We’ve all been there. You’ve come back home from one of your fantastic adventures and you can’t wait to share the details. You’ve already organized the photos you want to put on Facebook. You’ve picked out gifts for loved ones and you can’t wait to elaborate on your stories about the time you spent away. However, when you sit down with your friends over a cup of coffee, you find that they don’t want to hear about it.
Returning from a long journey like an extensive backpacking trip or living abroad as an expat can be a challenge to begin with. But you may find that you’re unexpectedly alone after returning to a place you love. The first time I returned from Venice to Montana, I was expecting to tell all my friends the stories I had accumulated during my time abroad. What I came to find was that very few people actually cared. Not that they didn’t care about me and whether or not that I had a good time, but few cared about the details or wanted to hear my experiences.
It took a few more trips for me to realize how personal travel really is. Even when you’ve made the decision to embark on an adventure with a traveling companion or two, you’re not going to have the same experience as they have had overall. There’s a reason travel encourages us to grow as individuals—each experience is unique to the traveler. Learning to recognize that your experiences are yours and yours alone and to enjoy them as your unique moments can make a huge difference in how you see future trips.
Although there might not always be someone who wants to hear about your adventures, it doesn’t really matter. Traveling should be an individual experience that should affect you most of all. Learning to travel for my own personal growth rather than seeing it conversation-starter has taught me a lot about myself as a person. It’s taught me that it’s okay to do things for myself and to enjoy experiences because I want to rather than in order to share them with other people.
What are the reasons you travel? Do you choose to travel alone on purpose in order to create memories for yourself? Do you disagree?