When Should I Go Home?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about when I should go home. I’ve been traveling for nearly 4 months now, some days I want to buy a ticket back home soon, other days I’m planning and figuring out when the best time to go to Africa is. When do I know when to home? I used to just think to myself: Well I’ll go home when I’m too homesick or when I run out of money, but I realize that it was just an easy way for me to say ‘I don’t really know when I’ll go home’.

The question of ‘when should I going home?’ has been weighing on me a lot recently because I’ve had my first real taste of home in Vietnam and now Japan. I stayed with a friend’s family and felt really welcomed in Vietnam, I had a lot of home cooked meals and spent the holidays with new friends and connections I made via the English school that they hosted and it made me miss home. Now in Japan, I have friends from back home who are vacationing here over their winter holiday break and hanging out and catching up with them has been a lot of fun and made me miss home.

Because of all this I started to think more about what my travel goals were. Why am I out here instead of back home? Am I just vacationing until I run out of money? Do I just stop when I stop having fun or is there a goal I’m going for? I’ve been mulling over these questions every day since the New Year and I’ve come to the following thoughts and conclusions that have helped give me a better perspective for the rest of my trip.

  • Originally I started traveling because I wanted to see and experience the world for myself instead of just consume it through media.
  • I also wanted to expand my perspectives, learn about how people live all around the world, and explore this planet (I feel like an alien when I say that, but I kinda like it)
  • Both of those things are still big motivating factors for me to continue traveling. I feel like I’ve already gained so much new perspective on the world and my own life in the past 4 months. I’ve also built a really healthy amount of confidence and self-esteem through my travels already. I can’t wait to utilize my new perspectives, skills and the confidence that I’ve gained on this trip to go back home and try to start my own business and build the life that I want.
  • I want to be able to tell myself that I traveled to every single continent on Earth.
  • I won’t have as good of an opportunity as I do now to do this in this future. My parents will only get older and may need care, and I’m only going to get older and feel more pressured to settle down (not due society expectations or whatever but just because that’s the life I want for myself and I don’t want to miss out on that part of life).
  • I think seeing the world would be a monumentally rewarding experience. It’ll teach me things and perspectives that I’ll benefit from for the rest of my life, and fuel my self-esteem and confidence during low periods of my life.

So after realizing all of that, I’ve come up with a more concrete travel goal. It’s no longer just that I’ll go home when I’m homesick or when I run out of money’. My goal is to visit a handful of countries on every continent, and I’ll go home when I’ve accomplished that.

I’ve tried to map out a detailed game plan for the rest of my trip but it gives me a lot of anxiety and makes me want to quit. It’s just too much to try and digest the whole world in one go so I’ll just stay flexible and take it one continent at a time. I do have a loose idea of my road map and if things go according to plan then this will take me until the end of November 2019. That’s another 10 months of traveling abroad and will make my total trip 14 months long. I’m really scared, I don’t know if I can do it, I don’t know if things will go according to plan. But I guess that’s part of setting a big goal and going for it, you don’t know if you’re going to succeed, all you can do is try your best to make it happen.

It’s weird, with all this set in mind, I feel like I’m starting another trip. I feel the same kind of scared/anxious/excited feelings that I felt right before I first flew out of California. Here we go again.