Guest Post: The Emotions of Prepping for Long Term Travel

This is a guest post from travel writer Ashley Hubbard of A Southern Gypsy. This week we’ve partnered with Ashley to bring you a two part series all about the emotions of travel. As Ashley prepares for long term travel see how she’s embracing the change in comparison to the feelings Travis and I have surrounding our return from backpacking through Europe. You can find our post  on Ashley’s website here.

As I have just surpassed the halfway point between when I made the decision that will forever change my life and actually leaving because of that decision, the reality sets in more and more that I will be leaving in just six short months.  I’ve found that I’m overwhelmed with so many different emotions – both positive and negative.  While I can’t wait to board a plane carrying the only things I own with no specific plans, I would be lying – and I think anyone would be – if I said I wasn’t nervous.  I can’t say that these feelings haven’t affected me in many different ways as well.

Not new to travel, here's Ashley exploring Vatican City

Not new to travel, here’s Ashley exploring Vatican City

In the past eight months, besides the basic functions that humans have to partake in such as eating, bathing, sleeping and unfortunately, working, I’ve done nothing but immerse myself into the travel mindset.  I’ve gorged myself on fellow travel bloggers’ stories, hundreds upon hundreds of photographs of gorgeous places I’ve yet to see but will soon, tips on leaving my life behind, packing said life into one small backpack, and somehow making it all work long term.

When I first started planning my long term travel endeavors last September, it was an almost surreal feeling.  I knew without a doubt that I was going through with it, but it was so far off – 14 months to be exact – and it felt like it was in the very distant future.  While I started the process early, I felt like I had before I was leaving.  I felt like I had plenty of time to get things done.  Fast forward eight months – hello! and goodbye! halfway point – and I don’t know where the hell the past eight months have gone.

Strolling the charming streets of Devon, England

Strolling the charming streets of Devon, England

Like I said, I jumped the gun a little bit though.  I did things a tad backwards from what others in the same situation have done.  I sold almost all of my belongings in the beginning since I was moving out of my apartment and into my mom’s house.  With that came a whole hell of a lot of stress.  Selling everything you own without getting ripped off – all within a month, moving, working full time and starting a blog is no simple task.  Luckily, with having to be out of my apartment, that stress couldn’t really last long.  I kept telling myself that no matter how exhausted and stressed I was, it could only last two more weeks, or one more week, or one more day.  Tip: I highly suggest not doing all that alone if you don’t need to – both mentally and physically, it’s exhausting.

As the year and a half turns into less than a year and then into months and slowly into weeks and days – 187 but who’s counting – the emotions turn from surrealistic and stress to ones of realization, anticipation and a little bit of fear mixed in.

At the Colosseum in Rome

At the Colosseum in Rome

The realization that this is actually happening is constant lately.  I’m not just dreaming of a different life, of escaping the smothering, monotonous day-to-day life that I’ve grown to loathe, of finally doing what I love – traveling and sharing those travels with everyone – I’m actually doing it.  There’s still that bit of denial and surrealism lurking behind the shadows, and I don’t know if that will ever go away and I’m not quite sure that I would want it to go away.  As that realization sets in, so does the feeling of extreme anticipation.

I have this problem of keeping myself grounded.  When I know of something very exciting happening, I tend to obsess.  A lot.  If you look in my bag that I carry around with me, it has Lonely Planet’s Southeast Asia on a Shoestring and a legal pad with a plethora of notes scribbled on pages of things to do and when to do them.  To say I’m excited is an understatement.  I’m not quite sure if this helps my day to day attitude.  The more anticipation I feel, the more antsy I feel and wonder how I’m going to be able to wait another six months.  But, having something to look forward to also helps me not throw my computer through the window at work at times as well.  I’ll call it a draw for now

Venice Italy on a sunny day

Venice Italy on a sunny day


Of all these emotions though, there is the dreaded one but also the one that solidifies for me that I’m making the right decision – fear.  The fear of the unknown.  Not knowing what to expect. Not knowing if I can be successful.  The fear of having to come home before I’m ready to.  This fear is what drives me.  It’s what pushes me to keep working even when I feel like I can’t anymore.  It pushes me to keep going even when I don’t feel like I have a support system backing me up.  It pushes me to do everything absolutely possible in my power to better myself so that if it doesn’t work out, I can’t regret having not done something differently.  The fear may scare me, but it’s also comforting in a way.

Want to know more about Ashley and get all the details on her upcoming trip? Check out her blog, A Southern Gypsy. It’s full of inspiration and helpful tips for anyone wanting to make a change and adopt a travel-based lifestyle. For more inspiration Ashley can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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