Does someone in your life have the travel bug? Are they always moving around? Does it seem like they’re running away? If your friend or family member has the travel bug, you may feel confused. Maybe you miss them, or maybe you are worried about the path they have chosen in life. Maybe you’ve suggested they settle down, but they just won’t listen.
Here are some ways to cope with someone who has the travel bug. First of all, you should know it’s not an actual disease, but scientists believe it is genetic. Symptoms include frequent traveling, spontaneous adventure, and culture hopping. Someone with the travel bug may have a temporary job while they budget and save, only to hop on the next plane to Argentina, China, or France and be gone again. They may be afraid of a nine to five office job, the thought making them sweat. But a backpacking trip in Indonesia is anything but anxiety inducing. It’s exactly where they want to be.
Five ways to cope with a friend or loved one with the travel bug:
1. Stay in Touch
Just because they are halfway across the world doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from you. Give them a call, send a text or email. It may go to voice mail, but most likely they want to hear from you, too. The constant travel is exciting, but can be taxing, so the voice of a good friend or family member is often refreshing. Rather than leave them in the dark, keep in touch regularly and they won’t seem as far away.
2. Stop wondering if they are running away
A person with the travel bug may have different life philosophies than you, and that’s okay! They don’t want to stay in one place for reasons you may not understand. But they aren’t running away from anything. You are not the reason for they’re constant travel. They are not lost or unstable, but simply following a path less taken.
3. Know they are the same person
Unless they found Jesus on a spiritual journey, they are probably the same dork you always knew. They still want to sit on the couch and get drunk on chocolate and wine with you. Travel changes a person in many ways, but the relationship with family and friends is always important. A good old phone call may reveal new stories, but you’ll realize they haven’t changed in the important ways.
4. Be encouraging and supportive
Sometimes travel can lead to moments of doubt, posing unique stresses. Encouragement and support are key to their continued success as a traveler. They probably wouldn’t have the confidence or ability to travel if it weren’t for awesome family and friends, so be aware of the value you hold in their life.
5. Accept them
The best thing you can do is accept them for who they are. The travel bug will always be in their blood, there’s no going back. All you can do is love and accept this crazy friend or family member. If there’s a chance to travel with them or visit, do it! But beware, you may catch the bug! They will always love you, near or far, and will be thinking about you more than you know.