How to Explain the “Travel Lifestyle” to Your Friends and Family

We’ve all been asked that dreaded question at least once before: “so when are you going to settle down?” For most people, this question is just a segue to talk about a new job, pending engagement, pregnancy, or puppy adoption. For those who aren’t quite ready to settle down, though, for nomads at heart, or for those who are mixing “settling down” with travel, journeying the world with their families in-tow, this question is inherently more difficult to answer.

How in the world are we supposed to figure out ourselves, our wants and needs, and our own futures without having a more concrete answer to this question?

Well, everyone’s answer to this question is obviously going to be different, but here are 4 ways to explain your “travel lifestyle” to family, friends, and whomever else asks what’s going on in your life these days. You choose your favorite!


Photo via Flickr

1. It’s a way of finding myself that’s less conventional, but still equal in importance and difficulty.

One of the more admittedly difficult aspects of explaining your love of travel to family and friends who don’t quite understand is the need to seemingly justify your choices. Perhaps instead of settling down, you’ve chosen to travel – this is incredible for you, but realize that, for most people out there, it’s strange and unconventional. While some may not care, others may feel threatened or even a bit jealous that you’ve living in such an unconventional way.

While you can obviously choose your attitude (and whether or not you let the thoughts of others affect you), you can still hold your ground and convey the point that travel lifestyles are just as – if not more – difficult than other ways of living, and it’s still teaching you a whole lot about adulting.

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2. It’s a way to discover my place in the world.

Almost anyone who travels can vouch for the idea that, once you travel, you begin to realize more and more how big the world is and how small each of us really are in it. One of the best ways to find yourself, figure out the world around you, and find your own very small place in it is by traveling and exploring as much as possible. Some people may not feel compelled to travel that way, and some might – there’s nothing wrong with either method.

My place

Photo via Flickr

3. It’s a way to open my perceptions about people, places, and things.

Nothing causes you to learn about yourself and your perspective of the world quite like traveling. You’re almost constantly being pushed outside your comfort zone in many ways. Of course, these types of experiences change a person over time. If you’ve ever traveled extensively or lived abroad and then gone home, the difference can sometimes be shocking between the “old you” and the “new you.” But, all of this change does lead to growth as a person and world citizen.


Photo via Flickr

4. It makes me happy to undertake new adventures in a responsible, DIY way.

While there’s no doubt many different things you could be doing with your life right now, you’ve chosen to travel and be adventurous. If you’re doing that in a responsible, safe way, you’re learning more about the world and how to navigate in it than you would in many other lifestyles. For this reason, travel should be commended for the courage and strength it necessitates.

How do you explain your wanderlust to those around you? Please share your experiences with us in the comments section!