End of the World if You Don't Travel

It’s Not The End Of The World If You Don’t Travel

Derek Perspectives 89 Comments

End of the World if You Don't Travel

Really, it’s no big deal. Even if travel is the only thing you can think about, the only goal that you truly want to achieve in life, if you don’t travel, if you don’t actually succeed, again, it’s no big deal. The truth is, some will travel, and some won’t. Life gets in the way for many and despite a strong desire to hit the road and venture off to those dreamed-about lands, it sometimes just doesn’t happen.

I am often asked what is the single greatest lesson I have learned from my travels and I always give the same answer: “The overwhelming majority of people on this planet are good people who just want to live a simple, happy life without enemies, without hatred, without war, with enough money to provide for their loved ones and to spend time with their friends, regardless of where in the world they live, what religion they practice, how much money they have or anything else.

However, despite the fact that I am always so quick to choose that lesson as the most important, there is also another lesson I’ve learned that definitely comes in a close second place. And the lesson is this: “It doesn’t matter what you do in life. If you have the right attitude, you can find the fulfillment and happiness you desire, we all desire, in almost anything.

And yes, this is true even if travel is your major goal and for one reason or another, it doesn’t happen. I really do believe that it’s all about our attitude.

It’s all about our attitude towards the experiences we do have and the people we do meet and the places we do end up. It’s all about our attitude when we wake up in the morning and before we go to sleep, while we eat, hang out with friends, walk down the street and go to the market.

We can all inject positivity into our lives, no matter what we are doing. Perhaps some meditation or exercise or reading or going to a nearby town every few days to try and discover new things. We can find activities that make us happy. We can find people that make us happy to be around as well. In fact, this can happen quite easily these days with websites that facilitate meet-ups all over the world based on every interest imaginable. The right people, the right activities, the right experiences are right there in front of us at all times, no matter where we may be or what we may be doing, and with the proper attitude, we can take advantage of them all.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if I just stopped traveling right now, moved to a random town and changed my life completely to that of a more normal routine. At first, that thought gives me a feeling of unease, of dread perhaps, that I would be unhappily plodding my way through such an existence. But the more time passes, and the more I dwell on this idea and endless others, I realize that this wouldn’t be the case at all.

My travels have taught me to face the world with a positive attitude, not only the world in general, but every single minute, every single interaction, possibility, experience and moment. They don’t all turn out positively in the end of course, but by facing the world with a positive attitude, I feel that I can not only handle whatever comes my way, but I can squeeze enough joy and happiness out of each day, and in turn, out of any kind of lifestyle, to make sure that my life is something I love living.

To break it down even further, I’ve also realized that I can’t say such things as, “it doesn’t matter where I travel at all because I can always find experiences and people in every corner of the world that can turn any destination into a rewarding one” and not apply that very same theory to every other potential lifestyle. If that’s how I feel about travel, then that’s how I should feel about living in one place, having a set routine and basically, living a lifestyle that does not include much, or any, travel at all.

It’s the positive attitude, not the destinations themselves, that leads to memorable, positive travel experiences. Therefore, it must follow that it’s the positive attitude, not the lifestyle, that leads to a memorable, positive life.

Try it out. Walk down the street with a smile, saying hello to strangers. Go to work ready to turn any mundane task into a challenge, ready to work efficiently so that you have free time to spend on activities you enjoy more. Expect to learn each day and the chances are high that you will. Expect to laugh, to be inspired and to feel alive, and laugh, be inspired and feel alive you shall.

The point is, if you expect to have a brilliant day no matter what you do or where you are, you’ll quickly understand how powerful that expectation can be. And this holds true even if you haven’t been able to achieve your goal of travel, or any other goal you’ve set for yourself, quite yet.

Are you able to approach life with a positive attitude each day? Do you find any benefit from it? Or is it difficult to do if you are not achieving your true goals?

Since 1999 I've been traveling and living around the world nonstop. Sign up below for personal stories, real advice and useful updates from my adventures. Only good stuff, no nonsense.

Are you ready to earn money and travel?

How to Work on a Cruise Ship and Travel eBooksClick above and get started!

Comments 89

  1. Marian

    For most of my life, I’d dreamed of travel. But … for me … it is better that travel remain a daydream. PERMANENTLY. LIFELONG. I have too many personal anxieties, and even more actual obligations, for travel to be more than a daydream. And I am now too old to change that. Believe it or not, these realizations now make me happy. I feel free!

    Not all of us should travel. Some, like me, should never travel … except in daydreams.

  2. Rachel

    Thanks for this. I get a lot of flack (I’m in my 40s, married and one kid) and I don’t like flying or being away from home for long trips. We’re about to leave for the east coast for 15 days and I’m really suffering. I honestly love my day to day life…but my spouse wants to see the world. Not sure how I feel about letting my little boy go too for future trips without me. Figuring it out. I have always been a homebody and would be so happy to spend time off just loving and living the California lifestyle i signed up for! Thanks for helping me feel less odd.

  3. Sabrina

    Great post. I’ve dreamed of travel but like George Bailey in the film it’s a wonderful life, life circumstance has kept me tethered to home. Sometimes I feel embarrassed that I’ve not been able to travel outside of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Yet, I’ve met people who have traveled the world who are very negative, anger, bitter and surprisingly close minded. Seem traveling only confirmed their biases.

  4. Tired INFJ

    I’m so glad this article exists. I have never had that travel bug, or wanderlust or whatever people call it, and yet people continually ask me when I plan to travel, where I plan to go “when” I travel, because it hasn’t occurred to them that someone in their twenties might not. I don’t feel I’m missing out if I don’t go; I just worry people will think I’m wasting my life and judge me, even though I’d infinitely be happier at home, getting my career running, making a home for myself, having a family. I actually really love what others call the “mundane.” Whereas for a lot of people, life gets in the way of travel, to me, travel would get in the way of the life I want. To find an article celebrating that you can find happiness in the simple and everyday things of life is so refreshing to read.

  5. Freddy

    Great article. Im 25 now, and have never really travelled at all. Been to a resort before for a week but travelling abroad never. I think about it if i will regret it or if im “missing out”, but in reality I have a mortgage to pay and am just starting a career job after working countless dead end jobs. I have a couple friends who travel all the time just to travel but feel like they are always just searching for something new and are never content, and as adventureous as it sounds, that sounds like youre just chasing a high. I hate when people tell me “if you dont travel you arent living life right”… Well im content and happy now, if i do decide to travel I will but like you said with the right attitude towards everything I do I dont feel the need to travel, and I dont think there is anything wrong with that.

    1. Jinghang

      My thoughts exactly! A good response to a well-written article. With the right attitude, we can find deeper meaning in the things we do. The things may be travelling for some, but for others it could be our career etc. To me, I would rather save up for a colour laser printer than travel overseas. It helps me a lot in my work and leisure (making cards etc.), giving me a lot of joy. Travelling is enjoyable and beneficial for some people, but it is not the only way that one gets to experience life more fully.

    2. wtrmn

      Glad to hear someone else say this. I have felt that pressure to travel from my peers, and feared missing out on something. I have even tied up loose ends in my life in order to put myself in more of a favorable position to travel, thinking that is why I haven’t found it attractive. (finished college, paid off loans (not all), rented a small apartment, sold large many possessions. The cost of travel is still prohibitive for me but I have made it happen a handful of times all across the country. When I do travel, I feel pretty disconnected from the place and people, I can be just as fulfilled meeting someone new in my area. I would want to live somewhere, meet the locals and get a job, see where I fit into a community, and work on my hobbies. I then realize, that’s what I’ve already got!

  6. Michelle

    I traveled a lot when I was young. I lived in and went to school in four countries. And each time I had to assimilate. This made me anxious to a degree that many don’t understand. School was always a huge unknown and a cause of great fear. My last overseas stay (a year) was when I was 18, and it was in a culture so different from any I had previously encountered that I experienced huge culture shock. Even though this was 40 years ago, I have really little desire to travel anymore and don’t want to go alone. If someone is there with me to help me navigate the culture I probably would go again. Yet I find myself over and over again in the role of helping people from other countries adapt to the US!

  7. Grace

    A bit late to leave a reply but this is a very helpful article. I’ve been getting a lot of criticism at work for not liking to travel. People say I’m missing out or that I’m wasting opportunities. The point is, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything!

    Fine, if I’m given the chance to travel, I’ll take that chance. But I’m not someone who looks for that chance. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my life just because I’m not as into travelling as some people are. And what you said about it being the attitude and not just the places you go to is spot on. I feel like I’m getting what I want out of life by mostly staying at home and living a routine. However I’m getting tired of people trying to make me feel bad for not doing what they think is the best way to enjoy life.

    Great read!

  8. G

    Interesting article Earl!

    i myself am a travel fanatic, I spent 6 months backpacking around Aussie and another 3 backpacking in Thailand and SEa Asia. I then went to teach English for a year in Indonesia and it’s been 7 years.

    That was NOT the plan, the plan was a year here, a year there, and keep moving. However, fgor one reason or another I stayed and now my travel style is more like several holidays per year rather than a permanent wandering.

    Keep moving and shaking! This is a good website and I really can relate to what you’re saying here!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey G – Luckily, you don’t need to follow your initial plan. I always say that the chance of a person actually following their initial travel plan is extremely slim…in fact, I’m not sure if I know of anyone who set out for a lengthy period of time and ended up doing exactly what they thought they would do!

  9. Mike

    As a recent college graduate who is settling into a full time career, I have been feeling trapped lately. I caught the travel bug on my trip to Europe after graduation and so I’ve been looking around at those 5, 10, 20 years my elder and can’t help but think, “is this all you want out of life??” It has been hard for me to picture being mostly sedintary until I retire and so reading this from someone such as yourself brought me the following realization; not everyone has the desire to live a life of travel, and that’s just fine because happiness is a completely subjective thing. As for me though, I plan on hitting the road within a few years.

  10. Regina

    I really like what you said here

    I am often asked what is the single greatest lesson I have learned from my travels and I always give the same answer: “The overwhelming majority of people on this planet are good people who just want to live a simple, happy life without enemies, without hatred, without war, with enough money to provide for their loved ones and to spend time with their friends, regardless of where in the world they live, what religion they practice, how much money they have or anything else.”

    I liked it so much I pasted it as a status update on my facebook wall…I did add your web blog name….i hope you don’t mind

  11. KD

    Love this post.

    I have many travelling friends who preach about how boring peoples lives must be if they follow society and do the same as everyone else….Marry, Kids and good job. On the flip side the married friends often say how travellers are not rested in their souls and are searching for something.

    Great post and a great quote in there i.will be sharing if you dont mind!!!

  12. Jaryd - Aus Globetrotter

    Recently, just 2 weeks ago I was among travellers just talking about philosophy and the lives we all live when one Columbian guy pointed out the fact that to be happy in life we need to accept things. The good and the bad and by doing this I feel it allows us to let go of things and live a more optimistic and positive life. Sure you can choose to live a life of travel and not still not be happy unless you accept that you have given up things to live that life. But the same goes for living a life of routine, if that is what you want to do (which I know a lot of people who are). You aren’t going to be in a positive manner unless you accept that you can’t have it all by compromising certain things to live a certain lifestyle. Anyone can be happy if they truly decide to change their way of thinking, it may take a long time but your will appreciate everything so much more. Great post Earl, you are spot on

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jaryd – All great points and I completely agree. Acceptance of everything that comes our way, and then making changes based on how we are affected, certainly makes it easier to find that constant positive attitude.

  13. Anna @ The Blonde Banana

    This post rings so true. I used to think I had to live in NYC in order to be happy because it seemed like the center of the universe. But after getting slightly older I’ve realized that I could probably be happy anywhere! It’s all about your attitude, not what you’re actually doing.

  14. Beth

    Thank you so much for this article. I found you in stumbleupon as I was creating my travel list. I love to travel and do but have family members that are fearful of flying so my travels are limited and create stress and discord. I have been wrestling with this notion lately of “so what if I don’t travel??”, and this article resonated with where my mind has been wandering. My outlook, choosing to be positive, even when I am not getting my way or feeling tied down and trapped, might be my new journey and new path to take. I am holding on to what I feel I am being deprived of, and holding on, in actuality is depriving me of greater joy than my travels bring. I am beginning to see that more clearly. I appreciate you sharing this wisdom. Safe travels…..or not:)

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Beth – That’s such a great realization and I have a feeling that moving forward, you’ll recover that joy no matter where you are or what you may do!

  15. Katie

    Great post – and so true. Attitude plays a huge role in both your perception of a situation and others’ perceptions of you. Positivity is truly powerful, even though I often struggle with maintaining that positivity on the daily!

  16. Pingback: Not on the Road, but always a Traveler | The MaprouteThe Maproute

  17. Sofie

    Still have to reply at the bottom, sorry about that.
    Just wanted to say I found tit worth the effort of commenting. This is a little bit different to just wanting to say “cool pics” 🙂

  18. Lindsay

    Spot on about the attitude, although it’s not always easy. My mom’s mantra was always “Make it a great day!” (while we were heading off to school in the early mornings, sour-faced). She was my inspiration (and her spirit still is). I try to surround myself with positive people who look for the good in others and the best in every situation. Great post!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Lindsay – That’s such a great way to start each day and as ideal a mantra as there can be!

  19. Elora

    That certainly is the truth, even if it can be a hard thing to struggle with at times, when things just aren’t moving forward. Good post!

  20. Pingback: Explore Some More | Estrella Explores

  21. Paula Misty

    Weird how I randomly found this at this part of my life when I have to give up traveling to try to resolve some grown-up problems. This article is quite life changing on my end.

    Thank you so much.

  22. Sofie

    Hey Earl,

    Replying here because here the captcha turns up fine (what I emailed you about), but it’s when I hit “reply” to your reply that it comes out tiny:/

    Sooo, what I wanted to reply (after hours of trying:p) is that I don’t know. I don’t know if you won’t regret things you really wanted to do once you are older and if you’ve have a fulfilling live.
    I guess we’ll have to talk about it again in about 30 years or so.
    You better keep this blog running for a while… 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Sofie – Ha…let’s see if I can manage to keep it that long! And I appreciate your efforts in leaving a comment…glad it finally worked out!

  23. Tom @ Waegook Tom

    I really like this post, Earl. You don’t have to be constantly travelling to find happiness. I moved to Taipei a few months ago and while yes, it is a foreign country, it’s become ‘home’. I’m not ‘travelling’ every day – I’m getting up in the morning, doing some blog work, occasionally dragging myself to the gym, shopping at the local market, and then hopping on the subway for the one hour commute to work. Clock in, teach some awesome kids, clock out. Home. YouTube videos or more blog work, then sleep. But I try to approach it with a positive attitude, and it does make all the difference. I’m not worried that I’m not seeing new things or visiting new places constantly.

    I think you’re right about what the majority of people want, too. My mum says that she just wants a simple, drama-free life, where she and her loved ones are happy, and that’s it. My little brother is the same, ditto my dad. I’d say I’m the same to an extent as well. This is a great post, and if we could all look at our similarities a little bit more, then there’d be a lot more understanding in the world.

  24. Dave

    I agree.
    If we don’t find happiness in the little things and with daily events we will be too jaded to enjoy the big things.
    And if big things don’t happen so what just enjoy the moment.
    Make the moment count.

  25. Scootergirl

    I just randomly discovered you while searching for meaningful travel opportunities on the web. You are pretty cool. Thanks for your messages!

  26. Echo Santos

    I love it. This article is right on the money.

    Some travellers would even look down on 9-to-5ers for not living a wonderful & adventurous life. While 9-to-5ers look down on travellers for living a reckless unproductive life.

    The thing is, it doesn’t matter. Just like what you said its all about the experience, we all have our own paths. And what ever it is, whether in a cubicle or in the road as long as you find fulfilment in what you do then you are doing just absolutely damn fine.


  27. Jonathan Look, Jr.

    I think you said it. Flexibility and attitude is key to everything. Personally I don’t want to stop traveling but if forced to I could make the best of it. Maybe that is the best lesson from travel; learning about yourself wherever you go, or don’t go.

  28. Sally

    I know the sensation of deciding down after a more time journey and also the questions If I can just adjust and proceed from that factor. Well, sometimes it’s really not easy…Your guidance is the one which assisted me many times: discover positivity and motivation in everything you do.

  29. Victoria

    Hi Earl, these are deep thought. Is it the end of the world if I don’t travel? Probably not, but would I have fulfilled my destiny, pushed the boundaries, and moved out of my comfort zone? And that’s the question. I have always been “different,” “nerdy,” “crazy,” etc, and I’m OK with that but that wasn’t always so.

    Travelling had to happen because my mother was a person who didn’t take lightly to conservative norms and people didn’t like it. She travelled. I’m a chip of her block but I used to be so shy. Travelling brought me out of my shell and made me who I am today: A confident-go-getter. My sky is the absolute limit!

  30. Steve D

    While noble, this sort of liberal outlook only goes so far. In reality it’s limited to a certain, relatively small segment of society.

    Suppose you were born to a homeless HIV positive heroin addict. How would “make the best of it” ring to you?

    What if you were a child in Hiroshima just before Washington dropped their atomic bomb, a young woman about to be circumcised in North Africa, or a penniless mother in a roaming Syrian refugee camp today? How would you “make the most of it?”

    None of us are safe from the ravages of life, but only a few of us are secure enough at the moment to even consider “making the best of it.”

    Keep it real.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Steve – I understand and agree that there are certain situations that would make it quite difficult to make the best of it. However, I do think there’s quite more than ‘a few of us’ who are able to make the best of it in the end. In my travels I’ve certainly seen some of the poorest people on the planet making the best of it, people in situations far worse than most of us who still manage to live a life full of happiness and kindness. So I don’t think this idea applies to as small a segment as you think.

  31. Matthew

    Earl you just summed up the reality of life: not everyone is going to get what they want in life, but with a positive attitude everyone can still be happy without getting the exact thing they want in life. And Earl you should really start writing motivational books 🙂

  32. Carm

    It’s always great to hear your thoughts Earl. I learned most of what I know about life and people while traveling. It just has this certain way of making you realize things that probably would not come across if you simply decide to stay idle in your little corner. I guess we all harbored prejudicial thoughts against non-travelers at some point but the more I travelled, the more I realized there’s also so much wisdom to learn from people who simply cannot live the way we do. I agree that attitude means a lot. There’s a lot of arrogant world travelers out there.

  33. Jaunting Jen

    Earl, I really love your philosophy. I travel frequently, but not all the time. When I’m not traveling I am dreaming about my next trip. Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on the present and not get lost in the future of possibilities. Right now I’m getting my license to teach middle and high school history as well as my Hatha Yoga instructor certification. I’ve had a hard time staying focused on those responsibilities sometimes, but after reading your post I realize that it’s ok not to travel right now and just enjoy my present. Thanks!

  34. Angeliki

    You are right. Besides, you can travel in your dreams. This you see while sleeping and the others, you make when you don’t sleep. There, you can travel eveyrwhere. You can meet perfect people. You can be happy. But you feel so great when you do travel…

  35. Nita

    What you’ve said is very true, Earl. If you have the right attitude, you can find peace and happiness wherever you are, and in whatever you’re doing. I’m sure many would love to travel more than they do, but when they can’t they really do have 2 choices – be miserable and bitter, or make the best of what you are and approach life with a better mindset. Anyways, this was thought-provoking and very wise!

  36. Shannon Ashton

    I agree with the sentiment you’re after “bloom where you’re planted.” The idea of being satisfied with what you have and where you are is losing steam in current public consciousness in western societies. It’s good advice to look for happiness where we are and not constantly be searching for it on “greener pastures.” But I’d also like to suggest it’s easier to come to this conclusion, that life is okay without travel, having already done so much travel yourself. If you’re keen to travel (and not everyone is) and haven’t had much opportunity it’s more difficult to arrive at this conclusion. I’ve also traveled extensively, the bug hit me hard as a university student studying abroad, and now that I’ve been so many places and travel has become a way of life for me and my family, I am only now able to feel like I understand how I could be satisfied at some point in a life without any travel.

  37. Bryan

    I don’t know. I try to approach each day with a positive attitude, but the mundane nature of a 9-to-5 makes it difficult. I find myself day dreaming of my next trip and my dreams. Reality then sets in of only 3 weeks off a year to truly live. It’s a depressing thought.

    1. Danny

      Amen to that. And how about the mundane 7pm-6pm, or 8pm-9pm that I and many of my colleagues face here in rat-race city? And my occasionals 7am-midnight? I think the same way you do. I know this is not “the attitude” that Earl talks about, but sometimes I feel good confronting reality, understanding that it is suboptimal, and being really frustrated at it. It gives me the drive and energy to do something to make it better. As long as the “bad attitude” is followed by action, I see it as a good thing. This is how our greatest accomplishments are born.

  38. coco$u

    If travelling is what makes you happy, then do your best and go travelling! If playing with your grandchildren in the backyard truly fills your heart, then go for it! It is only YOU who decides what makes you happy. I think we have only one life and it is our duty to make the best out of it!
    Be happy and make the people around you happy!

  39. L

    Thanks for this post, Earl. I definitely needed it and just wanted to share a bit of my own perspective..

    I ‘discovered travel’ when I moved abroad and fell in love with someone there. For three years, I immersed myself in learning about my new country, meeting people from all over Europe and spending all of my money on travel, both near and far. I had so many amazing experiences and I am so grateful for all of them. Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t last and I moved back to the US six months ago. I wondered how I would travel again, where I would move next and basically devising every way possible I could get out into ‘the world’ again.

    But then I rediscovered a passion that I hadn’t been able to pursue in the city I was living. I love to dance but had to put my dreams of doing so in a more disciplined, serious manner aside for living abroad. While I don’t regret it…I can see that there are so many choices we are faced with in life. Travel is the most incredible, eye opening thing out there and I cannot wait to start traveling again. But I also feel more fulfilled than ever before pursuing passions that I had to set aside for so many years due to lack of resources (both financial and cultural offerings) where I was living abroad. So I understand what you are saying – there are many many many parts of life that make us happy and fulfilled besides travel alone.

    Thank you again for such inspiring and genuinely written posts!

  40. Marco Fendrich

    Hi Earl,

    I agree with most of the message in your post of having the right attitude and therefore not necessarily having to travel. The problem in my eyes is just how to develop that attitude; I thought I had it while I spent some time in New Zealand, but after coming back home to Germany it got lost, because my environment did not accept it. For this to work, you have to have the possibility to grow mentally in your environment and in my opinion the easiest way to find this is travelling.

    “My travels have taught me to face the world with a positive attitude”
    The travels taught you, not staying in one place. I’m sure there are people out there, that manage to do it in a completely different way, but for many I think it is the easiest option as the others have harder and/or more specific requirements.
    When you get to the point that you have the self-confidence and experience to keep up your positive thinking, you can rest. But to get to this point it requires a lot of effort.

  41. Julie Kinnear

    I think, this is the article every “travel-addicted” should read. I know the feeling of settling down after a longer travel and also the doubts If I can just adapt and continue from that point. Well, sometimes it’s really not easy…Your advice is the one which helped me many times: find positivity and inspiration in everything you do.

  42. Lisa - Wee Wanders

    I love your quotes above and find them really inspirational. I think too often people are waiting for life to start (myself included) based on something that is due to happen whether that be traveling, or a new job, a move, etc. It’s good to be reminded that life is happening right now and to enjoy it and embrace it with the right attitude 🙂

  43. Rashad Pharaon

    In a sea of “THOU SHALT TRAVEL”s it’s really refreshing to read this post. It’s the absolute truth. Whatever it is we think we’re seeking is ultimately an internal journey, not an external one. Sure, travel can get us where we’re going, spiritually speaking, but it’s only one route of many valid options.

  44. Anna @ It Started in Asia

    Totally agree that attitude is the difference between being happy and being miserable. Sometimes it’s easy to take the ‘half glass full’ approach. Generally speaking it’s hard not to be drawn to people that are optimistic, rather than negative Nancy. Ten years of yoga practise as well as annual travel adventures has taught me this: to simply be in the moment. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less. And, this then spills over into being more ‘half glass full’. Well written Earl.

  45. Katie - The World on my Necklace

    Hi Earl, this article has really resonated with me. It can be a struggle to always be positive but you just have to keep on trying! I am currently based in a city I love (Sydney, Australia) and I have days when I am so excited to be in this wonderful place with so much to explore, then other days when I am just dying to hit the road again. I think it is important to live in the now and focus on the place you are in, build a life for yourself that suits you. If you hate working in a cubicle – who says you have to, look at a career change. Move to an area that you love, do activities that inspire you, surround yourself with amazing people and create a sense of belonging. I fully intend to keep travelling throughout my life but I also want to build a fulfilling life for myself here, a home. At least for the time being. Thanks again Earl.

  46. Scott Brock

    Great Post! I believe that your goals no matter what they will come about if you write them down. One of my goals is to visit every country. What if I come to the end of my life and only visited 123 countries? Am I a failure? No, Success is completion of a measurable goals, written down, with a completion date. Write down your goals and know where you are going. Because the forces in the universe will help those who know where they are heading.

  47. Debbie

    I have to disagree. For me, it is the end of the world. I am unable to travel internationally due to health. I have come home to die and I STILL try to find a way to travel close to home. Luckily, I have a son who will drag me around in my wheelchair. When travel is in your blood, not much else will satisfy. I waited until my 50s to start my travel. I wish I’d seen a blog such as this many years before that. I would not have waited to fulfill my dreams.
    If my son did not think it such a burden to collect a body from a foreign country, I’d try to go live somewhere and hire an assistant. I still find myself reading the travel blogs. Only now it is all about disability travel.
    When you’ve got the bug…it’s there to stay. You’d feel different if you no longer had a choice in the matter.

    1. Victor

      Julio, I think you are being extreme. He is not recommending not to travel, all he is saying is have a positive attitude and its not the end of the world if you cant travel as much as you may want to.

  48. Baylee

    I absolutely agree with your thoughts Earl! There are so many people that think that once you start travelling, everything will be great–there won’t be any worries. But, once something falls out of place or you have a bad experience, everything seems to plummet. I guess I was like that at a time, too, until I learned a few lessons that I won’t elaborate on here, and I realized that my attitude helps determine whether or not I see a trip as enjoyable and that I can’t have set-in-stone expectations for the future.

    Happiness comes from within–you really need to find it in yourself rather than a place if you want it to be “everlasting”. 🙂

  49. Brian Hill

    Earl, my attitude is always better when I travel, but then I don’t travel much. I wonder what my attitude would be if I traveled all the time? I wonder what my attitude would be if I never traveled? I guess when I’m home I need an attitude adjustment! Brian.

  50. Trevor

    And it’s also possible to see the paths we take internally, in our minds, hearts and spirits, through good, bad and indifferent, and through as many different combinations of those paths, as a type of travel in itself, the travel through our inner consciousness. I wish I could say it less flowery and straight forward, but if I was a super hero I’d be tangent man. Any I just got to thinking, after reading Earl’s great piece and you’re comment about the similarities between inner travel and imaginative travel, and actual physical travel, and it’s also dawned on me how lucky we are if we can have physical travel simultaneously with contemplative travel in the mind. I think I just sucked on some giant post modern pill lol. That’s what you get for studying both Philosophy and English in undergrad and then having lived as a expat and travelled quite a bit too. Is any of this making any sense lol? Ok, maybe I could say something kind of simple, if a great contemplative mind, say Hawking, Sagan, Einstein, or Douglas Adams we to have their mind totally removed from their body, and even still have less mobility to move physically than Hawking, say like the disembodied heads in jars of past famous people on Futurama, they might still have a more epic journey than I ever have or will. I think I should print out Earl’s post and stick in on my wall, perhaps at work, or perhaps at home, to remind me of the things I have learned, but still sometimes forget, about the amazing impact my attitude, has either positively or negatively, on every single aspect of my life.

  51. Sofie

    Hm. I’ve been following you for a while now and I always get what you’re saying. I get what your point is, why you take a certain stance or not. However, this time, I’m not sure I do.
    I think that I agree with everything you mean to say in this article, but I’m not sure as some of the phrases you use make me go “say what?!”.

    Let me try to explain:
    1. I totally agree that a positive attitude will get you far. It will make a lot of situations more pleasant, it will open the door to new opportunities and it will just make your life more pleasant in general.
    2. I also agree that people’s dreams evolve. What I want now might not be what I want in ten years, and so in ten years I might not regret it when I haven’t done now what I want to do now.
    3. However, say that I want to do something really badly now, but I don’t because I chicken out or because I’m lazy or because I don’t have enough confidence or…, then I’ll still be able to be happy, be positive, have a good life, BUT I will look back at this time later in my life and say “I wish I had…”.
    I think there’s a clear distinction between dreams that evolve or are replaced by others and dreams that remain in the back of your mind unfulfilled.

    Fiiuuw, I hope I was clear:D

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Sofie – I see your point but I think that if you don’t achieve something that you really want now, but you have a positive attitude, instead of regretting it all later in life, you’ll have found a way to be fully satisfied with whatever did happen in the end. I really think the right attitude almost eliminates those deep feelings of regret because you are excited or at least you fully appreciate all of the experiences in life, even the mundane.

  52. Silviu-Florin

    Great article…as many people fall into depression thinking that travel only means going around the world. It is really about the experience of a journey, it does not matter the destination or the length. It is ok if you do not travel, as long as you find everything you need to be happy close to home…

  53. Mike of Mapless Mike

    Very inspiring words of wisdom, Earl. Everybody should read this – traveler or not. Approaching life with a positive attitude is something I try my very best to do. Overall, I believe people are positive, caring, and good. I always say that the only way that you can guarantee a positive outcome is to be positive and be nice to others. Obviously outaide factors apply, but if you’re negative, those outaide factors will compound the negativity.

    I’ll be leaving to teach English in Spain this September and will be carrying that positive attitude along with me as I deal with the ups and downs of expat life.

  54. Alana

    That’s really true. Attitude make such a big difference in any life.

    I once spent the weekend with my grandmother not long after my grandfather passed away and she told me her plans as a widow. She wanted to visit Branson, MO once more, had 2 more paintings in mind that she wanted to work on… She had plans. Two weeks later, she passed away unexpectedly.

    That really changed the way I viewed my life. I hate the thought of dying before I accomplish my goals. I’m very goal driven and I have strategized how I will achieve them. If I’m not achieving or working toward achieving my goals, I feel like I’m stuck in a rut and not taking full advantage of the days God has given me, and my attitude tends to go sour.

    Still, if I died tomorrow, honestly, I can’t complain. In the grand scheme of things, I have no reason to have a bad attitude. I have a great family, great friends, a job I actually like, a great church, and a wonderful God. I’ve really have a great life. Truly. When I view things from that angle, I can’t help but smile.

  55. Hannah Wasielewski

    This is great! I am currently living in Brazil and live in an extremely small town. Sometimes, the cultural differences get to me and I start to miss all the options that big cities have. However, it’s all about the people you surround yourself by and finding things to do that you love. When I ignore the negatives of a small town and start enjoying the fact that I’m living my dream abroad, everything is better. It’s all about perspective!

  56. Chris

    You’ve become a philosopher, my friend, and one whose words are backed with knowledge whereof you speak; not so common these days of “from the mouth to the page, before thought.” It has been a joy and a treasured inspiration to follow your blog for several years and see it evolve into so much more than….”here I am now.” Without intending to, you have become a role model for growth and compassioned action, however it manifests. Bravo, and many thanks.

  57. selina

    I agree it’s not the end of the world if you don’t travel….but my thoughts are if you really really want to,you will find a way….if only in your mind…You are right life gets in the way,however, having traveled quite often and now not being able to due to a family member’s terminal illness….travel is always in my mind ….Like in Ireland bellyn up to the bar with 5 elder men just having an exchange of pleasantries…I think of often…..other interesting people like in a not so nice situation with some middleastern pilots and being a women….in Rio no doubt….still such a cool experience not knowing what would happen next…..all ended well….but one needs to do and as much as you can….so you will not have any regrets…you certainly are quite an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your experiences……..very kindest regards,selinao

  58. Steve C

    Earl, I can’t refer to you as “Grasshopper” anymore. Yer da Master! Your thousands of Blog followers just received the basic mental elixir of life, and you were the dispenser. You’ve earned the right to say: “Listen to Me”!

    This attitude crosses all boarders. You are a wise man.

  59. Tanner Colton

    Hey man, I really enjoyed this article. This is something I find myself struggling with a lot and I know I don’t always keep these attitudes in my daily life. I think somewhere along the line I told myself that the life I live in between adventures was just filler time, empty space between the robust experiences I find traveling and doing other things. This has often lead to me being depressed, annoyed, or just generally feeling melancholy about “everyday life.” Reading your article and hearing your ideas has given me a lot to think about and a lot to strive for. Thanks so much. Have a great day!

  60. Melanie

    Great post. Particularly as I am contemplating different routes of action to take at the moment. Traveling long-term is definitely at the top of the list, but this is a great reminder to take a step back and realize that the power is in the journey, not the destination — which can ironically mean staying in one place!

  61. Shaun

    Dude! this is a great article. I’ve echoed similar thoughts. “Most people just want to be happy and healthy with family and friends” but this article articulated it so much better. With this approach good sir, you’ve already won at life.

    Attitude in life may be the biggiest piece to happiness. Simply, positivity creates and it creates a lot. Ideas, intrigue, laughter, learning, the list goes on.

  62. Jude

    you’ve put into words what i’ve been thinking and believing in for quite a while now. Can’t control the direction the wind blows, but you can always adjust your sails 🙂

  63. Quade Baxter

    Well said. Attitude really is the biggest factor that effects everything in our lives.
    As for travel. I was a traveler, then for years I was not. 5 years back I had a trip of a lifetime( well up till then) and what it did for my attitude of life in general was magic.
    And now living a vagabond life style, my attitude is great( almost always). The people you meet as a traveler are always good for my mood, travelers are a special sort of person most of the time.
    I am currently staying in a house in Croatia with a bunch of Germans, where hardly any English is spoken, and I know even less German. And there is no frustration with any of us, its all part of the travel attitude.
    Again, great post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *