covered in paint, is unrivalled. (Although this Scooby Doo night out was a close contender.)

8. I’m officially scared of life commitments

Via Garibaldi, Genoa

When returning from travelling I was initially stressed out about signing a 6 month lease and a 2 year phone contract. It feels like a lot of commitment when you’ve experienced the carefree nature of doing whatever the fuck you want everyday and not being tied down to anything. But I’ve had to ween myself slowly into life commitments, just so I can be a fully functioning member of society, and I’m making progress. Last month I signed a 4 year contract on a car lease. Oh god, just typing that made me feel sick. What if I want to move to Barcelona next year?! What if I want to do an expedition to the North Pole or something?! HELP.

9.  I’m selfish now

Not Afternoon Tea at OXO Tower, London

I don’t think I’m selfish in a mean way. But whilst I was travelling, I learnt to put myself first. In all situations. And quite frankly, just to do whatever the hell I wanted. And that’s where I am right now, doing what I want, changing my situation if I don’t like it, not going to a social event if I’d rather stay in my pjs with Netflix, not feeling obliged to accept a friend request just to be polite. I do what I want, folks.

10. I’m a total food snob

Spaghetti Pomodoro in Riomaggiore

I’m basically just a dick. I’m a total honest-to-god foodie, but Zizzi’s just ain’t cutting it after the pasta of Florence, Italy. Wagamama’s Pad Thai will never compare with the £1 street vendor version on Khao San Road, Bangkok and currywurst isn’t good anywhere but Berlin, Germany. What can I say, the heart stomach wants what it wants.

Okay, there you have it – 10 ways long-term travel has actually ruined my life. Okay fine, ruined was a little harsh, I’m still loving life and all that. But I’m just a free-spirited, commitment-phobic, flakey, food-snob, obsessed with travel now. There’s worse things I could be I guess.

Tell me what you think of this post guys, I love feedback. Has travel ruined your life in any way? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!

7 thoughts on “10 Ways Long-Term Travel Ruins Your Life

  • 20th April 2016 at 9:36 pm

    You just made me laugh so hard. This is awesome. I´m just at the beginning of this, but I can already identify with some of the points (number 3 and 6 for instance). Should check back on this after my long term backpacking trip, starting in August. So exited.

      • 21st April 2016 at 9:34 pm

        New Zealand and if everything works out like planned straight from there to South America next year 🙂 It´s my first time backpacking, since so far I´ve just lived abroad as an Au Pair (I´m in Madrid right now). But I am so exited for this adventure. It´s going to be a challenge I´m really lookign forward to

  • 4th May 2016 at 2:02 pm

    My friend just sent me this and I literally just read my life story. Every. Single. One. Even down to the ‘South America’ detail of number 3. The only difference is I made travelling a full-time thing and moved to China. Is it too number 6 of me to say we’re soul mates?

    • Kara // Heels In My Backpack
      4th May 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Hahahaha that made me laugh! Hey soulmate! I think that’s the way forward, just keep travelling. What are you up to in China? I’ve semi-cured my lack-of-travel issues with this blog so I get to travel more than I would have. But it’s just never enough. The struggle is real.


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