(Last Updated On: March 5, 2021)

Getting Stuck whilst traveling is Part 2 of the Traveling Realisms series

Getting stuck whilst traveling: it happens: Traveling realisms part 2 You never think it will happen to you until it does. For us long-term backpackers, there are times we can get stuck whilst traveling. This post shows you the reasons it could happen to you. #backpacker #backpacking #longtermtravel #budgettravel #budgetbackpacker #solotravel #solobackpacker #backpackertips #traveltips #travelblog

There’s something  you don’t told or warned about the first time you’re planning, researching or thinking about long term travel – You might just end up getting stuck whilst traveling in one place longer than you expected! It doesn’t matter if that’s a solo or budget trip, It’s actually quite common. 

In this post we will cover the reasons why it could happen to you on your future travels. 

You may have landed on this post because you feel it happening to you right now, or you might be thinking of becoming a long term backpacker and wondering how you can possibly end up getting stuck whilst traveling during your future travels.

It's not going to happen - then it does!

I don’t think there is a single first time traveler – backpacker, solo, budget or long term traveler who sets out and thinks “You know what I think I’ll get stuck traveling.”…Note I did say first timers. Having backpacked since 2010, I’ll admit and I’m sure other long term travelers will too, once you’ve been going for a while you start to recognise and know where you might end up getting stuck whilst travelling. I know I do.

You might be sitting there, thinking about traveling in the future  thinking, “Nope, not me. I will have a plan, I won’t be getting stuck whilst traveling.“- Yeah that’s all well and good right now, like I said none of us ever think it will happen – but then wham one day you wake up and realise you haven’t left; You’re stuck whilst traveling!

Before I started backpacking way back in 2010, I was warned about it by a friend who’d traveled before but I laughed it off. I was adamant, I had a plan, Iron clad, and I was determined to stick to it and no way I’d be getting stuck whilst traveling.

Yeah, I should have know better!

…Well, guess what…It happened straight away, and it wasn’t the only time!

There is something I’ve learnt over the years of backpacking all over the world…Fuck plans! Mine never work out, no matter how simple they are, I am more than likely to get stuck traveling for many reasons. And, I know many long term travelers who this is the same for.

This post covers when you feel lonely solo traveling long term. It happens to all of us but there are ways to combat those times your start feeling lonely

Things can change in an instant!

There is one piece of advice I give to first time backpackers that I meet more than any other; always be prepared not to prepared.

What I mean by this is, no amount of planning, researching or advice given can truly prepare you for your trip.

Yes you can cover all the basics, you can research until it comes out your ears you can even try and plan every last detail of your trip. However once you’re traveling things can happen.

Unforeseeable situations and circumstances can occur, even those Ironclad plans can go up in smoke. Once you’re on the road, especially if you’re planning on long term traveling, ( I mean 6 months+ and years on end not just a couple of months) you’ll find things are not so straightforward and simple.

Different factors will come into play, people you meet will effect your decision making, locals you meet can change your opinion and mindset, your priorities can change. You might set off on your trip thinking you want to explore X, Y and Z but once you’re there have a completely different thought process.

You never think it will happen to you until it does. Getting stuck whilst traveling is a post from Forever Roaming the world to show you how it could happen to you too

Reasons you may end up getting stuck whilst traveling

Ok, let’s have a look at the 9 common reasons you may end up getting stuck whilst traveling long term in the future. 

In this post we are going to cover and dive into the reasons behind, how, why, influences and reasons for:

  • Comfort zones 
  • The friends you make
  • Backpacker hostel bubbles
  • Partying too much 
  • Running out of money
  • Falling in love with your destination
  • Taking time out from travel life
  • Burnt out 
  • Out of your control 

Comfort zones

It doesn’t matter who we are, that moment we step foot in a new country, we are out of our comfort zone. Everything is new, the surroundings are new, the people are new, and some cultures are polar opposites. So it’s human nature to seek out and grasp onto things that we find familiar, something we can relate too like other backpackers or hostels.

  • We make friends
  • We get used to the surroundings
  • As places become familiar they start to feel more comfortable and  become normal.
  • We feel at home
  • We settle in our new environment and that’s when we start to form a bubble.

As days pass by the further we fall into the comfort, so we stay longer. The desire to leave starts to evaporate until there is none. 

The irony is, we travel to get out of our comfort zone but sometimes that’s the first thing we try to find or create.

The backpacker hostel bubble can form without you even knowing about it by providing you with whatever you need at the time - This post will covers just how deep you can slip into the trap and how to eventually learn to control it

Making friends has a huge influence

Traveling is as much about the people you meet and the experiences you have with them as much as the sites and destinations you travel to.

Here’s the thing about traveling, especially as a long term traveler; you just don’t know who you will meet or what significance they may have on your life. In an instant lifelong friends can be formed. You may meet people who become closer than family, your soulmate, or people who change your life. People can come into your life at any point, it could be on your first day or months into your trip. 

  • You form tight bonds and don’t want to leave each other
  • You have too much fun and forget where you are 
  • Time passes without you even realising 
  • Sounds ridiculous but priorities can change 
  • Days, weeks can turn into months without realising
  • You turn into a family, all in the comfort zone together  

You’re not getting stuck whilst traveling – You’re already stuck traveling!

There have been so many occasions over the years where I’ve arrived at a new destination with no intention of staying more than a few days but met amazing people and just stayed.

If you do get stuck because of the friends you make, don’t feel guilty about it. In most cases you are going to have a better time, create amazing unforgettable memories and have an enriched experienced with them rather than leaving. If you do wrench yourself away, most of the time you will just keep thinking back on your friends. You’ll keep wandering what they’re doing, comparing others you meet with them, and even feel down and sad about leaving them. 

You never think it will happen to you until it does. Getting stuck whilst traveling is a post from Forever Roaming the world to show you how it could happen to you too

Getting stuck whilst traveling because of the backpacker bubble - or trap!

If you combine the two reasons above, and you’re staying in backpacker hostel the hostel bubble starts to form. Well It’s disguised as a bubble but in reality It’s a trap. the trap sucks you in deep, it strips away your motivation and desire to travel, it provides you with everything you need in arms length in and around the hostel. Before you know it, you’re a long termer, It’s not a hostel anymore, It’s your home.

Days can turn into weeks, and into months, each day you become less motivated, to a point you don’t even care to know what’s happening in the outside world; all that matters is what’s happening in the hostel. This hostel backpacker bubble post gives you a full rundown of how the trap can swallow you up. 

Backpacker hostels come in all different shapes and sizes but did you know there are different types of hostels? If you're planning on staying

(If you’re looking to stay in a hostel but not sure where to start looking HostelWorld is the worlds biggest hostel booking site. The banner below takes you directly to their website and you can choose the right hostel for you.)

Partying too much

People travel for different reasons, some do it just to have as much fun as possible and that can mean partying like there is no tomorrow. 

There is nothing wrong with that, I’ve spent much of my travelling life partying all over the world but there is a big change of getting stuck in one destination while doing so. 

You may set out to just party or you may just get swept up in the party lifestyle. There will be those that turn their nose to this but truth is partying is a huge part of traveling life and not just with gap year backpackers. I’ve been to many countries where partying is part of the local culture, I’ve been with older travelers who love to party as much as young gap year travelers. It happens. 

If you find yourself swept up in it, embrace it. 

Reasons you may get stuck:

  • Having the time of your life 
  • Partying becomes a constant
  • Too drunk/high to move on 
  • Caught up in the cycle of getting drunk, forgetting, hungover, doing it all over again
  • Desire to leave disappears 
  • Spend all your money on partying 
  • Just don’t care to travel – You know you’re having more fun that if you were on the move all the time 
  • You’re in a local culture that loves to party and do not want to leave 
  • The vibe and energy catches you and there is no need to leave 
For a lot of first time, young backpackers, partying is a big part of their experience. You may not agree with it, but it’s very common and a part of traveling life. This post shows you the backpacker party culture.

I’m sure there will be some split and judgemental opinions as you’re reading this. Some of you will be nodding your head saying “Yup this will be me”, while some of you will be shaking your heads saying “No, I will not be wasting my money on partying If I wanted to get drunk and party I can do that at home.”

It’s fine either way but the truth is partying is a big part of traveling culture. I’ve traveled for over a decade and still like to party sometimes, granted not as much as I used to though. Backpacks and booze shows how prominent it is and why getting stuck whilst traveling is a big possibility because of it.

Running out of money!

There comes a point for every long term traveler, unless you have a trust fund, parents paying for the trip or income coming that you will run out of money. The quicker you come to terms with the fact, the easier you will be able to adapt. 

When you reach that dreaded ‘0’ for the first time it will feel like your heart stops or somebody has hit you over the head with a sledgehammer. However It’s not the end of the world, there’s no need to panic, you will be able to continue traveling again but you will need to take a break. 

There are ways to cope, replenish and move on. Many long term travelers run out of money. We know there will be days where we are broke, and days we are flush; money comes and goes.

If you find yourself in a situation where your funds are running low, there are no more Western Union transfers from the family It’s time to stop, make a nest for a while and replenish. 

There are plenty of ways to make money while traveling (no not blogging, unless you already do). 

  • Work in exchange for food and rent 
  • Dependant of your visa, get a jo for a while 
  • Ask locals if they need help
  • Look at homestays or volunteer 
  • Look for cash in hand jobs
  • Work on farms 
  • If you have the skills and means work online – That doesn’t mean try and become an Instagram influencer overnight
  • See if there are jobs from your home country which you can work remotely
This post explains how you can continue your travels when the funds run dry, how to find work, and the different types of jobs you can do in more detail.
Forever Roaming the Worlds post on How can you sustain long term travel as a budget backpacker for years not just months? In this post we look into backpacker jobs you can do to keep your journey

Dream destination - falling in love with it

Over the years, I’ve seen so many travelers turn into long term travelers who end up getting stuck whilst traveling because they’ve found their dream destination. I’ve seen and met people who are traveling for short time periods but just don’t want to leave and turn into long term travelers. I’m no exception. I’ve arrived in a place with the intention of passing through, being there for a few weeks but end up staying for months. 

There is a high change of it happening to you. Somewhere along your journey:

  • A place will just captivate you
  • You will feel such a strong connection to it, you can’t leave 
  • You will fall in love with the destination or a person
  • The energy, atmosphere, vibe sucks you in like a vortex 
  • You’ve found your paradise 
  • You feel will feel like you belong there and nowhere else matters 
  • The destination will feel like It’s made for you

Before you know it,  you’re stuck and you could care less because you’ve found your own epicentre. There is no reason to move on, every other thought you have evaporate. Days, weeks, months roll into one big blur. All of a sudden, you’ve turned from traveler to local. The locals all know you, you have your regular spots, made local friends who treat you like one of their own. You stop doing touristy things and live just like a local. And, if that happens to you embrace it. Speaking from personal experience It’s one of the most enriching experiences you can have. It’s one of the reasons I love getting stuck whilst traveling.

9 reasons why getting stuck whilst traveling is surprisingly common 1

Needing a break can lead to getting stuck whilst traveling

Contrary to what some might believe, Long term budget and solo traveling, is not a long holiday. It can be tiring, a grind and a struggle at times and sometimes you just need to take a break. That doesn’t mean going back home but rather wherever you are, you just stop drop your bags, make a little nest for yourself and do nothing.  Sometimes the most satisfying thing is being able to empty your backpack and not have to pack it back up for a while; It’s bliss.

There are other times you stop for no apparant reason other than you can. you are a long term traveler, time is on your side and there is no rush to do anything. 

Reasons why you may need to take a break: 

  • Emotionally rundown
  • It’s just to stop for a while and smell the roses 
  • By taking a break, taking your time to get to know a place you appreciate it more
  • Get to soak in and feel the moments rather than rushing through 
  • No reason at all just fancy stopping for a while 
  • Mentally fatigued 
  • Physically drained 
  • Tired of constantly being on the move 
  • Sounds ridiculous right now but at a stage where you’re bored of it
  • Traveling lost It’s shine, novelty and you’re feeling in a slump
  • Finding it hard to motivate yourself
  • Going through some personal issues 
  • Just want to stop for a while and recharge

Take it from somebody who’s been living this life for over a decade, sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. I mean physically do nothing at all. Find a hostel, an AirBnB, hotel, rent a flat, whatever and just do nothing. There have been times where my biggest adventure for the week was doing my laundry and food shop. 

9 reasons why getting stuck whilst traveling is surprisingly common 2

hitting the wall can lead to getting stuck whilst traveling

There are those who go too fast, too quickly. They are in such a rush to get everything done, wanting to see and do everything at once. These people forget long term traveling is a marathon not a sprint and end up burnt out. When this happens they have to stop, they end up getting stuck traveling not out of choice but out of necessity and for their own sanity. 

There will also come a time, especially the longer you travel when things just get on top of you. You may have been traveling for months, even years by now and your brain, body and spirit can’t handle anymore. 

Reasons why you may need to take a break: 

  • Went too hard too fast and feel burnt out or hit the wall
  • Emotionally rundown
  • Mentally fatigued 
  • Physically drained 
  • Feeling lonely, you’ve been on the move so much you’ve not had a chance to make friendships, relationships or deep connections
  • Tired of constantly being on the move
  • Packing, unpacking, packing again gets to you
  • Sounds ridiculous right now but at a stage where you’re bored of it
  • Traveling lost It’s shine, novelty and you’re feeling in a slump
  • Finding it hard to motivate yourself
  • Going through some personal issues 

If you ever get to a point where you feel burnt out, or drained in any capacity, the best thing to do is to fin a place you can relax and just stop. Don’t force yourself to keep moving, if you do you will not enjoy it, you won’t feel the moments, you’ll get irritated and agitated  and it can end up ruining your whole trip.

Post pic for backpacking life: Forever Roaming the World's post about how plans dont go the way they should when long-term backpacking

Getting stuck traveling when It's out of your hands

While most of the time It’s in your hands why you get stuck traveling long term but there are odd occasions when they’re out of your hands. Things happen while traveling, situations and circumstances occur, you can’t control everything. When things are out of your hands you have two choices, moan, cry and whine about it or just role with the punches. Granted saying it is easy, it can get frustrating at times, even infuriating. However as a long term traveler have to take the rough with the smooth. 

Things that can happen out of your control: 

  • Breakdowns and cancellations
  • Sickness/ accidents 
  • weather conditions/ Natural disasters 
  • Visa or passport issues 
  • Luggage problems 
  • Getting mugged/losing money or personal valuables 
  • Civil wars breaking out – Military coups – blackouts 
  • a worldwide pandemic like the ‘Coronavirus‘ that spread and caused chaos to everybody through 2020.

These situations can be as little as an inconvenience, and at other times like a punch in the face. Getting stuck whilst traveling when It’s out of your hands can cause disarray and panic. It can be a major bump in your journey, force you to change your route or plans. But as mentioned before the best thing to do is ride it out. 

backpacking Bolivia post, forever roaming the world, covering practical information, accommodation, transport, an interactive map, visa options and my overview of backpacking Bolivia

Getting stuck whilst traveling can happen at any point to anybody

Those are your 9 most common reasons why you can end up getting stuck whilst traveling. 

Rather than trying to prevent it, have acceptance that it will happen to you at some stage of your traveling life. 

When it does happen, embrace it, see where it leads. You never know what journey those junctures of getting stuck can lead you on. You won’t see it at the time, but later when you look back at your journey you will notice major chances happened when you got stuck in one place. 

Remember prepare no to be prepared and long term traveling is a marathon not a sprint. 

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Getting stuck whilst traveling: it happens: Traveling realisms part 2 You never think it will happen to you until it does. For us long-term backpackers, there are times we can get stuck whilst traveling. This post shows you the reasons it could happen to you. #backpacker #backpacking #longtermtravel #budgettravel #budgetbackpacker #solotravel #solobackpacker #backpackertips #traveltips #travelblog
Getting stuck whilst traveling: it happens: Traveling realisms part 2 You never think it will happen to you until it does. For us long-term backpackers, there are times we can get stuck whilst traveling. This post shows you the reasons it could happen to you. #backpacker #backpacking #longtermtravel #budgettravel #budgetbackpacker #solotravel #solobackpacker #backpackertips #traveltips #travelblog
Getting stuck whilst traveling: it happens: Traveling realisms part 2 You never think it will happen to you until it does. For us long-term backpackers, there are times we can get stuck whilst traveling. This post shows you the reasons it could happen to you. #backpacker #backpacking #longtermtravel #budgettravel #budgetbackpacker #solotravel #solobackpacker #backpackertips #traveltips #travelblog
Getting stuck whilst traveling: it happens: Traveling realisms part 2 You never think it will happen to you until it does. For us long-term backpackers, there are times we can get stuck whilst traveling. This post shows you the reasons it could happen to you. #backpacker #backpacking #longtermtravel #budgettravel #budgetbackpacker #solotravel #solobackpacker #backpackertips #traveltips #travelblog
Getting stuck whilst traveling: it happens: Traveling realisms part 2 You never think it will happen to you until it does. For us long-term backpackers, there are times we can get stuck whilst traveling. This post shows you the reasons it could happen to you. #backpacker #backpacking #longtermtravel #budgettravel #budgetbackpacker #solotravel #solobackpacker #backpackertips #traveltips #travelblog
Getting stuck whilst traveling: it happens: Traveling realisms part 2 You never think it will happen to you until it does. For us long-term backpackers, there are times we can get stuck whilst traveling. This post shows you the reasons it could happen to you. #backpacker #backpacking #longtermtravel #budgettravel #budgetbackpacker #solotravel #solobackpacker #backpackertips #traveltips #travelblog
Getting stuck whilst traveling: it happens: Traveling realisms part 2 You never think it will happen to you until it does. For us long-term backpackers, there are times we can get stuck whilst traveling. This post shows you the reasons it could happen to you. #backpacker #backpacking #longtermtravel #budgettravel #budgetbackpacker #solotravel #solobackpacker #backpackertips #traveltips #travelblog
Getting stuck whilst traveling: it happens: Traveling realisms part 2 You never think it will happen to you until it does. For us long-term backpackers, there are times we can get stuck whilst traveling. This post shows you the reasons it could happen to you. #backpacker #backpacking #longtermtravel #budgettravel #budgetbackpacker #solotravel #solobackpacker #backpackertips #traveltips #travelblog

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21 Comments

Stuart Fahy · August 23, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Really great article and something I’ve witnessed many times as I’ve travelled around. Luckily most of these situations haven’t happened to me (yet!) as I tend to move on before I get too comfortable.

Yvette Benhamou · December 11, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Yes. Hitting the wall is truth. After my first long- term solo trip I was surprised by how taxing having to pay attention to my surroundings had been. It definitely forces you to be present in the moment, but I think most people take for granted how much of their day is spent on autopilot. Before starting this last trip I warned my partner it would be like this, and I’m glad I did. Our car broke down ten days into a 9 week trip (there went our budget) and there was some pretty intense drama. We’re taking a rest month in Ecuador now, but while we certainly learned some lessons, we both agree we wouldn’t have skipped out on these experiences for anything. Thanks for the real post. Safe travels.

Suma · November 7, 2017 at 6:55 am

Although I have never been backpacking, the situation of getting stuck while travelling is not novel in my case. I was stuck in Darjeeling once due to heavy rainfall and hence had to miss my flight. There have been times when I really loved a place so much and wanted to stay longer there but sadly could not due to my professional commitments.

Exploring Curiously · November 3, 2017 at 1:36 am

You make good points, clearly from experience. For those who do not travel or only for small amounts of time probably have never thought of this before. All of the scenarios you provided can be part of a traveler’s journey – for better or for worse.

Kellee Anderson · November 3, 2017 at 1:35 am

I agree with making friends and not wanting to leave the location. This happened to me in Bali, great location and I met some lifelong friends.

Harmony, Momma To Go · November 3, 2017 at 1:00 am

Okay, getting stuck in terms of running out of money or beyond your control are one thing, but I think (im speaking hypothetically) staying longer in one place is really positive. So you can dig deep, explore, cultivate friendships. Great tips for long term travelers, though

Becca Talbot · November 2, 2017 at 9:08 pm

I wish I was able to say I’d been in this kind of situation, but unfortunately I’ve never travelled for an extended period like you. I do agree with the whole “making friends and not wanting to leave” part, as I’ve experienced that even on short breaks. A week in the Dominican Republic recently and I met some of the nicest people, it was actually emotional saying good bye! x

Ritika · November 2, 2017 at 8:04 pm

never really tried long term travel, bt like everyone even i think i will not be stuck..hehe..but lets see..gotta try to find it

Christina · November 2, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Very nice article. My husband and I traveled around Europe for 3 months and we had an incredible time of ups and down throughout our travels. Luckily we never had anything serious happen to us that caused a big change in out itinerary. We hit a wall at the very end of our trip where it really felt right to go home and be done with traveling. Just like you said, you travel and pack and take it all in every single day and eventually it is exhausting and you can’t do it anymore.

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