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What does long-term travel do to your mental health?

When I look back at what we have already seen and done, I really have to shake myself up again. What are we making again fantastic trip, this time by America! It has become so normal for us to travel a lot and for a long time, but of course it is anything but... It makes me realize once again that traveling for a long time and a lot does something to you mentally. Time for a reality check: what does long-term traveling do to your mental health?


Plan your vacation to America here


Our journey through the United States and Canada

This article is part of a major one-year journey that we (Chris and Malou van Wereldreizigers.nl), are currently making by the United States en Canada† We started in New York City and are through Washington DC en Baltimore (where we shipped our RV), first traveled south (Florida) and then made a full round of the country.

Organizing this trip took a lot of time and energy. So we had to US B1/B2 visa of one year and we spent weeks working on it renovating our 4×4 camper† Then we got to work on the RV to America to ship and in hindsight it turned out to be a Dutch vehicle insurance in America to be one of the biggest challenges.

When that was all over, we could finally focus on the anticipation: figuring out and planning all the beautiful places we want to visit. I built the ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada of roughly 50.000 kilometers in Google maps and we are now making our dream come true! The interactive map can be viewed below.

More blogs from our trip through America and Canada

We are lucky

Discover new places and make new friends
Discover new places and make new friends

Also read: US East Coast Highlights – New York to Key West | Roadtrip USA (19)

We regularly (video) call home to keep family and friends informed and it's the little things that make you realize that we really are two lucky bastards. I mean…

We are lucky - and sometimes we leave the ANWB?
We are lucky – and sometimes we go out of the ANWB?
  • We let the sun ☀️ determine our rhythm of life
  • We haven't set an alarm clock for three months ⏰ more
  • We live in roughly 12 square meters all this time?
  • We see nature as our backyard ⛰️
  • We're still not arguing ?‍❤️‍?
  • We spot the sweetest and beautiful animals ?️?
Seeing wild animals has become normal because we live much more in nature
Seeing wild animals has become normal because we live much more in nature
I mean, don't you just melt away when such a cute critter comes to say hello?
I mean, don't you just melt away when such a cute critter comes to say hello?
  • We wake up in the most beautiful places?
  • We don't have to travel to work anymore?
  • We do what we feel like every day ‍♂️
  • We still work as Digital Nomads but decide for yourself how and when?
  • We take a lot of afternoon naps?
  • We hardly watch or read news anymore?
  • We've left group apps for even more peace of mind?
  • We have crossed off several bucket list wishes
  • We make intensely beautiful walks?
  • We meet great new people and make new friends ?
  • We need to generate solar energy for our power station, shopping and filter water / arrange… Actually it is… ?‍♀️

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Difficult to comprehend for stay at home

For most people in the Netherlands ?? it's just hard to comprehend what it's like to live like that. And that makes sense.

Waking up at a river in the mountains – it's normal for us

Because we used to be busy setting alarm clocks, keeping full agendas, working, gardening, cleaning, shopping, keeping appointments, cooking, exercising, answering 100ths of apps every day and so on. And to think we don't even have kids? for which you also have to do 100-thousand things?

Waking up while the first rays of the sun shine through the trees
Waking up while the first rays of the sun shine through the trees

Also read: Staying calm and positive during your World Trip | 6 Tips

It's just hard to imagine what it's like to wake up just before the sun comes up, to boil water to make a cup of coffee and just stare aimlessly in front of you. While the first rays of the sun shine through the trees or shine over a mirror-smooth lake. In all silence. It has become normal for us.

Sunrise with a cup of coffee on a mirror-smooth lake
Sunrise with a cup of coffee on a mirror-smooth lake

Get out of that rat race

And that is such a huge contrast with the Netherlands. Life in the Netherlands is just another rat race that never ends. After a day of running you prefer to plop on the couch to exhausted Netflix? turn on. That feels kind of normal until you step out of it completely ➡️ ... Then you look back and then you suddenly think: How in God's name have I kept up all this time? And why do we do that to ourselves?

Dead quiet - except for some birds and crickets. Staring out in front of you without a goal.
Dead quiet – except for some birds and crickets. Staring out in front of you without a goal.

I really don't miss that busy life at all. What I do miss are friends and family – it's not for nothing that we call home every week.

Traveling makes you mentally stronger

It's a huge cliché to say that traveling changes you for the better mentally, as well as as a person, but it really does. Every time I come to a different place in the world, I take a piece of that experience back home and in my head. My doings have changed enormously in the past 15 years.

Push your limits. Both mentally and physically.
Push your limits. Both mentally and physically.

Whether it's about taking better care of the environment (learned in Asia), or being satisfied with what you have (learned in Africa), or whether you should especially be nicer to yourself (taking rest) and others (from what origin, skin color, religion or whatever). You learn the latter almost everywhere in the world.

What you also learn during a long journey is to mentally put insecurities away from you. To worry less about what's to come. Of course, anything can go wrong, but there's no point in worrying about it. We trust that we will find the solutions when needed.

Gain new experiences and make new friends
Gain new experiences and make new friends

Traveling does a lot more for you mentally than you think. You learn a lot about yourself, to deal with unfamiliar situations, but also to deal with others. Gaining new experiences. It's much more than just taking beautiful photos and sharing them on social media.

Take that from me!

Also read: 10 reasons why a trip around the world is good for your career and future


Plan your vacation to America here


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Chris

Owner of Wereldreizigers.nl † Discover the world!

✔️ January 2021 - Friesland
✔️ February 2021 - Dordrecht
❌ March 2021 - Hard lockdown
✔️ April 2021 - Roadtrip Switzerland
✔️ April 2021-Elsloo, Friesland
✔️ May 2021 - Eijsden & Maastricht, Limburg
✔️ May 2021 - Breda
✔️ May 2021 - Achterhoek
✔️ June 2021 - Mallorca, Spain
✔️ July 2021 - Roadtrip Croatia
✔️ August 2021 - Roadtrip Slovenia
✔️ August 2021 - Kenya Tour
✔️ September 2021 - Round trip Uganda
✔️ October 2021 - Ostend, Belgium
❌ November 2021 - Home
❌ December 2021 - Home

➡️ 2022 - 1 year United States & Canada

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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Chris

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