“Take a gap year!” “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page!” “Have the courage to quit your job and see the world!” “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us!” Wait, the last one was an affirmation in a prison poster. For those of us not born with a silver spoon, these words prick and make us feel lesser. We feel remorseful about not spreading our legs and leaving footprints in a shore of pristine black sand. What these devil’s advocates fail to realise is that travelling is an evil in itself.
You live like a caveman.
Home is home because you have everything set up the way you want. Unless you’re staying at the Presidential Suites, hotels’ bathrooms don’t come with bidets. You’re expected to clean your precious derrière with the sandpaper they call toilet paper? Savages!
You can never eat again when you come home.
Once you have savoured the sushi of Japan’s famed Tsukiji Market or juicy-sweet mussels and tender lamb of Iceland, every version that follows just falls short. Your teeth break as you bite into and try to rip apart that slab of beef, whose owner definitely had a core of steel. You chastise that “authentic Japanese restaurant” in the seedy cul-de-sac you call home for using store-bought sheets of sashimi, whose taste resemble paper. Not that you’ve ever tasted paper, but now you have an inkling.
You will constantly make a fool of yourself.
No one likes to be reduced to a jester, but that’s exactly the role you step into when you travel. The highly-regarded, always-precocious you will board a train that goes in the opposite direction of where you want to go. You mispronounce “Eyjafjallajökull” and end up getting bashed in the face because you spat on someone else’s. You suddenly can’t do simple arithmetic and lose the ability to add the value of coins. You doff your clothes in a restaurant and walk around naked because it says “onsen tamago” in the menu.
You will make great connections but not be with your new friends.
Travelling is a great way to recruit intel for your world domination, I mean, make companions, in every continent. But before these relationships can fully blossom, your new friends and crushes are tragically taken away from you. They will go home to their respective countries, and to their “families”, which you are not a part of. You like all of their shared photos, but they don’t reciprocate the gesture. Long-distance relationships never work, so you drift apart. They make new acquaintances, and you lose sleep because the green-eyed monster keeps you up at night. They forget you, while you pine for them every single day. “Never mind I’ll find someone like you…” But you don’t, and never will.
To avoid all of this drama, you should never make new friends altogether. Prevention is better than cure.
You never actually recover from wanderlust sickness.
For every one week of vacation, you will need three months before you acclimate to your mundane life of humdrum dread. And that is only if you say your affirmations every day, and do not succumb to the temptations of looking at your vacation selfies. This sickness is all the more debilitating when your travel companions were insanely hot and way out of your league. Your morale will dip, your productivity whittles. You will find that there is zero purpose in your job. Your old friends will eschew talking to you because you cannot start a sentence without saying “When I was in South Africa…” — even though your one-day trip was in reality an emergency layover during which you very judiciously cursed the living daylights out of the incompetent pilot and crew. Your social life diminishes.
Indeed, wanderlust is a virus, insidiously working its way to ensnare your soul.
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