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I was surprised how often I had to justify my existence when I traveled around the world. Here are some tips in case you find yourself in the same situation.
As part of my research for my blogs and seminars over the past 15 years, I have talked to over 300 American and Canadian expats in Mexico, Central America (particularly Costa Rica), Europe (mainly Italy), and Thailand. These expats generally are happy they made the move but found both the challenges and the benefits of living abroad vastly different than expected.
When I was younger being charged more for things than locals used to piss me off. Now I simply acknowledge it as part of traveling and living in third-world countries. I find the less it bothers me the less I attract aggressive vendors, too.
By far the biggest issue I had while traveling around the world as a younger man was culture shock. It even resulted in me making some major decisions, most of which I regret in retrospect. In my experience, many people suffer from culture shock while traveling around the world or living abroad but most don’t even know they are suffering from culture shock.
Portrait of Paul Heller, the founder of Fifty Plus Nomad and a confirmed travel addict, on a Mexican Riviera cruise in 2003. Find out more details about his eight years traveling around the world and 8 years living in Mexico.
When I was traveling around the world as a young man, I frequently got lonely. When I was able to travel around the world again long term, I deliberately participated in group tours, cruises, volunteering, and learning vacations to avoid loneliness. It worked wonders for me.
Every long-term traveler regardless of the budget will occasionally suffer from travel fatigue . I deal with it by slowing down, staying in my hotel for a day or two, or scheduling some new activities.
During my five years traveling around the world. I occasionally suffered from mild travel burnout. Only once did I truly want to stop sightseeing for awhile. Why didn’t sightseeing ever really exhaust me? Because over time I have learned how to appreciate every place’s architecture, history, and beauty. However, sightseeing fatigue seems commonplace among other long-term travelers because they don’t have enough background to appreciate what they are seeing and don’t try to mix fun experiences into their sightseeing experiences.
I learned four lessons from my five-year journey around the world: 1) Mix group and independent travel; 2) Travel to varied parts of the world; 3) Avoid travel burnout, and 4) Have a home base.
Paul Heller, the Founder of Fifty-Plus Nomad, has outlined in detail his own travel personality. This inventory was developed after taking all the quizzes and answering the questions contained throughout the travel personality section of the blog. It is intended as a model for other Fifty-Plus Nomads to use in developing their own inventory.