Does Too Much Travel Make You Jaded?

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One can only become jaded through experiencing life. But isn’t that what traveling is about? We seek, with a thirst for excitement and the rawness of new encounters.

By this very concept, then, with travel must come disillusionment.

Consider the stereotypical straight-from-the-movies hopeless romantic who no longer believes they will ever find their true love; that type who, due to experience, has lost hope and forever lives with cynicism (until, at the very end of the movie they find their match and live happily ever after…thanks, Hollywood).

Think of travel as a drug in which we’re constantly trying to relive that first incredible experience, hunting and searching for new ways to get there. At a certain point, we become travel junkies, having done it all but still thirsting for more.

At what point have we had enough? When have we had too much travel? Is there actually a point when things cease to amaze as much as they once did? Does travel ever become…routine?

Yes, I would be talking about long-term travel, although the same question could be asked of someone who travels short-term on a regular basis. Consider the backpacker versus the businessman who racks up 17 million frequent-flyer miles every year. Both travel (albeit in very different ways) and are thus actually quite similar.

I bring this up because, in just two days, I’m meant to be boarding a plane. I’m very much looking forward to what will happen after the plane lands, but I’m not at all feeling excited to be traveling again. And I’m not NOT excited. It’s just not as exciting as it once was. The thrill of travel is gone. Once upon a time I would be giddy with enthusiasm, overflowing with sensation. I recall previous domestic flights to Los Angeles, Daytona Beach, North Carolina, Washington DC…they were always so thrilling! Now, years later, a domestic flight in a completely different country? Yeah, you know, it’s cool.

My eyes don’t widen in the same way they used to.

So I ask you: Does travel make you jaded?

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About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.
  1. I definitely get what your saying. I like to think it hasn’t made me jaded but I can’t deny the fact that the magic traveling had in my first couple countries just isn’t the same anymore. Still can’t get enough of it though…

    1. You’re absolutely right. I still love it to death, experiencing new things and meeting new people. But the excitement fades after a while. It seems inevitable.

  2. I think it’s simple a case of having too much of a good thing. Of course the sparkle, just as it does on all things, wears off travel after a while.

    But unlike other things this way of life also leads to the most incredible out-of-the-blue moments you’d never otherwise expect.

    That’s why I’ll tolerate it!

    1. I never thought “too much of a good thing” was real! Loving every second of my new destination so, despite the fact that the allure of actively traveling seems to have faded, those out-of-the-blue moments keep on coming. And I love every second!

  3. I know what you mean Jeremy, I’ve experienced that too. Sometimes I travel because I don’t know what else to do or it’s better than staying put. Travel is like life, for a baby/kid, the world is full of wonder and mystery, but as we grow up this wonder turns to mundane facts, etc. That’s how it is with travellers too, I guess. 🙂

  4. It’s unfortunate, really. Now, after having traveled many, many miles, it’s hard to find the same thrill in travel. But we search!

    1. I think the mindset we who leap continents should keep is not one of the novelty of travel… after a couple times of crossing the IDL, jumping into tomorrow or yesterday starts to become pedestrian. What we have to keep in mind is that we are a movement of Indiana Jonses, not questing for artifacts, but experiences, cultural moments, tathatas, and other human beings that we form connections with, no matter how brief. The travel should be the dotted-line map cut scene… the true action happens in the exotic locale.
      Protip: Just avoid demonic temples full of Nazis.

      1. I love the way you put this, Nic! And you’re right, the actual act of travel shouldn’t be the fun part, but rather what takes place once we get there.

        1. Indeed… That said, I like play Louis C.K. on my ipod while flying. 3:)

  5. Jeremy. thanks for posting this and being so honest about it. In Sonya Lyubormirsky’s “The How of Happiness” she points to the neuroscience behind feeling happy and feeling jaded. She identifies a kind of emotional set-point, if you will, that we all tend to balance back to over time in any circumstance. For example, why the glow of new love begins to change after a couple of years.

    In any case, my point is that whether we constantly experience good or bad, our response to it tends to level out and it’s not a personal thing. So don’t anyone feel like you’re ungrateful or “over it” just because the highs aren’t as high. It appears that’s just part of being human. 🙂

    1. Really interesting! I’m going to have to check out this book. I felt like I got quite jaded there, for a while. I needed to take a break from it to ground myself and find that emotional set-point. I think my balance was just off a little bit.

  6. Great post! Just chanced upon this post on Twitter and thought it was a great article that resonated with myself. I have recently took over a hostel and I have loved it very much, but I am beginning to feel some effects of ‘jaded-ness’ too 😉

    Then, I noticed this post was written about three years ago – just wondering, does your thoughts and opinions on how constant travel leads to less excitement over future adventures still ring true today, many years after writing this post? Or perhaps, have you felt even more jaded since then?

    1. Yes, it’s a little bit of a dated post, but I do think it still holds true. Ultimately, it’s about finding balance, something which I was perhaps not as good at three years ago. Now, even after having traveled more, I still feel somewhat jaded, but I’m still able to find excitement by balancing other aspects of my life.

      1. Hi Jeremy!
        It’s has been interesting reading some of your articles until I found this one!
        Maybe it is been long time since you wrote this but the reason why I stopped and decided to comment on this one because after reading some of your articles I was wondering whether everything that people says about living an adventure, constant searching for excitement and for the unknown would never have an ‘end’. I meant, like you said you reached that point where you “feel not NOT excited to travel again”…it’s not the same as your first time anymore. I personally think it’s the nature of human being. We want more and more. We are in constant search and can’t feel satisfied after achieving what once we were after. I like the idea of travelling to expand your horizon and see the world in a different way. Though I personally think gratitude for every single things can change lot of things, gratitude for what you have will make you feel less jaded with life, gratitude for your existence. Gratitude for every single thing will make us feel more aware that excitement is not something to search for but is within you when you recognise how grateful we should feel about life. Sometimes, adventure is not always something about “out there” but wherever you are there’s an adventure, simply living is an adventure! I’m grateful for your article make me feel more grateful for this life and what I have right now. God loves you! 🙂

        1. Hi Rana,

          Thanks so much for your insight. I think that, after a while, excitement changes. We find excitement in different things. For me, the act of traveling isn’t as exciting as it once was, but there are new moment of happiness that occur throughout my travels.

          Much of that new excitement is due to the gratitude that I now have for the various things in my life. Though, I wouldn’t have the gratitude without feeling jaded. I needed the years and the perspective.

  7. I found this post by searching just what you’re asking, except as a statement. Travel has become more and more of a headache until today, when it’s almost genuinely seen as a nuisance. It’s one of those unspoken necessities of living this way, always going from tourist stay to tourist stay even when for months at a time. Because at some point, unless we’re going to plop down the money and invest countless hours in establishing a business in a new country, locking ourselves in (the one thing we all hate, to be tied to one place), it’s like the bar close call, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” As I’m getting ready (already been doing hours of research) to head to a new place again in a week, as more and more countries make vaccines mandatory for entry, I am realizing just how much of the planning that used to make me feel excited and hopeful now feels like a slog of research and anxieties about the travel and the next place. People still tell me how lucky I am, and I AM fortunate to be able to do this, to have these options, but I’ve also seen my health decline this past year (and have had very limited access to proper medical care in the countries I’ve been), have had to deal with a very unfortunate crime in one place, and hours of garbage with foreign police along with feeling unsafe in the only place I had to live then, and seeing how white foreigners are increasingly becoming targets in Latin America (never planned to come here, which is a whole other story) as economies suffer, and locals take the brunt of it. Frankly, I find the world has become a scarier place in almost every way since the global health crisis began, and travel is more of a headache than anything else these days, with so much research and planning necessary to simply move one country over due to different rules and restrictions EVERYWHERE.

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