Does Long-Term Travel Have an Expiration Date?

Does Long-Term Travel Have an Expiration Date?

I recently overheard two women conversing about how a friend had gotten back into the dating world and one of her suitors was a surfer who spent half the year working in the States and the other half of the year surfing in Bali. In a nutshell, and the point of my story, is that both of the women had a strong opinion about his lifestyle choice.

“I know lots of men like that. That sounds fun, but if he is doing that in his forties, there must be something wrong with him.”

As this conversation carried on, I thought to myself, “That doesn’t sound like such a bad life to me!”

I guess it took me a little by surprise that not everybody would want the nomadic life of freedom. Or that somebody would judge another person because they choose to be a beach bum in paradise for half of every year. Sounds horrible, right?

I got to thinking about it and I wondered how other travelers felt about this subject. I personally pushed my travel dreams aside and attempted the “take over the world” mindset in my early twenties instead of pursuing my dreams of traveling the world and experiencing different cultures. I ended up owning two homes by the age of 24 and was well on my way to building a nice little nest egg for retirement. All the while, dreaming of the day I would be able to sell all my possessions and travel. This accumulation of material items left me feeling miserable and completely unfulfilled.


Does Long-Term Travel Have an Expiration Date?


At age 25, a course of events took place and I was forced to change my life drastically. I sold everything, with not much left after the market took a dump, and did some soul searching. I traveled a few months through Europe and took every other opportunity to take trips to places I had only dreamed of and ultimately made travel a priority in my life.

A few years after my new life realization, I met my dream guy who felt the same way as I do about travel. We now enjoy traveling together often and we are taking huge strides toward becoming digital nomads for the rest of our lives. This takes me now to the ripe age of 31, and planning to begin our long-term travel adventures at the age of 32.

So while all my friends and family are getting married, having baby showers, raising children and settling down, I want nothing of the sort. I’m not sure if I want kids. And to be honest, if I did have kids, my goal would be to take them on our travels and give them experiences that I didn’t have as a young child. Ultimately, I don’t see myself settling down and living in one spot. I get excited about the thought of living in different places for a few years at a time.

I find it interesting that many Australia and New Zealand work abroad programs have a cap off age of 30 and 35. This leads me to wonder, “Am I too old to start doing this now?”

But when it comes down to it, even though I sometimes feel like I wish I had focused more on travel throughout my twenties, the reality of it is that I’m a bit wiser and more mature now than I was in the past. I know I will take more away from a long-term travel experience than I would have in my younger days.

So my question to all of you travelers… Does long term travel have a shelf life or an age limit? Is there a point where you would think to yourself, “What am I still doing wandering from place to place?”



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  1. So, uh, not to be the umpteenth person to shout “of course not!” but… of course not!

    I’m a fairly young vagabonder but have been doing this to some extent my whole life (my parents, despite the mortgage and family, are pretty avid travelers too… my dad spends half the year living in Africa while mom holds down the fort, and for awhile they would switch off staying home with the kids or simply drag us along) but sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever slow down.

    But regardless, I’d say the way we travel probably evolves as we age. While my stamina for long bus rides is pretty good right now, by the time I’m 40, I may prefer to do like that surfer and camp out in one place half the year!

  2. Scott - Ordinary Traveler says:

    @Sabrina – I guess it all depends on where you are in life and if your willing to go it alone if necessary.

    @Jessie Yes, I too find as I get older I just can’t do some of the things that I used to like, pass out on planes or bus rides without “help.”

  3. dtravelsround says:

    I don’t know if I could travel permanently. After almost seven months of backpacking, I was ready to come home. However, I think if I was doing long-term stays around the world and not hopping around all of the time, I could definitely stay out longer. I’m heading back out in about a year for an undetermined amount of time. Will let you know if my long-term travel has an expiration date. 🙂