When you decide to travel, move, or embark upon any adventure that removes you from your home for an extended period of time, you have decided to sacrifice. Just as you go to far off places, new smiling faces, and untold wonders, so too do you leave much behind. The weight of this bears lightly on your shoulders, when sitting at home, preparing, planning, and thinking. Time and movement catch up with you, however, and you will in time feel the weight of this change, this loss.
The travelers curse. You see, the traveler’s curse is an experience in relativity. You roam the world leaving home far behind, and in the meantime, home, seemingly stagnant in your mind, preserved as a picture of what it was, has plans of its own; Time continues there as it does for you, yet it continues markedly without you. If you travel long enough your friends will take on careers, possessions and relationships (and though these may not be important to you, they will affect the interaction with your friends), your parents and siblings will age, birthdays will be celebrated, anniversaries marked, events planned, and outings taken. You will be a part of none of these, and they will continue on without you. You’ll return home to find that home wasn’t left in a vacuum, it continued to evolve. It can be a strange world to reintegrate back into, in particular when you’ve experienced this enormous, wonderful thing, that likely few wish to hear about in depth, if you’re able to convey the grandeur of it in the first place.
Leave all notions of stability, too, when you leave home. You’ll sleep in different beds every night, rarely knowing where you’ll rest your head next, the people you meet will just as soon say goodbye, the food you eat will always be unfamiliar, no familiar faces will greet you through your days, no words with a friend with whom you share a past with will occur. Your surroundings will constantly be strange, your language at varying degrees of uselessness, and your body incurring all manner of new and wonderful bites, itches, rashes, fevers, and other ailments yet unforeseen.
Even the strongest relationships will likely suffer. Communication over vast distances is difficult, and deprives both partners of the physical and visual cues necessary to maintain clear, accurate, and intimate communication. Imagine for a moment if you will your partner reduced to a pixelated version of themselves on an LCD screen, if you’re lucky enough to have video available, or text, if you’re not. Imagine talking to them far less often. Imagine them slowly drifting away. Not a pleasant reality? Then you have a choice to make. But in either case, your relationship will change. And I have bad news if you non-monogamous bunch think you’re immune to this, because while you’re away, you become less and less an active participant in the relationship, and more a spectator, and this hinders communication and security in a way that’s difficult to imagine, while removed from it. There is no physical or intimate contact and comfort to be had. Not in any kind of a relationship? I’m afraid to say you’re not immune either. Just as you meet, and leave new friends on the road, so too do the temporary lovers fade. It takes its toll.
Your world, as you presently know it, will change. There is nothing you can do to stop it, curtail it, prevent it, or modify it. It will go on without you, and will evolve accordingly. And so too will you change, likely for the better, but do take note of yourself, because there are no guarantees. This may seem like a terribly pessimistic post. It isn’t meant to be. Instead it’s mean to be a realistic glimpse into the less pleasant side of such a pleasant activity. These are things that nearly anyone that travels, or takes risk that lead them far from the comforts of their home must face. It comes with the territory. You decide if it’s worth that first step out the door. I would argue that it is, because as much as there is to be lost, so too there is much to be gained.