Travel Blogger Quits Travel*: Why I’m Moving to Hampshire!

My post title might be a tad misleading (click-bait, much?*) because I’m not quitting travel exactly. But I am a little bit. After months of confused uncertainty, umm-ing and ah-ing over every decision and trying to figure out exactly what the “right” thing for me to do was, I’ve finally snapped and taken (slightly) decisive action. This full time globetrotter is swapping life on the road for life at home, at least for the next few months. This week I’m moving into a shared flat in Portsmouth, as a gateway into what will probably wind up being a permanent move home to the UK.

Oh my bloody gosh, commitment! Because it feels like such a huge step, I’ve only gone for a short term rental for now. Four months to be exact. But at the end of those four months I’m probably going to commit to something longer-term – once I have a better feel for the area and a bit more certainty about the future. For the first time in years, I don’t feel like I’ve got my life on hold indefinitely. And that’s a nice feeling!

*sorry! 

Why I’m getting off the road (for a while)

So why the big move? Anyone who looks with envious eyes at the exciting jet-setting life of a travel blogger may well be wondering why I’d come home to England and start paying rent here when I could just hop from beach to beach forever. With my laptop as my office, it would be pretty easy to live anywhere, or to keep on travelling forever.

But that’s not been the healthiest thing for me, and judging by the posts I’ve been reading on other blogs, and the conversations I’ve had with other bloggers, I’m not the only one noticing the negative effects of life as a digital nomad. There can come a time when full time travel stops feeling wonderful and fun, and starts feeling exhausting and lonely.

Travel blogger settles down

My happiest travel memories are always the ones I’ve shared with friends…

Facing a choice…

For far too long, I’ve tried to have one foot in each world. Trying at once to be a full time traveller living on a budget out of a backpack, and at the same time to be a full time travel blogger, making a real career of it and making enough money to actually live off. But you can’t do both, or at least I can’t. I can’t be both things simultaneously.

When I’m travelling, I don’t work enough. I get distracted by new places, I battle with WiFi, and I put everything off. That means while I’m travelling I don’t make enough money to ever think about saving any of it up for the future.

More than that, I really miss having the stability and community that being in one place for a while gives you. I miss having a group of friends I can see on a regular basis, having a social life. Meeting new people all the time is fun, but for me it just can’t beat spending time with the old friends I already know and love.

travel blogger settles down

Travelling solo can be both amazing and horribly lonely, at the same time.

And just to fill you in on the reality of my glamorous jet-setting lifestyle. Between trips, I live at my dad’s house. I’m currently 29 years old and sharing what was once my teenaged bedroom with a spare set of bunk-beds and a buggy (for when my billions of nieces and nephews visit their grandad). I have a single bed, and live surrounded by boxes of my old possessions which can’t be unpacked because I don’t technically live here. In Weymouth I don’t really have a social life, and when I’m at dad’s I regress into a stroppy teenager because I feel as stressed and trapped and moody here as I always did when I was 17 and itching to get out.

Everything about my situation feels temporary, and I’m always waiting for the next trip. Meanwhile, my personal life – social, romantic, basically everything outside of work and blogging – has just been put on hold. So it just feels like the right thing for me now is to “settle down”and actually start living fully, instead of living from trip to trip.

Am I Quitting Travel?

Not really! I will still travel – just in smaller doses, with a home to come back to in between. I’m done with the really long trips, at least for now, and I’m also done with the back-to-back press trips of last year. It was the whirlwind year of travel – 120 odd different beds – in 2016 that made me book my backpacking trip to Mexico. The idea was to stay there indefinitely, but almost as soon as I arrived something felt amiss. I adored Mexico and I was having loads of fun, and I was loving the backpacker lifestyle as much as I ever have. But something felt off.

Isla Holbox Mexico

On Isla Holbox in Mexico

Part of me was just… tired of it all. I feel like such a spoilt brat even thinking that, but there you have it. There really is such a thing as too much of a good thing. There comes a time when travel just becomes a bit exhausting, even while it’s still fun. I missed my friends and family, but it was more than that. I missed stability. And much as I love solo travel, and love my new-found single freedom, there are moments when I feel profoundly lonely. I’d like to at least be open to the possibility of meeting someone to share my life with – and surprisingly enough that’s not very easy when you’re in a new country every five minutes.

For months I’ve felt directionless and lost, drifting from idea to idea. I knew I had to commit to something, but I was waiting for that thing to drop into my lap, waiting for the plot twist to come along and tell me what to do. Life doesn’t work like that. Sometimes you need to be a sassy post-1990 Disney princess and take matters into your own hands! No more waiting around to be rescued or be told what to do: I had to make a decision and stick with it for a while. To focus on my blog, and on a gentler, more immersive style of travel. To focus on a higher quality travel over a vast quantity of trips. And to focus on myself for a bit too, to actually carve out a life for myself outside of this blog and my love of travel.

Wish me luck!

About Emily Luxton

An award-winning writer and travel blogger on a mission to explore the world through deeper, more intelligent travel. Seeking out adventure, cultural exchanges, food experiences and more as she attempts to get to know the world. Lover of the great outdoors, sunsets, good food, and the odd bit of luxury!

34 Comments

  1. I love your honesty in this post! Totally with you on the regressing into a stroppy teenager living at home too. I’ve just moved back in with my stepdad at 24 after living away from home or travelling since I was 18. It’s strange, it feels like home but also the still packed up boxes and suitcases makes it feel like not.
    Travelling in small doses from the UK is a fab idea – so many places in Europe are easily (and cheaply!) accessible for a long weekend or more.

    • Thank you!! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who becomes a teen when they’re at home. Always squabbling with my brother or getting moody with my dad. Once you’ve had total freedom like travelling, coming back home can feel kind or stifling – despite the fact that I of course love my dad and have loved having free rent and storage here!

      Really looking forward to the next chapter of my life as a travel blogger, and intrigued to see if I can make it work! Thanks for reading Rhiannon 🙂

  2. Good for you – I could never travel full time. Hope it all works out for you !

  3. I felt exactly the same a couple of years ago. One the one hand, I loved being a digital nomad and the freedom that came with it. On the other hand, I just wanted to have somewhere to switch, be calm and settled in. I’m still finding the balance, and if I’m at home for too long I get itchy feet and want to run away again. But honestly, the best way to work on my blog and business has been to spend time in my own home and focus.

    Good luck on this new chapter! I’m sure it’ll be awesome.
    x

    • Thanks so much Elizabeth 🙂 I am really excited about it. I need balance in my life and full time travel when you’re a blogger sort of feels like being at work 24/7. I feel like I have to constantly be switched on and interesting, and none of the travel feels like its “for me”. I want to have a place to come home to – and also a place to actually have a life in between trips. Plus I really think I’ll be more focused and hard working if I have actual bills to pay 😉

      Thanks so much, hopefully see you soon x

  4. Hear hear to all of that Emily. It’s easy to feel like an ungrateful pessimist when all these feelings surface but the nomadic lifestyle does take a lot of work and has it’s share of stresses as well as all the things about a life in one place you miss out on – the instability of it all got to me in the end too! Good luck with the move to Portsmouth! I’ve been eyeing up the south coast somewhere too, what made you pick Porty? 🙂

    • Thanks so much Peter 🙂 I went to uni in Southampton and have a few friends in the area, so I knew I wanted to pick either Portsmouth or Southampton. Southsea happened to be cheaper so that won for now!! Plus its only 1hr40 to Gatwick by one train, and pretty reasonable for Heathrow. And only one train to London too!! Nice and close for all the events and trips without having to fork out insane London rent prices 😉 Really looking forward to just having an actual social life in between trips for a change. I just want to see my friends without having to organise it months in advance!

  5. I totally feel you reading this! I’m excited to spend more time at home too 🙂

  6. There is definitely something to be said for having a permanent space of your own. I think it will be great for you!

    • Me too. I’ve found that I really need to spend a few days digesting each new experience before I can turn it into a good blog post – so it’s important to have a space to come back to after a trip so I can do that!

  7. ahhh its inevitable. believe me. such is life but travel is still rewarding. 🙂

    • Indeed it is! I think it’ll feel even more rewarding once I have a home in between everything – looking forward to that! Then each trip will feel even more special 🙂

  8. Well done Emily – quite a momentous decision, but made for all the right reasons, so I wish you the very best of luck for the future.

  9. I do not know it is coincidence or what – 12 hours later I will be on a 21-hour flight to Thailand but I feel the exactly the same way. I have lived in North America since 2006 and it has been 11 years. I went home in between for a year or two. After 11 years living abroad on my own I finally get my Canadian permanent residence, started full-time traveling, even went on a self-organized press trip to Winnipeg in short 7 month.

    Now my long-term South America trip is three month away, and I moved heaven and earth to get my family support, to learn Spanish, to get my visa issue sorted out (I need to apply for visa to every country to do my nationality). I assume at this stage I could, at least feel a sense of relief or joy, but you know what? All of sudden I just feel so exhausted, exhausted like I ever felt before,to the point I am not sure I want to do the South America long-term anymore. I barely had weekends off for a year, and although I live in Toronto and travel inside Canada, ever since I started travel blogging there is not one time I could not get the most out of my trip, and I had to cut my blogging hours to go out.

    Traveling and full-time blogging is freaking exhausting and I feel it could be much easier to get a 9-5 job and have a family and travel during the paid annual vacation, but is that the life we really wanted? Is that really worth it? I do not know.

    • Aw Julie I’m sorry you’re feeling this way too – especially with such an exciting trip coming up. You’ve been saving and planning for this for a long time so I’m not surprised you’re feeling exhausted! It’s a pretty big step and quite overwhelming I’m sure.

      I hope that in a few months time when it’s time for your trip you’ll be feeling better. My advice is to ease up on the blogging for a while, focus on making the most of your last few months in Canada. You don’t know when you’ll be back so get out and enjoy it. And assuming everything is more or less ready for the big trip, maybe stop doing any planning for a bit.

      South America is such an incredible continent. Once you get out there I’m sure you will feel more excited about it all 🙂

      • Thanks Emily! I think part of it is because I have a home base or really not a home base (I am renting a room) in Canada and I really miss it there. Thailand is great but for me not being back in Asia for 3.5 years is a huge culture shock. I am also trying to be ease on blogging, but it has not been easy for me yet. I think we both need to slow down. Like other comments mentioned – most travel bloggers have a home base or an expat, and they travel for 20% and blogging for 80%. Travel and blogging at the meanwhile is exhausting, I tried doing it in Thailand and you know how it goes 🙂

        • Good luck anyway 🙂 It is far too exhausting to blog on the go, I find I need a few days to take stock and process everything before I can write about an experience. Enjoy Thailand and try not to let blogging stress you out too much!

  10. Hi Emily
    I know you’ve been mulling this decision for a while and I’m glad you have now reached your conclusion. I wish you all the best for the next chapter in your life… sure you are going to be succesful whatever path you take!
    Best
    Nat

    • Thank you Nat! It’s been a long process – lots of indecision. I think I felt like I had to keep on travelling full time since that was what I was “supposed” to be. But it’s not really the case – and I can still travel plenty at the same time as having a home base. I have to put myself first and stop trying to be a travel blogger ALL the time!!

  11. My eldest son, just a bit older than you, returned from 10 weeks in Southern Africa recently. While not a blogger, he certainly is the family ‘nomad’ having spent the majority of his years since school away from home and mostly out of Australia.

    He said to me he is sick of youth hostels, and being kept up by partying. And like you, sees the need to be immersed rather than touch the surface with people and places. He craves deeper connections.

    And he seems to have found his place in Broome, Western Australia, arguable the most isolated palace in Australia!

    So good for you to take time to pause. You may be surprised by the good that could come of it.

    • Wow, Broome is one of the most isolated places he could have picked! I have a friend who lived there for a while and he loved the place, but he said it’s a million miles from anywhere!

      I think I am getting a bit too “old” for the party backpacker scene. I was never a huge fan to begin with, I like a party but only every now and again. And for me travelling is more about exploring the place rather than meeting other backpackers and drinking! Definitely needed to take a pause and start living a “real life” again at the same time as travel. I think if I travel less, each new experience will feel special again. You need to have ordinary to compare the extraordinary to I think!!!

  12. Totally understand your point. Hope you’ll like your new life and enjoy travel again once you find more stability. All the best !

    • Thanks Louis! It’s only been a few days but I already feel much more calm and centred. Looking forward to my next trip – and to the fact that I have somewhere to come home to afterwards. Hopefully I’ve found the right balance!

  13. Love your honesty! I absolutely love travelling, and try and fit as much of it as I can into my 9-5 work hours (luckily, working in travel makes it easier!). I find I appreciate it so much, and while packing up everything and exploring indefinitely sounds fun, I think I’m the kind of person who likes to be able to come ‘home’ – it makes me appreciate my adventures a lot more, and keeps me grounded. Some people travel constantly for years and never want to stop, but everyone’s different. I worry that it makes me a ‘rubbish travel blogger’ that I don’t do that sometimes. So it’s refreshing to hear that I’m not alone in wanting to stay somewhere. At least, for a while…

    Also, Portsmouth is lovely, I lived there for four years! Such an easy place to live, if that makes sense!

    • Thank you so much Milly. I think worrying about being a “proper travel blogger” is one of the reasons I tried to keep going for so long. I wanted to be exciting and keep having fresh adventures to post about – and at the same time I was trying to say yes to all the business opportunities and press trips that came my way. It was all too much – and at the end of the day there is no “proper” way to be a travel blogger. Most of the more successful travel bloggers live somewhere, even if that’s abroad, rather than staying constantly on the road.

      You’re exactly right, having a base to come home to is a great way to stay grounded. I think it’s what I needed more than anything. I wanted a “real life” for in between everything – dates, friends, Netflix binges. All that kind of ordinary stuff, because that’s what makes travel so much more exciting when you have something to compare it too!

      Loving Portsmouth so far. It’s nice and big but small at the same time. And so close to London 🙂

  14. Enjoy Hampshire and don’t forget the Channel Islands in your travels. /Users/richardread/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/resources/proxies/derivatives/10/01/110f3/UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_110f3.jpg

  15. Emily I am so happy for you!!! (although selfishly, I wish you’d chosen Barcelona to settle in!) I think many travelers are finding they appreciate travel even more when they have a home to come back to. Let us know how it goes!!!!

    • Thank you Dalia! This has been SUCH a long time coming so it feels really good atm. Barcelona is still on my list but I just wanted to be in easy reach of my friends/family here. It’s been so long since I was in a place where I could see them all regularly!

  16. Congrats on the great clickbaiting headline 🙂 I can absolutely understand what you say about the need to have a home base. That being said, I only just discovered your blog for the first time and I am honestly amazed by it. In the endless sea of travel blogs, yours definitely stands out, both content and design-wise. Which in turn once again confimrs that it’s quality that matters, not quantity. Big thumbs-up to you!

    • Haha I was worried it would annoy people as I usually hate click-bait. But it’s partially true anyway, and I thought it was catchy!!

      Also, thank you SO much for your lovely words about my blog. I’d been having a bit of a bad week stats-wise, so you’ve really put a smile on my face. I am trying my best to produce more quality content. I love listicles as much as the next person but I want my blog to have more than that. Trying really hard to just be myself, be honest, and hope people like it!

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