Why Travel Won’t Solve Your Problems

In Life

Running away was easy; not knowing what to do next was the hard part. – Glenda Millard

A Friend Of Mine 

A couple of months ago, a good friend got in touch asking for some advice.

She had fallen into deep depression and was going through a rough patch in her life. She was no longer passionate about her job, had lost contact with her closest friends and found it difficult to find excitement in day to day life.

She asked me whether going travelling with her issues would be a good idea.

She thought that by travelling for a year, she would fix her problems through new experiences and her life would improve upon her return home.

This got me thinking.

I know a lot of people who hit the road trying to run away from problems, only to find that the same problems remained when they returned home.

I am one of those people too.

When I first went travelling, I set off with the intention of trying to find my calling or passion in life. I was confused, didn’t know what I wanted from life, and was running away from my problems rather than dealing with them there and then.

In hindsight my plan to solve my problems didn’t work and I want to use the rest of the article to explore why travelling with problems isn’t the best.

Travel Will Not Solve Your Problems

With so many opportunities for new, novel and wonderful experiences, travel can be very dangerous indeed.

In the spur of the moment, you pack your problems in the wardrobe, lock them up for a year and set of on your world adventure.

And at first it’s exactly like you expected. Like an impulse buy, travel gives you that short-lived gratification you had been graving.

You put on your goggles, and fall into your little travel bubble, where life is dandy because you’re meeting lots of new people and having many great. experiences.

It feels good, very good…………………………………. temporarily.

But sooner or later, there comes a point when reality smacks you in the face.

And it hurts.

That moment you were dreading before you left has arrived. You’ve run out of money and you’ve got no option but to go home and face your issues.

You’re back to square one, or “real life” as some call it, and once again, you’re standing in front of that wardrobe ready to reopen the problem.

The problem is still there and it hasn’t changed.

You tried to mask it, that didn’t work and now you’re now faced with that “now what?” moment.

Confront Your Problems First, Then Go Travel

Just like an expensive purchase, travel will only gratify you in the short term, and is a quick fix therapy for your problems.

It’s not going to cut it.

At some point, unless you work hard and get incredibly lucky to turn travel into a sustainable lifestyle, your resources will dwindle and you’ll come back full circle to the place where you began your adventure.

Instead, confront your problems first, and only travel once you are on good terms with yourself and your position in life.

You’ll find much more joy in the experience when you’re in a good head space, because you won’t have the issue subtly picking away at you in the back of your mind.


Travel is a life-changing experience, and you’ll encounter many new experiences on the road, but it’s certainly not a medicine for your problems.

The world is a big playground, and yes there’s space for you to hide, but eventually the smog will clear and those problems will creep around the corner and confront you when you least expect it.

Thanks for reading and all the best,

Daniel Beaumont, Sunday 24th January 2016

About the Author

Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.

I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.

I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.

Your turn…

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  1. Dan, I appreciated your viewpoint on this issue. You surprised me — pleasantly — with your conclusion. And I totally agree that travel doesn’t solve problems.

    I think the issue is a bit more complex, mostly because “problems” — at least those of a major nature — are not so easily resolved. If we waited for a complete resolution, we might never travel. Rather, an iterative approach could be used. Short-term travel can provide a broader perspective on personal issues and maybe, just maybe, provide enough temporary relief and/or “distance” to come back and address the problem head-on. Then travel again.

    If, as you say, travel is NOT the solution, then I would like to see you address in a future post what you think the other alternatives are to dealing with personal issues. Therapy? Writing/journaling? Talking with friends and/or trusted advisors? Talking with complete strangers? (Yes, that last alternative is actually realistic in some situations. I once got a perspective from an “almost total stranger” that I felt was quite helpful.)

    • Hi again Ron,

      Once again, i’m really grateful that you take the time to comment, it means a lot to me.

      Thanks for the kind comment. I do agree with you that it’s much more complex than a problem… there’s a whole variety of circumstances other than the “problem” which will dictate whether a person should go and travel or not. I really like your idea of an iterative approach… A continuous, trail and error approach, maybe mixing both travel and home, is better than fixating on one or the other.

      Thank you for the prompt for future posts. I’ve taken note and certainly will address that question in a future post. Thank you so much for your input, and hope to see you in 2016.

      Much love, Dan

  2. Disagree! Think it depends entirely on the severity and type of issues you are running away from. For example with social issues, a lack of confidence or direction I think it can work wonders. Also there’s a lot to be said for packing your negativity into a wardrobe and addressing it later when you are in a better frame of mind!

    • Hello Luke,

      Thanks for your comment. I do agree with you, it’s a lot more complex, and depends on the issue at hand. Travel can do wonders for things such as confidence and social issues, however, i argued the case of not going travelling based on the context of the story of my friend’s depression. I guess the question i was trying to get to was, in the case of depression, would you advocate travel? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and thanks for taking time to comment.

      All the best,


  3. This is a very interesting issue that can be debated easily both ways. I’ve been struggling with depression on and off for 12 years and I can honestly say; there’s nothing that makes me feel better and more able to take on the world, and my issues, than a bout of travelling. Call it running away or whatever you like but travel helps me get in touch with why I enjoy being alive so much quicker and easier than therapy or pills. In 2008 I got so badly depressed that I thought about killing myself for the first time in my life. I started therapy and went on anti-depressants. I’d just finished uni and couldn’t get a job, my friends were really worried about me. One of my friends was overseas and told me to meet her there. So I just took a second shitty waitressing job to save. Even the act of working towards something made me feel better, even if it wasn’t the shit-hot career I’d been hoping for. So I went to South America for 6 months and it was honestly the very best thing I could have done. I came back feeling on top of the world and ready to get a job. And I did. And I’ve never gone into a hole that bad again since.

    You are 100% right that you need to confront your problems, yes. And when you’re travelling you have to continue to confront them and push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you struggle with mental health your entire life will be spent trying to find ways to be happy. That’s the reality of it. But if you’re in a real bad rut, I say Go Travel!

    Crystal recently posted… How to Kill a Man with Your Bare Hands

    • Hi Crystal,

      First of all i really appreciate your comment, it means a lot to me that you took the time to write – thank you.
      I totally agree, it can be argued from both stand points and there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong which is why the issue is so interesting. Thinking more about the article, i think i should’ve included that it’s not so much yes and no, and that a decision should be made on a case-to-case basis. There’s far too many variables at play to be able to put everyone’s problems into one box.

      I can really resonate with your depression period… i too was struggling a lot (not to the extent that you were) and travel was a very good get away for me. It gives you the opportunity to learn a lot about yourself. I’m really impressed by your courage to fight through your depression, not to mention your courage to get up and go to south america. Good on you, you are an inspiration to many other people out there!

      What have you got planned for 2016? Any travel?

      All the best, Dan

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