Halfway Home

By Nomadic Matt | Published October 19th, 2011

halfway home midpointSix months ago, I embarked on my last round the world trip. It won’t be the end of my travels, but simply the beginning of a new chapter in my life – one filled with shorter trips.

It’s hard to believe that time has passed so quickly. It feels like only yesterday that I was exploring Sweden and Norway. The clock has moved so quickly that I feel little has been accomplished over the last six months. Yet, at the same time, so much really has. I celebrated turning 30 in Greece, fell in love with the Ukraine, went to Oktoberfest, lost my passport, tried finding Dracula in Romania, returned to Copenhagen, met tons of other bloggers, and made countless friends.

I guess that’s a sign of a good time: when you feel as if you have accomplished very little and so very much at the same time.

Looking back on six months in Europe, I’ve gotten to visit many parts of the region I never saw before. But I also got to have one last hurrah as a Eurotripping backpacker. This is my last time spending months on end traveling Europe. I think of all the adventures I’ve had here over the last few years and say to myself, “Well, if I do one more summer I can go here, and there, and over there.” But that’s just me thinking up reasons to extend something I know I’m ready to move on from.

As I watch so many young travelers on their first adventures with a gleam in their eye as they discuss how they are going to come back next year, I do get a little sad. Hanging around so many young people keeps me young, but it also keeps me from growing up. I just want to live in this post-college, carefree age forever. I am constantly envious of these young 20-somethings. I want to come back, too. I want to be that carefree again. It’s like that line from the movie Dazed and Confused, “I get older but they stay the same age.” I don’t need to grow up when no one else is. But things change, and I’m ready for some change. However, sometimes you do miss the life you leave behind.

In three weeks, I’m off to Asia and I’m getting increasingly excited about it. I would have left for the warm Southeast Asian sun already, but there’s a big travel conference in London in November that I want to attend. But after that, Southeast Asia and I will be reunited.

It has been almost two years since I was last in Asia, and close to five since I traveled around it. I’m looking forward to this final leg of my trip because, after visiting Europe every summer for three years, I’ve grown very accustomed to it. It’s become too “normal” for me. Just like my trip to Latin America, I’m looking forward being somewhere where I don’t feel completely “at home.” I want a little uncertainty. I want to get a little lost and confused. I want something new.

In a few months time, “the end” will be here.

But, for now, I’m just going to simply keep moving.

comments 33 Comments

You do feel old after a while, this was my second summer and albeit fun… The initial “wow factor” just isn’t there, wish it was but it’s not. That said, glad you made it to Ukraine, one of my favs as well.

When I start my journey next year I’ll be about to turn 30! I’m only planning a couple years of travel though, then hope to settle down for a bit. But who knows! :)

jan@budgettraveltalk

Hi Matt, Staying in one place at home will be like an adventure for you! And after a while if it becomes mundane you always know you can hit the road again. Best of both worlds Matt.

Age is just a number Matt. Keep enjoying your travels. Its fun to read about your experience.
You accomplished a lot, don’t you forget that.

wow, v poignant matt. You may slow down but i’m sure you’ll never stop – safe travels in Asia =)

Matt

Hi Matt, just wondering what travel conference it is you’re heading to in November in London?

NomadicMatt

I’m going to World Travel Mart from Nov 6 to Nov 10

yea raya one you hit north of 30 its time to slow it down a little

Don’t worry about age. 10 minutes ago I met an awesome couple in their 60’s who were full of energy and excited about starting their own long-term-travel adventure. They might as well have been 25! :D

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ~ Mark Twain

I am very new to your blog so I can’t say that I’ve read a lot of your material but I’d like to ask why you are so stressed all of the time? Is it because you spend so much time on the computer when you should be spending that time in the mountains? Or is it because you’re jaded?

From reading what little of this blog I’ve read you always seem to be in a big hurry all of the time and stressed. Why are you in such a hurry? You make more than 4 grand a year independently, have your own schedule and can essentially do whatever the hell you want! Take your time and enjoy yourself! Here’s some of my advice that I’ve posted on another blog recently:

I feel that when one travels there needs to be a reason behind it. So many travelers I meet that get burned out are the ones that just wander because they have no idea how to live their lives; they
just travel to travel. But for me personally I travel to learn languages, rock-climb and summit mountain peaks and have been doing it for years. Guess, what? I NEVER get tired of it because I am always accomplishing something, always learning and always finding something new (all mountains vary
in technicality, topography, difficulty and flora and fauna…not one mountain is
the same as another). As you can see I’m an outdoors kind of guy and I believe that humans were meant to be out in nature because 99.99999999% of our human history revolved around being surrounded it. This is just my opinion, but after seeing hundreds of churches, statues and history museums I feel that I never have to see another one again.

Most importantly TAKE A BREAK FROM THE COMPUTER. Human beings are not meant to sit in front of a computer all day. I understand that bloggers need to make money but don’t become a slave to checking your blog and twitter seven hours a day; your readers will understand! Spend several days computer free in a small town in the mountains with fresh air, I guarantee that you will feel a million times better.

NomadicMatt

Really? I don’t think I come off as stressed in this post at all. I don’t feel stressed. I was just reflecting on my half way mark. To be honest, I feel great. If I anything I’m more over backpacking than travel.

…sorry 4 grand a month*

Looking forward to hearing about Southeast Asia!!!

climberjane

Everyone sounds sad to hear that you are on your last trip, but in the end you are just changing your priorities in life, which for a lot of people is why they start travelling in the first place. At the end of the day as you say you aren’t over travelling you are just over backpacking, and I don’t blame you. It’s sometimes one of the nicest things to have somewhere to go home to no matter how long for or where you are. At the end of the day travel is in your blood and you’ll always do it, just maybe in a different style and for a different length of time.

As with many people when they go travelling it is so nice to lock all your things away in your parent’s garage or a storage place with your old photos, favourite sofa and childhood heirlooms…and just get on the road to escape one way of living and embrace another, but then it is just as nice coming back and it feels like Christmas again when you open all the boxes up and the memories that come back are just like looking through your holiday snaps but they are triggered by lifelong collected belongings no matter how worthless.

People say that posessions aren’t important but if you think about it travellers wouldn’t want to give up their photographs that remind them of their great memories and adventures just as I wouldn’t want to sell or give away my grandmother’s ring or my favourite piece of artwork no matter how long i was going away for.

I hope you enjoy your last trip round the world and settle somewhere wonderful for a while so that you can have the best of both styles of life.

Maybe see you in Southeast Asia in from New Year’s onwards if you are still there…i’ll be doing it on a motorbike so if you see me say hi! I’ll be the one on my own with a silly grin across my face as I embark on my first biking adventure.

NomadicMatt

I’ll be in Southeast Asia from November to end of Feb. Maybe our paths will cross!

Jen

Hi there!

I recently came across your site and I love all of your advice about starting out with travelling, which is something I definitely plan to do. I am currently teaching english in Korea actually for a year, and I’m at the halfway point. I am looking forward to travelling awhile after my contract ends. Are you still in asia, if so what part?

NomadicMatt

I’m in Thailand at the moment. I’ll be traveling around Southeast Asia until March.

i guess age is just a number matthew

Hi Matt,

I’m a travel blogger from Singapore. Are you coming to Singapore by any chance? Would be great to meet up and maybe grab a couple of beers. Safe travels in the meantime.

NomadicMatt

I may come around March 2012 before I fly back to the US.

Hi Matt,

Turned 30, eh? I did too, this year… and man, these youngsters party like it’s 1999! Of course, none of the them get the reference (but you do, I hope).

After all, they were, like, eight years old then.

And you don’t sound stressed to me. My wife and I gave up on backpacking a few years back, and our style of travel has changed. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately: the concept of “slow travel”, where you spend a month getting to know one place, then moving on.

A lot of younger backpackers are constantly on the go (I certainly was) which is fine. And so is slow travel. They both achieve the same end: see new places, experience new things. That’s what travel’s all about, right?

Congratulations on making it halfway. Look forward to hearing more.

-Adam

NomadicMatt

I get the reference! I’m old enough to remember 1999!

I make save by the bell jokes and they are like what is that?!

LOL – there’s one line I remember Zack saying:

“I love school. It’s a great way to kill time between weekends.”

Which – in lot of ways – is how I feel about being home. Just spent two weeks in Silicon Valley (where I’m from, originally) and MAN was I ready to fly to Nicaragua by the end of it.

Now for the all-important question: Jessie, Kelly or Lisa? ;)

Sometimes I think, when I will see all countries which I want, what I will be doing? Start the second round? ))

Katharina

Just came across your blog. Enjoy reading you :-)
It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing lately.
But all fairly new to me.

I am in Koh Samui at the moment, prob check out Koh Tao next and then thinking of going to Bali for a bit. All in the open, but get in touch if you like, be cool to have a drink and chat somewhere :-)

I definitely hear you on this one Matt! My travel style has definitely changed a bit over recent years, but I’ve accepted it (mostly). I just like different things now. Anytime I feel myself starting to be remotely jealous of those young 20 year olds, I remind myself that they will be just like me in a few more years; I’m just responsible for doing what I enjoy in my own style at this moment and time in my life with no regrets. I am still constantly working to find a way to have it all though–work and travel. I want a “stable” life with roots but I’ve never wanted a normal boring life. It’s definitely a love-hate relationship, but hopefully, somewhere in the middle of that tension I will find a place of balance!

Oh and P.S. about growing up….Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is now 37, almost 40! AHHHH!

Mate you have been travelling full on for a long time. Travel is awesome but gee it can be tiring also. I reckon the rest will do you well and probably give you a refreshed view on what and where the next adventure will be.

I knew that feeling entirely. when you need to break out of your comfortzone, and get back to a place where your not sure whats going to happen. Its weird even though I have been in asia for the last 6 months. I just took a trip home to the UK, and rather than feel nostalgic I more thought about how much opportunity and excitement is available to me in Asia. I enjoy your blog Matt

Amanda

Oh man, I’ve been poring over your blog all day — it’s fantastic. I’m considering backpacking alone through Southeast Asia this January-February, trying not to become overwhelmed by nearly everything… your blog is incredibly helpful for assuaging the anxiety. Maybe I’ll see you blogging somewhere and can say what’s up and thank you in person. Happy travels.

NomadicMatt

A million and one people backpacking Asia alone. You’ll be fine and you’ll make amazing friends along the way.

One of my big regrets when I traveled around the world – skipping Southeast Asia – only a few days in Bangkok to whet my appetite! Can’t wait to get back out there!

Would love to do a round the world trip , maybe when i can afford the time off work.

Simonne Macadam

I discovered your blog right before my trip to Paris – at the beginning of the year and roughly followed your guide for what to do there. Now, I’m in South Africa and am about to head to Peru with my gransfather. I came across your site again while planning it for some inspiration and have tried to read every single blog post since then – which is near impossible, but a lot of fun. you don’t seem to have done any traveling to Africa though. You have stuck to Europe an awful lot – which fun to read about after reading your views on the same places I went to – but Africa is an amazing continent that shouldn’t be missed before you settle down to a quieter life.

Just some thoughts from a naive 18 year old nearing the end of her gap year.

Simonne

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