Yes, travel envy is a thing! And t gets hold of us no matter how often we travel. In this post, some simple steps to overcome it from home.
It’s been raining non-stop for over 24 hours. The sky is a solid grey, the roads a patchwork of wet asphalt and puddles. The grass in the garden is a soggy, albeit very green, carpet with splashes of yellow autumn leaves.
In stark contrast with this Irish autumnal landscape, my computer screen is an extravaganza of nuances of blue and whites.
I am looking at entries by my travel blogger friends, reporting from the other side of the world, and while I wrap up in one more woolly jumper, I take in the white sandy beaches and the crystal clear waters they are tipping their toes in.
There is no doubt: I can’t help but feeling a bit depresses. I want to be on a beach too! I want to be on a beach, with infinite time, infinite money, infinite energy and no worries.
Because no matter what they are actually writing about their time away: in my photo inspired daze all I see is this – they are in a tropical paradise and I am not.
This feeling has a name: travel envy, and since I am not going to a tropical paradise anytime soon, I decided I better find a way to get rid of it quickly.
The way I found is a mix of realism and planning and it seem to be working: I‘m turning envy into inspiration.
Travel envy: how to fight back!
Take a reality check
First, take a reality check and remember: there is more to life than travel!
I think sometimes travel becomes an obsession and photos shared on social media make us think that, unless we are discovering some faraway land, our life is boring and empty.
This is nonsense!
Travel is fun, but so is seeing your friends, playing with your kids. Travel can teach you things but so does engaging with your community, getting involved with local projects, helping friends or being there for your family.
Travel photographs well but this doesn’t mean less photogenic things are less interesting or less worthy of your time. Taking care of your kids, studying,staying with friends, engaging with others: travel dream should add to these pleasures, not kill them!
Travel should add to your life, not take away the pleasure from your daily accomplishments.
Think of home as a destination
Travel should inspire awe for the world, and this should include home.
One of the many things I hope my kids will learn from travelling is an appreciation for our wonderful, amazing world.
But our wonderful, amazing world is not only far away: if we let travel envy take hold of us, I worry we might pass onto our kids the sense that home is just not good enough and this is the exact opposite of what travel, I believe, should inspire.
When travel envy hits, I remind myself ‘My local is someone else’s exotic, let’s try to look at it with their eyes’.
Look at the photo below: this is what I overlook when dreaming of a faraway place…. why do I have travel envy when I can get to a place such as this one with a 30 minute drive?
Try research your country as if you were a tourist: have you seen all the ‘must see’? Chances are you saw them decades ago, don’t have any pictures and have forgotten how amazing they are!
Travel envy often plants roots in the subconscious insecurity: ‘They are living the life, look at me: what have I achieved?’ These thought are poisonous and often come from being bored by our daily life or not stimulated enough. But stimulation doesn’t have to come from travel!
Try a new activity, something you can fully embrace: in Rome, when my travel envy reached its peak, I joined a tango school and became obsessed! Suddenly my internet searches were about that rather than just travel, I met new people and enjoyed my time in the city.
Sure enough, plans to go to Buenos Aires soon took hold of my thought process but they came from a more balanced place, not a generic feeling that life would be better elsewhere.
And it also gave more focus to my travel searches: it was more about planning and less about escaping.
Take a break from social media
I am fond of social media and spend an inordinate amount of time on them. They can be fabulous to stay in touch with friends and discover new things but they can also poison your day. While we think of them as ‘life unfiltered’ they are all but!
People use social media to portray a specific image of themselves: sometimes it is intentional, sometimes it is subconscious and most of the times is way glossier than reality. If you feel like that image is getting to you: ignore it! Unplug, meet your friends in person, talk to them on the phone and connect with their real self, not their mask.
Plan your next holiday
This is my favourite part of dealing with travel envy: using the amazing photographs I see to plan our next holiday!
Putting on paper bucket lists and a first idea for itineraries channels my energies into something constructive: these lists then become the basis for future more accurate ones, to include budget and timescales and eventually real trips take shape.
I find that as soon as ‘I wish I was there’ turns into ‘let’s see how I could go there’, the envy dissipates and becomes a much more positive, useful feeling.
Do you get travel envy? What are your triggers (mine is facebook!) and how do you deal with it? I’d love to hear your tricks!