¨ Travel tends to magnify all human emotions.¨
Why Is it Important to Know Your Travel Personality?
When I started long-term traveling and living abroad, I scheduled too many activities that did not suit my personality, interest, or needs. I also did not anticipate several common psychological issues that cause travel burnout. As a result, while I treasured my experience, I didn’t get as much pleasure from traveling as I do today.
Defining your personality, interests, and style may seem new age, airy-fairy. However, learning my personality, interests, and style is the key to my success as a long-term traveler and expat.
As a young man, I experienced many psychological problems on the road. Nowadays, these issues are rare since I know my interests, style, and personality.
Retaking the psychology quizzes (described below) and reviewing my travel personality periodically have also helped me avoid some of the problems of my youth. The more I learn about my personality, the quicker I understand and address issues and return to enjoying my nomadic life again.
The Cost of Not Considering My Personality, Issues, and Needs
Most people, myself included (at least when I first started traveling), think that Travel is about crossing off a list of experiences. But it is not. At its best, trips are a chance to learn about yourself and the world around you and find friends and acquaintances from many diverse backgrounds. Your best memories and lessons will come from Travel, reflecting your personality and interests, not those imposed by others.
Most long-term travelers will become burned out with Travel, especially whenever you travel for months. (That said, I highly recommend extended Travel. It is more fun and consequential than short-term Travel).
Fifty Plus Nomads, myself included, often feel guilty because extended Travel fulfills a lifelong dream. Therefore, we should enjoy and get the most out of every moment.
However, there is no reason to feel guilty. You are lucky, but you will sometimes be frustrated and tired.
Having these feelings and working through them is a source of personal growth and will make you feel even more grateful for the gift of Travel afterward.
Anticipating and Resolving Common Psychological Issues of Life on the Road
One of the hardest things for most long-term travelers and expats to get used to is that they will usually experience psychological problems adapting to traveling and living abroad for an extended period.
I know I have! In my case, I have experienced mild cases of all of these issues over my 16 years of living and traveling abroad:
- Sightseeing overload syndrome
- Travel fatigue syndrome
- Justifying my nomadic lifestyle,
- Paying more than locals
- Culture shock
- And even an occasional feeling of too much togetherness
I have learned a lot about myself due to these psychological issues. I now can identify when these feelings are coming on and address them quite quickly.
My Number One Travel Lesson: Variety for Me is the Spice of a Nomadic Life
I have met some long-term travelers and expats who always do the same type of Travel. Usually, after talking to them for a little while, I wonder if they would also enjoy themselves and learn more if they tried new travel experiences. When I suggest new options, sometimes fellow travelers resist my suggestions because they have misconceptions about different travel experiences, particularly escorted tours, independent Travel, and volunteering and learning vacations. For me, variety is the spice of my nomadic life.
One of the best things about having a long time to explore the world is that you can try things and see if they fit or not. If you only have a few weeks to visit, it can ruin the trip if you do not like something.
If you are on the road for months and do not enjoy something, it will not affect the trip much. More often than not, however, you will discover things you love more than expected.
Personality Quizzes and Assessments for Long-Term Travelers and Expats
I recommend you take personality quizzes and assessments to help determine your travel personality, interests, and needs. These quizzes will help you know yourself better, avoid travel burnout and culture shock, and enjoy your Fifty-Plus Nomad lifestyle.
I am working on two quizzes based on my cultural adaptation research to help you discover whether you have what it takes to be a successful expat in Mexico and long-term travel.
I also provide links to two commercially available psychological assessments. The first comes from one of the most popular and widely accepted general personality assessments: Myers-Briggs. The second quiz comes from Stanley Plog, the best-known and widely accepted travel personality expert. (I decided to give group travel a chance after the Stanley Plog test revealed that I am more of a voyager than expected).
In addition to these personality assessments and quizzes, I pose questions that explore your travel preferences. Some of these questions shouldn’t require much thought. However, you will not know the answer to every question posed unless you have traveled a lot. Specific preferences only come to light through on-the-road experimentation.
Finally, I have included a detailed explanation of my travel personality, interests, and style. I know that developing and reviewing this inventory over time has been vital to my life as a Fifty Plus Nomad, and it should also help you.
Things to Keep in Mind When Taking These Personality Assessments and Long-Term Travel and Expat Quizzes
Remember that your personality, interests, and style change over time. I learned, for example, that I could not stay in hostels after giving it a try a couple of times as a fifty-year-old. While hostels are a fantastic way to save money and meet fellow travelers, I could not tolerate sleeping in a dormitory and needing my own bathroom to enjoy my travels.
The quizzes should be fun and informative.