Coping with travel guilt
Well first things first I’m sorry that I’ve been gone for about a month, after posting weekly for the first few weeks of my blog’s young life. Incidentally the reason for my absence brings me to the topic of this post: travel guilt.
Towards the end of November, I received some bad news from home. Conor and I had been shopping for Christmas decorations that day and I planned to put them up that evening whilst he was at work, so that he could come home to a lovely Christmassy apartment. Job number one: assembling the fake Christmas tree. I had just finished that when I sat down to cool down (it’s so hot here in the tropics even at night). I checked my phone and saw a message from my dad – I opened it to learn that my Grandma had passed away. I was so upset, bursting into tears and collapsing onto the floor. My sadness was also laced with something more unexpected – an overwhelming feeling of guilt.
Last year my Grandma had a minor heart attack – nothing too serious but I made me worry, and I had originally planned to go home earlier this year for a month. Seeing my grandparents was a top priority for my time in England, with the niggling thought it my head that it may be the last time I saw them. However we realised that it was possible to extend our Australian visa, but it would mean that I couldn’t go home this year. So I didn’t go. I will go next year instead as I have two weddings to attend. This is where the guilt comes in – I left for over two years and didn’t come back to see my Grandma one last time.
I’m not alone – many travellers feel guilty as they hear news of close friends getting engaged or pregnant. They miss weddings, funerals, and more. It’s often not possible to get home for every event, and that’s a burden that travellers must bear, usually paired with guilt.
Many travellers feel travel guilt when they see friends at home buying houses, getting married, having children and moving up their careers, and wonder if they should be doing the same thing. We often worry that we should be spending our money on houses not plane tickets, and working in an office not a hostel.
One thing that helped me to cope with my guilt, was my auntie telling me to keep having adventures, because my Grandma would be so happy to know that I am enjoying life. I remember that my Grandma was excited for me to have this adventure, and I have to remember that she wouldn’t want me to put my plans on hold and live a different life for her sake.
I like to think about when I’m old – what would I regret? Never buying a house, or having a high-flying career? Possibly. But I know for sure that if I didn’t travel I would always regret that. At the end of the day I’d rather spend my money on experiences that material goods, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Those close to us should be happy for us that we’re living the life we love, rather than one that makes us miserable, dreaming of what could have been.
Travel enriches your life and makes you more of a well-rounded person. You deserve to travel if it’s what you want to do. At the end of the day, I love my life at the moment (for the most part). We shouldn’t let travel guilt taint our wonderful adventures as we explore the world.
What are your thought on travel guilt? Have you ever experienced it? Let me know.
Now that I’m back, you can look forward to seeing a post on what I’ve been up to in the meantime (staying on a friend’s private beach. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t all as dreamy as it sounds), and some end of year/ Christmas related posts in the very near future. Until next time 😘