Saturday, May 27th, 2017

I’m Going To Miss Things.


Image: Werner Kunz

I leave for Asia three weeks from today.  I’m incredibly excited, freaked out about earning enough money on the road, and overwhelmed at the things I still need to do!

Being away from October through May is quite a long time — much longer than my four-month semester in Florence.  And while I am thrilled beyond belief to be avoiding another Boston winter, I’m starting to realize that I’m going to be missing quite a bit at home.

The two most obvious things I’m missing are Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But frankly, I don’t care for either of these holidays and would be thrilled at the chance to skip them, so I’m happy about that.

Then there’s Oscar season.  Every year, I try to see as many Oscar-nominated films as possible, read every article about the Oscar nominations, then publish my predictions and enter lots of pools.  I’ll be sorry to miss my tradition this year, but I’m not upset about it.

I’m coming home just in time for my close friend Alexa’s wedding, but I’ll be missing the bridal shower and possibly a Vegas bachelorette party (unless they wait until Memorial Day weekend, when I’ll be home!).  I’ve already promised to Skype in for both.

So I didn’t feel like I was missing many important events at home in Boston.

Then Jon Stewart announced the Rally to Restore Sanity, taking place nine days after I leave for Bangkok.  And it hit me —


If I were at home, I’d be flying to DC for the day and storming the mall with all of the other reasonable people of America!  There’s no question that this event is going to be huge, and I’m so sad to be missing it!

I know that this is only the beginning.  As soon as I hit the road, more and more major events will be taking place at home.  Events that are much more important than a rally, and that I’ll be much sorrier to miss.

But considering what I have in exchange — a life of travel, my greatest dream — I think it’s a fair trade.  I might be saying something else further down the line, though.

Long-term travelers, tell me: how do you deal with missing major events for the sake of your travels?


26 Responses to “I’m Going To Miss Things.”
  1. Kristian says:

    It is indeed an issue. I’m very close to my parents, so missing Christmas is a big thing – I missed being home for it in 2006 for the first time ever when I was in Canada, so I did what most travellers would do and ended up in a party until 7am on Boxing Day. The year after I was still in Canada for my parents’ 25th anniversary, but I went home for the weekend (!!) to make sure I didn’t miss that.

    Next year when I go away I will again be missing Christmas, and now it will be my parents’ 30th anniversary but given I will be in Australia I don’t know what I’ll do about that. Then lesser things – I’m obsessed with Formula One racing, but for the first time in my life I might have to miss a season or two. And thats not to mention various weddings, etc. the crop up over the course of 20 months.

    As you say, long-term travel is a good pay-off for these ‘inconveniences’ – there is absolutely nothing worth doing in life where there is still no sacrifice of some sort. I look at what I’ll be doing instead- New Year’s Eve in Sydney or the 2012 total eclipse in Cairns. By not travelling you are still making sacrifices in a way…

  2. Adam says:

    It was definitely tough for me. I’m a HUGE sports fan, and I knew it would be really difficult to not go to any ball games (I even missed the All Star Game in St. Louis, which SUCKED) for an entire year. I also missed my college roommate’s wedding in Vegas, the comeback of my favorite band, and the other myriad of things I get used to going to every year.

    The one thing I had to keep telling myself was that these things always happen, I’ve had my whole life to attend events like this and will have the rest of my life to go to events like these.

    But how many times will I get to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat or Macchu Picchu? How many times will I get to spend nights in a Vietnamese bar drinking buckets with new friends from across the globe? How many times will I get to wander the weekend market in Bangkok eating new and amazing food?

    And now that we’ve been home for almost a year and firmly back in the routine of never missing things we love, I can say that I miss those times from our trip WAY more than the random things I missed about home while traveling.

    Just realize that you’re doing what so many people want to do, so dwelling on things you may be missing at home becomes a bit trivial. You will miss many things while gone, but you’ll get over it quickly, and most of those things will still be there next year.

    • Adam, when I was studying in Florence, the Red Sox won the World Series. I was okay with not being home, but I can only imagine what some of my friends who were huge Sox fans were going through!

      • Adam says:

        That’s funny, I was in the stadium when the Sox won the WS. Ugh. 🙂

        But yeah, that would be a tough one to miss if it was me. Not sure what I would have done if we were traveling and one of my teams had a chance to win a championship.

  3. Antonia Pittman says:

    Funny!!! I’m going to Thailand Oct 15 and won’t make the Rally to Restore Sanity. I’m also missing a couple of concerts while I’m away. Inevitably, this always happens when I travel. I just tell myself that the experiences I am going to have are way more valuable to me than the things I’m missing. I don’t know if this is ALWAYS true, but it makes me get over it. I can’t have my cake and eat it too!!!

  4. Laurence says:

    Generally I feel that the travel benefits far outweigh what I may miss back home. In fact, it kind of makes the time back home, visiting friends and family, all the more important and “worthy” when it does come around.

    The main exception to this rule is friends getting married. I’m at that age where just about all of my closest friends are getting married, and this is supposed to be an event that will only happen once in their lives, so missing it because I’m on the other side of the world and can’t afford the air fare is a really tough thing to do. Not really figured out how to get round that one as yet…

  5. Candice says:

    I am ALWAYS the same way before leaving but trust me, once you get there and you’re doing your own thing…you’re like meh, I’m in freaking Asia, bitch. I considered calling off my Atlantic Canada trip before I left, but now that I’m here, I’m having an extremely hard time leaving again…BIG adventures ahead!

  6. Andi says:

    Haha, I adore you!!! I would be sad to miss the Oscars too. I heart JS. 🙂

    I know you’ll miss things, but it’s so freaking worth it.

    We’re both be traveling at the same time, YA!!!

  7. Kelly says:

    I looked for other “big” things to do on the date of the thing awesome things I was missing at home. Missing a killer music festival in Ontario? I went whale watching in Kaikoura New Zealand. Christmas and New years? Went on a 10-day road trip around the South Island that included a helicoptor ride, kayaking and caving. My birthday? Went for a Thai Massage at Wat Pho in Bangkok (HIGHLY recommended). Being gone for 18 months was ridiculously hard at times, but I knew that what I was getting in exchange for my absence was totally worth it.

    • Massage at Wat Pho, huh? I’ll have to remember that one when I get to Bangkok! 🙂 Thanks!

      • Kelly says:

        Do! The temple is considered to be the birthplace of Thai massage. There is usually a 20-40 min wait, but you can put your name down then go wander about until your time comes up. Plus, the massage space is air conditioned, which is a plus in its own right lol HAVE FUN! =)

  8. adam says:

    Yeah, it’s tough missing the little things. It’s especially tough when you see all your friends getting together and you get glances at what they’re doing together through Facebook. But in the end, it’s all rather easy to stay in touch so after the initial shock, you get over it! Plus, you’re abroad. And that’s awesome.

    • Aww, I didn’t think of that. I at least hope my friend waits until I get back to have her bachelorette party in Vegas! I planned the timing of my trip on purpose — I would HATE to miss that!

  9. Jenny says:

    yeah. It sucks missing the little things. You have to remember all the amazing things you’ll be doing though and understand that it’s a compromise. I missed the holidays and all the Chrismas photos were without me that year… kinda hurt my heart a bit, but life goes on.

  10. Michael says:

    I’m really excited to hear about your money on the road experience and how that shapes up. Sorry if I missed it but have you broken it down yet at all how you plan to make money. Picking up jobs or just your web ventures? What’s your main lodging going to be, etc. Thanks

    • Hi, Michael — I haven’t broken it down. So far, I’ve been freelance writing and selling ads on my site. In September, I made enough to support myself for a month in Asia…but half of that was gobbled up by car repairs.

      I’m really hoping I can keep it going. My budget in Asia is about $30/day, not including special trips/visas/local flights.

  11. Dee says:

    My husband and I missed many things during 10 month RTW travels. I missed my grandpa’s death/funeral just 1 month into the trip. To be part of the gathering I told my mom on the phone we were going to drink a straight shot of vodka in his honour on the day of his funeral. (as he loved to drink his vodka) She then had the entire gathering also do this at the funeral, even almost at the same time as us.

    For Thanksgiving, we were really craving a straight up homestyle turkey dinner but were in Germany at the time and couldn’t find anything like that at any restaurants. Luckily we were using a family’s empty apartment at the time so we went to the grocery store, bought a turkey and all the fixings and cooked ourselves a traditional thanksgiving meal. It was awesome!

    For Xmas, it was a bit hard as this holiday is very important in my family. But we did manage to get through it much easier then I thought before we left. Just a couple weeks before we made friends with some other travellers and made plans to meet up for Xmas to celebrate together. We were in Koh Tao, Thailand. Found a place serving a turkey dinner, then spent the night playing card games and drinking. It was a great time and surrounding ourselves with some awesome people really helped.

    We also attend a music festival here in BC, Canada every summer like it’s a religion. But we were in Europe during it last summer. We just made sure to be doing something equally cool at the same time by attending a big week long music festival in Italy with some friends we were travelling with at the time.

    The only really big one time only event we missed was the 2012 Winter Olympics were hosted in our home city Vancouver while we were in Thailand. It was hard to miss this one time event and still is today when we hear about the stories of what it was like to be here during that time. In Thailand they didn’t even know what the Olympics were, thus it was impossible to find anywhere airing anything… esp the hockey!!! (important stufff in Canada!) To top it all off Canada did SO GOOD in all the events and we were not there to support it and even worse there was so many free events with amazing music acts that we also missed. We managed to download some torrents of the opening cermonies, and some of the hockey games. But really had to live the patriotic moments through our friends facebook status updates. This was the hardest thing to try and replicate on the other side of the world. If we were in a country that was participating in the Winter Games I’m sure it would of been a way different and better experience! At least at the time we were staying in the small quiet town of Pai that to this day we still miss! =)

    • Dee, I couldn’t imagine missing the Olympics if they were in my hometown! I love the Olympics and live for them!

      Being abroad when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 (as in for the first time in 86 years, as in the event Red Sox fans from kids to the elderly had bee waiting for their entire lives) was sad. Not for me as much, but some of my fellow Bostonians in Florence were genuinely crushed.

      I love what you did in honor of your grandfather…I bet he was pleased! Thanks for sharing your stories.

  12. Annie says:

    It is definitely hard, although I will say for me it was easy at first. First, I just wanted to be abroad and of course I love and miss my family and friends but I was living my dream!

    As things have changed more drastically at home; my nephew started school and my niece getting yet another year older, all of my friends graduated and moved out of our sorority and got real jobs, and missing Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncles this year, things are starting to get to me more now.

    Being away I have started to fear that I’ll be forgotten, I don’t want people to go on and have fun and do things without me; I don’t want people to forget that I’m not there.

    I think that you have to weigh the pros and cons. You have to realize that you could either be there for all those things (probably things you’ve done before) but that you would still be dreaming of your life of travel. You will come home with stories to share and stories to listen to, instead of everyone having been together and already knowing the story. And you’ll surprise yourself by making new traditions with new friends and new events that meant something to you while you were abroad!

    There is always some give and take, unfortunately we can’t have it all. The only thing you can do is be there in heart, send your love and know that in the end people understand what you’re doing and that it’s something that will change your life.

  13. Lissie says:

    After a while even if you stay home you miss stuff! I have friends and family around the world so “home” becomes a more flexible concept – I am going to see my brother and his family for the first time in 5 years – but frankly having Christmas overseas is now more the norm than abnormal for me. Once my mother died I made it a habit of being far away at Christmas – though I still resent the cost of airfares in December!

    • So sorry about your mother, Lissie.

      A very good point — you do miss stuff all the time, even if you are at home. Honestly, at the moment I’m a bit miffed because my friend’s wedding is the same weekend as both my five-year college reunion and TBEX ’11 in Vancouver. WHY are they all at once?!

      • Lissie says:

        Oh it was a long time ago Kate – I guess travel is one way to create new traditions – I should wrie a post about odd places I’ve had Christmas 🙂

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