As wonderful and positively life-changing travelling can be, it doesn’t stay that way the whole time. There will be times when, in the midst of your wanderlust high, you’ll be faced with sudden challenges, emotions, memories, and thoughts, that will feel a little heavy on your heart. Does going through these motions mean that you travelled at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons? Not necessarily. But the feels are real and brought about by different circumstances that aren’t assuaged so easily. We’ll give you examples.
1. When you’re breaking up with someone in the middle of a travel
What could suck more than to have a broken heart? Oh yeah, breaking up while you’re actually travelling. That means, you probably broke up long distance and through chat or video call. Now you have to travel in your destination with not only a broken heart, but with a bad mood and no real closure.
How can you even start to focus on your trip when you just want to let all the sadness and frustration out on your friends? Maybe if you’re lucky, you’re actually travelling with them so it’s easier to vent. But if you’re travelling solo, I have two words for you: Good luck!
2. When you’re travelling solo
One way to avoid feeling homesickness is having a travel buddy with you. If you don’t, it’s double the loneliness. Well, not all the time. Some people travel better when they’re alone. But if you’re like me who prefers to be with at least one friend while away from home, you’ll surely feel a sense of isolation if you’re travelling solo.
There’s no one to share your experiences with, no one to laugh with, no one to get lost with, no one to eat with, and no one to face the same challenges with. You have to go through it all with no help or someone to share in the joy. Just thinking about it already makes you feel alone, doesn’t it?
3. When you miss out on reunions and gatherings
Nothing spells out FOMO than hearing about a family or barkada reunion scheduled at a time when you’re out of town. It’s hard enough to miss out on good food and company, but when you know for a fact how hard it is to get everyone together for a reunion and you’re the only one who isn’t there, you’ll almost regret going on your trip.
4. When you hear unfortunate news back home
I’ve heard plenty of depressing stories from friends who were in another town or country when someone special passed away. A grandmother, a friend, even their beloved dog. If news like these drop while you’re somewhere far, it just makes you feel completely helpless. What can you do? Or what should you do? Complete your journey? Buy an early ticket back home? You’re torn, frustrated, depressed, and heartbroken all at once for everyone involved.
5. When you feel homesick
Homesickness and separation anxiety often go together. When you feel homesick, you get anxious while all these thoughts go through your head.
“Why did I even take this vacation?” “What if my parents need me to be home all of a sudden?” “I feel nervous in this new environment.” “I don’t even know if I’m going to enjoy this time away.”
But then you remember that you went on that trip to fulfil a travel ambition, and that the right thing to do is to suck it up and continue your journey. Don’t worry, because once you’ve gotten the hang of travelling, you’ll be able to anticipate bouts of homesickness and “sepanx”. Though you’re missing many people back home, you’ll be missing your travel destination when it’s time to go home in no time.
6. When you compare another country to yours
Whether you belong to the more harmonious country or the other way around, it’s heartbreaking to see the striking differences and how much one country can still improve in different aspects. We as Filipinos have a notorious way of comparing, then saying things like “Sana ganito rin sa Pinas.” These comparisons are usually well warranted when you see how traffic-free, hassle-free, and pollution-free it is in other countries.
All of us can agree that our country has a long way to go when it comes to the commuting system, education system, job opportunities, gender equality, and healthcare. You want your country to have the best so badly, but the dream seems too far to reach. You (ought to) ask yourself then, what you can do in your own little way to improve the situation of your homeland.
7. When you see environmental issues left and right
While it is true that there are plenty of European and Asian cities that are considered to be extremely clean, environmental and wildlife issues don’t disappear even when you’re there. And yes, these issues concern all of us. From climate change to animals becoming endangered, there are ongoing battles to be won and plenty of room for each district, city, and nation to improve.
As travellers, we ought to get involved in movements to shape the world into a better place. Imagine how environmental apathy will affect this generation and the next, not only for humans but for animals. Case in point: Did you know that the foremost danger for lions in the wild isn’t actually hunting? It’s habitat loss — animal habitat loss caused by man-made infrastructures and population. If this keeps up, there won’t be anymore lions left in the wild after an estimate of 20 years. So we, along with our kids, can kiss these wild magnificent creatures goodbye by 2040. Now THAT is heartbreaking.
8. When you’re on a business trip with plenty of work to do
Most of us travel for leisure, but there are those who have to travel for work, and not the fun kind. When this happens to you, travelling almost becomes a burden. Not only do you have to work, but you have to do it outside of your comfort zone away from your friends and family.
We know — not the kind of travelling you had in mind.
9. When the tourist attraction you want to visit is closed
Let’s say you’re already enjoying your vacation as it is. You’re looking forward to visiting a certain place, then you find out they actually closed for the day. Talk about bad luck. There goes all your hopes and dreams to explore and take IG-worthy photos in that long-awaited tourist spot.
10. When you’ve blown your money on tourist things that aren’t worth it after all
This happens even to the best of travellers. I think it’s really a matter of preference. Even a tourist destination that’s hyped won’t always be the most awe-inspiring thing to some of us. You leave that tourist attraction thinking, “That’s it? What was so special about that?” and “I should have put my money elsewhere.” For budget-travellers in particular, nothing says heartbreaking than paying for something that wasn’t worth it after all.
11. When plans change halfway through your trip
Usually, this happens when you’re travelling in a group. Change of plans may even start a fight because your travel goals are different. Imagine having to skip the place you want to go because everyone else wants to use the time to do something different. You end up going to your preferred place alone and bitter because everyone is enjoying each other’s company away from you. Or maybe it’s even worse than that. Maybe your parents called about an emergency back home and you have to leave your barkada for an early flight back to the Philippines. Ouch.
12. When you want to be someplace else
When travellers feel the wanderlust in all its glory, enough is never enough. As soon as you reach your destination, you’re suddenly fantasizing about another place then it breaks your heart that you’re here and not there. It’s even worse when it’s the long weekend and you can’t go anywhere while everyone else is travelling. That’s not just heartbreak my friend, you may have a mild case of travel envy.
13. When it’s time to go home
When you’ve fallen in love with places, you know this feeling all too well. You want to stay where you are. You don’t want to go home. Going home almost feels like breaking up with the destination you’ve fallen in love with. But you have no choice. The only thing you can do to ease your agony is to be content that you’ve found a new home away from home. You promise yourself that you’ll come back someday, and for now, that’s enough.
Do these things spark memories from your own experiences? I think at some point, all travellers relate to each other when it comes to heartbreak. However, this isn’t to discourage you. It’s to show that you’re not alone and everyone else goes through the same thing. Besides, experiences like these are what make travellers tough!