I think I am going through a mid life crisis. OK, most people look at me don’t think I am old enough to have a mid life crisis. However, I just celebrated my 38th birthday in Yosemite.
For a while, I’ve wrestled with my thoughts as I’ve traveled this past year. I had a very emotional and exciting experience writing a college football travel series for Expedia. I learned some very important life lessons from that series.
However, I’ve never viewed my travels as a mid life crisis – until now.
This will be the most personal travel confessions that I’ve ever shared.
A Jekyll and Hyde traveler
Recently, I read a travel interview with Andrew McCarthy. Never had I found someone who experienced travel and life like me.
Like Andrew, I am introverted and quiet. I travel alone because it challenges me. It makes me uncomfortable, makes me feel alive, and helps me discover who I am.
I am a Jekyll and Hyde sort of character. At home, I am a quiet, boring, unemotional, insecure person who lives a simple life and works a 9 to 5 job. On the road, I am an outgoing, passionate, emotional person who takes chances and feels everything.
When I am traveling, I am not sure if I am running from myself or embracing who I really am.
Maybe this is what the mid life crisis thing is all about.
Shocking revelations from my early travel adventures
I hiked up the mountain looking out over the Tyrolean valley lying peacefully beneath the Austrian Alps. I sang songs as the tears fell. This moment was both beautiful and sad.
The year was 2004 and I was halfway through a month long trip to Europe. I loved the excitement of being here – just like I did when I went to Estonia in 1995. This trip was a gift to myself after my divorce was finalized in April.
After 6 years of marriage, I was done. I was so bitter and lonely that I didn’t know if it was better to live alone or suffer through a life I hated. My life was hell.
This trip to Europe was both my escape and my torture. At 29 years old, this wasn’t a mid life crisis – but it was a crisis.
In 1995 I visited Estonia on my first international trip. I was immersed in a culture and country so different than my own. I fell in love with an Estonian girl (sort of) – and travel.
I was a sophomore in college. However, at the end of the trip I sat down with a guy named Pete. Of the 40 people that went to Estonia, Pete asked two of us to live here for a year – as missionaries.
Back in those days, my career path included a couple of different options – become a pastor or a missionary. I chose neither. I got married before I finished college, took a job working accounting and IT, had 6 horrible years, lost hope in life, and hated who I was.
During those years, I moved from South Carolina to California, got divorced, and remember lying on my floor sobbing in April 2004 as my dog licked my face.
In May, I traveled internationally for the first time since I visited Estonia in 1996. I haven’t stopped since.
Travel confessions from a mid life crisis
I’ve been to 18 countries and 36 states. As a traveler, that seems like a low number.
In 2009, I began my travel writing career with articles about news, destinations, deals, and other stuff. Maybe that was the start of my mid life crisis but the writing was so impersonal.
In 2010, I started my first travel blog because I wanted to write about the travel from a personal perspective. My writing style and content have evolved over the years as I now write about personal travel stories, destinations, sports and travel, hiking, and travel guides as my personality bleeds through everything I write.
My travel experiences are very personal. Traveling touches areas of my soul that my regular boring life doesn’t encounter. That’s why I identify with Andrew. That’s why I become alive, passionate, emotional, and daring.
I just went on my first ziplining experience. Years ago, I may have never done that.
I’ve cried in Austria…and Dublin, Paris, Italy, Miami, Portugal, Spain, and around big men in kilts.
If I visit a place and don’t have a memorable personal experience, my trip was a failure. I don’t care about hotels, airlines, or what I ate. That’s not travel to me. My best travel experiences are the people.
Traveling is very personal to me. It’s the Jekyll and Hyde part of my life that challenges my very being. There are times I hate traveling. There are times I love traveling. However, rarely was a trip just OK – even if I say it was.
So if you want a real, personal, and sometimes emotional travel experience, join me on my journeys.
However, there are times I just hate carrying a camera and taking notes. The life of a travel blogger and social media can take you away from the travel experience.
Sports is my passion. People I meet on my travels are my soul changing experiences. Hiking is my escape.
My life is such unorganized chaos I average about 5 hours of sleep a night. I get so stressed and burned out in life, I quit travel blogging for a week or so every few months. Maybe I need more travel vacations without writing about travel.
I am insecure, emotional, quirky, awkward, passionate, engaging, mysterious, crazy, and lonely. I have unbelievable highs and soul crushing lows.
Welcome to my life of travel. Welcome to my mid life crisis.
Not traveling this life alone
I am not the only one to share travel confessions. Pete and Dalene have shared a series of travel confessions. Matt knows what it’s like to have a mid life crisis in your 30s. It’s somewhat comforting to read another Jeremy’s confessions from a traveling male.
Sometimes I want to go to so many places, I get frustrated. Other times, I just want a break from traveling.
I’ve thought about quitting this traveling blogging thing completely. More recently, I’ve thought about quitting my job and traveling.
If that’s not the definition of a mid life crisis I am not sure what is.
I am a Jekyll and Hyde that needs to travel. Travel confessions aren’t comfortable and they aren’t easy. Ironically, I am a private person who rarely talks about my life, what I am thinking, or what I am feeling. It’s hard for me to let people in.
Yet I can’t stop traveling even if it deeply penetrates my soul in ways that make me want to cry, yell from mountains, experience tears of joy, or just quit altogether.
Welcome to a travel mid life crisis.
Have you ever encountered a crisis or life changing moment when traveling?