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Once your soul contracts the bug, your trip will never end. Travel writer Pico Iyer once said, “travel is like love, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” If you find yourself thinking, doing, or feeling any combination of the following 15 symptoms, you may have a full blown case of the travel bug.
On your way home from your adventure, you are already starting to conjure up your next escape.
You have reprioritized your live and realized that you want less stuff and more experiences. After an adventure, you are already working on saving for the next one. Your hard-earned money is now being put toward plane tickets and trips instead of possessions that will only keep you sedentary.
Your passport is your ticket to the world and you guard it with your life. You are always aware of where it is and always have it securely stored when it is not on your body. You also frequently flip through it to look at your collection of stamps and have mini flashbacks with a big smile on your face from your grand journeys of the past.
You write down things you don’t want to forget and have a running journal of notes, observations, thoughts, and memories from your trips. You have lists of favorite places, restaurants, accommodations, contact information of people you’ve shared time with along the way, and valuable information that only a person who has been a certain place would know. When you’re home, you look through this journal and feel instantly transported back to times where you were freely roaming the earth.
You’ve collected things like cocktail napkins, matchbooks, postcards, and hotel pens. You’ve picked and pressed flowers between the pages of the book you were reading at the time or saved a piece of sea glass or a shell that you found on a beach somewhere. Maybe you even have a collection of different currencies in your wallet left over from past trips. You have kept little things along the way that only have a special meaning to you.
You have made a list of all the places you want to go and things you want to do in your lifetime and are determined to complete the list. You also possess a certain confidence in your ability to complete your bucket list, a confidence that non-travelers would inadvertently replace with doubt.
It’s a good thing that you have a huge heart because you tend to leave a tiny piece of yours somewhere along the way on each one of your adventures. As you’ve traveled, you have found that you have these special connections to places you’ve never been before and to people whom you’ve never met prior. As we travel the globe and leave pieces of our hearts all over the place, we are only further connecting to one another and the world as a whole.
The more you travel the more you’ve realized that traveling light is the way to go. You’ve found that you don’t really need more than what you can comfortably carry. You’ve really started to master the art of packing. With each consecutive trip, you’ve become more skilled at putting together the perfect articles of clothing and the proper gear. You also get abundant joy when you realize how perfectly you packed while you are on your trip.
Through trial and error and well-earned experience, you always travel with a kit that only a true traveler or an innately amazing planner would think to pack. Your kit will vary depending on where in the world you are traveling, but you will typically have things like Benadryl, an anti-acid, a traveler’s tummy remedy, anti-nausea pills, an anti-inflammatory, a simple first-aid kit, sunscreen, mosquito-repellent, anti-bacterial gel, water purifying tablets, blue or black pens, a copy of your passport, credit card information, driver’s license, and your travel insurance or health insurance; and a reusable water bottle.
There’s nothing like having the right gear. You get excited about a new wetsuit for your upcoming surf trip to Morocco in the winter, a wide angle lens for your camera to capture those beautiful scenes in South Africa, or a pair of boots that are waterproof and so comfortable that you feel like you could trek to the end of Patagonia in.
While you love sightseeing, you’ve also learned to love to just take time on your trip to do nothing. Maybe this is just sitting at a cafe and people watching all afternoon, laying on a secluded white sand beach and listening to the waves kiss the shoreline until the sun sets, or resting in a hammock while you slowly read pages from Walden. You’ve realized the value and pleasure of just being and just taking in your surroundings instead of actively participating in them.
Sometimes the greatest experiences, the most valuable life lessons, and the most incredible relationships are just waiting for you to say yes. You tend to put more thought into saying “no” than you do into saying “yes.”
…and the world is the greatest classroom.
There is no destination that is too far away. You’ve accepted that the time and distance it takes you to get to your destination is all part of the journey. You feel quite comfortable navigating an airport, train station, or metro. You’ve learned to use maps, guides, travel applications, and when all else fails, ask for directions using a combination of pantomime, pointing, and a butchered new language.
You’ve definitely caught the travel bug when you will travel on your own. Sometimes solo travel is totally planned that way, while other times it just ends up being the case because you can’t find anyone to travel with when you want to go. When the world calls to you, you go, even if it’s alone.