Do You Seriously Think Travelling Will Solve All Your Problems?

If you have read any message board about travel, you will have come across someone who is planning to travel because they’ve had a problem in their life.  Recently I’m seeing more and more of these posts on message boards and forums.  “To get over breaking my favourite vase, I’m going to travel the world ”  You must have seen them too?  Or are you the person that has had a bad haircut and you think you can solve that problem if you just get to another country for a month or two?  Well you are in the right place to be told the truth straight if you think travelling will solve all your problems.

Somewhere Better Than Here

If you are going through a rough time, where seems better than now and here?  Anywhere!  When you’re going through a rough time, it’s easy to think that the way to solve all your problems is to be anywhere but here.  Then you think about travelling, you think of somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.  You perhaps think of white sandy beaches, with the bright sunshine and giant palm trees.  Let me tell you a secret, it’s currently the rainy season in that place you are thinking of.  On the bright side, everyone’s hair looks bad when they’ve been caught in the rain, and no one will see that bad haircut of yours.

Why Do We Want To Run Away When It’s Going Wrong?

A synonym for running away is often travel.  We all want to run away from our problems, because if we can get away from them then they are no longer a problem.  I’m wondering if that is logical, nonetheless I’ll carry on.  We all know you can’t run away from a problem.  If I stand in my living room, and have a problem then I move to the kitchen then I still have the same problem.  That is unless my problem is that the hollyoaks theme tune has just started.  Yes being in another room would certainly solve that problem for 30 minutes.

Here comes common sense.  You can’t run away from your problems.  They are still there.  You will still have that bad haircut in Thailand, in South Africa or in the Maldives.  They still have mirrors in those countries too, and you’ll have more time to look in the mirror and think about it, if you’re not working.  Note to self:  research and find a country where mirrors and reflective surfaces don’t exist.

Travelling is Amazing

Before I head down this bleak path I thought I’d just say this.  Travelling is amazing.  It teaches you so

much.  Not just about a new culture, language or history but about yourself.  I was surprised on my first solo trip just how much I learnt about myself.  I was surprised for one, that I do actually like being around people.  Who would have thought it!

You learn so many skills when you travel and there is something that shifts in your mind every time you find somewhere new and learn something new.  I can’t explain it, but the world and home looks oddly different.  You learn how to be independent, you learn that people are people wherever you go.  You meet some of the most beautiful and kind souls.  You will see the kindness in strangers that is never apparent when you are stuck in the rat race.  Yes.  Travel is amazing.

Travel is Amazing But It Doesn’t Solve All Your Problems

Sorry.  It doesn’t solve all your problems (yes we are back here).  Your ex is still with that annoying girl that winds you up and the profile picture of the two of them is still there.  Whether you are in Beijing or Timbuctoo.  Side note: it’s not recommended to travel to Timbuctoo ( and you think you have problems?  What’s not there when you’re travelling is your support system.  Your family.  Your friends.  Those that will tell you, “yes she is really annoying and why on Earth he picked her over you must mean he has gone insane.” or “Your hair will grow again, and we can go to the shops tomorrow to buy you a nice hat.”

How to Deal With Your Problems?

Be kind to yourself.  Going through a bad patch in life is OK.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  There are different types of problems.  Ones you can solve, like a broken vase.  You can buy a new vase.  Face your problem and deal with it.  If you travel, it would just be nagging you in the back of your mind.

There are problems that will take time to solve and you’ll just have to wait.  Like the bad haircut.  Your hair will grow back, and then you can find a better hairdresser.  (If you go back to the same one, then I’m done with helping you!)  It’s better to wait and go on an adventure with a nice haircut.

Then problems that you can do nothing about.  Time heals, but there is nothing you can do to change the situation.  This is when you have to be most kind to yourself.  See your friends, get on with your life, allow yourself those moments of reflection.  Learn and be a stronger, better person for it.  Know that only when you experience bad times can you truly understand and appreciate the good times.  Remember if you need it, do seek professional advice and don’t be scared to.

Plan To Travel

If you need motivation or distractions from your problems, then plan out and investigate where you’d travel.  No one is saying you can’t travel, and indeed you should.  You should!  Just wait until you have no problems (ok that’s impossible so I’ll say “no big problems” instead), no distractions and you can immerse yourself in a wonderful experience.

Better Articles Than This

One of my favourite bloggers has a great article here: Don’t Expect Travel To Solve Your Problems and this youtube video is good too:

Good Luck

Remember to be kind to yourself.





5 Comment

  1. It’s certainly been my experience that one’s problems tend to have a funny way of following you wherever you are going. While I think it would be pretty rare to live a life with zero problems, and you shouldn’t let the existence of problems stop you from exploring new places, buying an airplane ticket to avoid an issue rarely ends with the issue magically fixing itself when you return.

    Over time, my feelings on travel have evolved. I mean, I obviously love travel and think it’s great, I like being exposed to new places, new foods, new ideas and new people….but are authentic intercontinental friendships going to be easy to maintain? I admit that it’s fun that I get Facebook notifications on my birthday from a ton of time zones, but am I jaunting to new places so that i can obtain more Facebook notifications in my life?

    The more I think about it, the more I wonder if I should focus my energies on putting forth a lot of effort of finding a place that feels like home where I can feel part of a community and develop friendships vs. the indefinite nomad thing.

    That sounds a whole lot better than being sad because I met this awesome person in that awesome place for a super brief period of time who happens to live completely across the globe.

    I hate to admit it, but I wonder if the blogger-maligned shorter term vacations might be the travel of my future after I get some long term travel out of my system? It seems like it has to be, if I want to build any sort of stability here. I can’t expect to make too many friends in my home city if I’m going to jaunt to somewhere new all the time. I haven’t cared about this aspect as much in recent years because I don’t expect to stay in my current city and don’t really have a close group here.

    1. Rapunzel's Passport says: Reply

      Lots of interesting points TJ.

      I think you are right, zero problems never happen. I worry for people who buy a plane ticket in the hope that it will solve all their problems.

      I know what you mean about the increasing friends on facebook from travels. Some I will only ever wish happy birthday to. Others mean an awful lot to me, and it’s difficult that they live the other side of the world. I don’t stay in touch as often as I’d like, but hey life gets in the way. I know if I needed them, they’d be there and I hope they know that I’d be there for them too.

      That said does someone need to stay in your life for them to be important? As I was reading your post, I thought of the BA supervisor at Jo’burg airport that spent the time with me and sympathy as they bumped me off a flight. She’s not a facebook friend, nor do I think I will ever see her again. However as she strolled with me to security for the rebooked flight, we chatted and as we said goodbye I hugged her. Her compassion and kindness, whilst I was in tears for a flight I couldn’t board, had gone a long way.

      Sounds like you have an adventure on your hands… travelling and finding what you want to do with your life. 🙂

      1. I’m so glad you had someone to comfort you during that frustration. Certainly there isn’t some sort of time requirement to determine the importance of any person in your life, but I would think it’s very natural to desire to spend time with those who you feel the closest bond to.

        I definitely have a lot of shit to sort out on the adventrue. Maybe a period of extended travel will inspire me to live out of a backpack like so many others do, but I find that outcome doubtful. 😀

        1. Rapunzel's Passport says: Reply

          Good on you for trying, after all if you don’t try you’ll never know!

  2. Thank you very much for your blog.

    I enjoyed reading this article.

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