So you have been diagnosed with the travel bug. As with any illness there is a lot for both you, your family and your friends to come to terms with, time is the only way to do this, ideally a lot of time. With this illness you will experience feelings of freedom, excitement and adventure. These new sensations may be scary at first, but you will learn to adjust and may ultimately end up embracing these new feelings.
It is important to understand that your condition will continue to deteriorate to the point that you decide to cash in your chips and take a chance on a big adventure usually involving an extended period of travel. There will be awkward social interactions where your unwillingness to settle down in your “box in the sky” will elicit many questions.
Below is a cross-section of the questions you can expect and should be prepared for. Included are explanations to these questions, these answers may or may not be considered acceptable to your audience but will at least capture some of your feelings.
What about your job?
Jobs like countries become transitional to the sufferer, to be an experience enjoyed but not to identify or define the sufferer.
Is it expensive?
Sadly this can be costly, and one that neither national healthcare nor any medical insurance plan covers. The good news is that you can tailor your treatment plan to accommodate your available budget. With some creativity you might even be able to find ways of supplementing you budget, a word of caution this can lead to other ailments such as kijiji-itis or eBay-nfluenza.
What day will you be in Machu Picchu I would like to meet you there?
There is a common misconception that travel bug suffers will know their exact whereabouts on a given day. Friends and family often want to check in on the sufferer, but may be flummoxed by their vague plans. The plans are not vague to discourage visitors, in fact sufferers relish seeing friends and families. Patience and flexibility is required, if given this the sufferer may be able to narrow down a week and a country.
Is it dangerous?
Following the urges the bug creates may lead to all sorts of misadventure, but it is infinitely safer and more healthy than resisting those urges.
Do many people suffer from this?
More than you might think, the majority of people have the illness to some degree. The more severe manifestations that see people travelling for prolonged periods of time are slightly less common but far from rare. The bottom line being that you should not feel like a social outcast.
How do you know what to pack?
Many have fallen foul to the notion that practical is better, and end up looking like poor Bear Grylls wannabes. The smug satisfaction that you feel while your 18 way zip off pant/short/helicopter/capri/skort combo dries in a fraction of the time it takes your neighbors jeans to dry, will evaporate faster than the sweat on your tech fabric when you go out in public.
So you will just be on a beach for a year?
The common concept of the two-week package holiday is often (not always) centred around the beach, it seems fairly certain that a beach or two will play a role in any given episode, but as these trips are typically more adventure than relaxation, it is unlikely that they will have the sole starring role.
Won’t you get bored?
Of course, there will be mundane days spent doing laundry and filling out paper work in triplicate at border crossings. However these symptoms are typically short-lived and only serve to accent the following days adventure.
Will you miss me?
Often asked by friends and family, of course we will, so come visit us, just don’t expect exact coordinates too far in advance.
Who will you go with, won’t you get sick of each other?
The travel bug is not a communicable disease however if you are lucky someone close to you will have the same affliction (a problem shared is a problem halved after all). You will likely have frequent extended periods of time that the bug will take you and them to far flung parts if the globe. There obviously can be no guarantee of harmony, studies have shown however that 99% of days will be spent blissfully arseing around in other cultures.
What will you do when you get back?
The eternal question that plagues many a sufferer towards the end of an adventure, the advice here is simple, unless the answer is immediately obvious worry about it when you get back.
Will you ever “get better”? Is there a cure?
The prognosis is rarely a good one, the most you can expect are prolonged periods of normality where the bug will lie dormant. During these periods your bank account will typically grow as will your dissatisfaction with the mundane, there will come a point when both these factors will re-trigger another bout of the bug.
We hope that this guide has been some comfort to you. It is however highly recommended that you seek out the support of others struggling with this condition, these groups can be found all over the world in remote beach towns, desert oasis, historic old cities, tranquil forests and idyllic mountain retreats.