My Addictive Wanderlust: When the Urge to Travel Becomes a Problem

Travelling alone in the Philippines

I am an Italian man who is married to a foreigner.

One of the reasons why 20 years ago I stumbled upon the foreign woman whom I eventually married is because I am well-travelled, I speak more than one language and therefore, when I first met my wife, I was able to communicate with her because she was new here in Italy and she couldn’t really speak my language.

Also, because of my travelling experiences, I was open to other cultures and I had plenty of experience in interacting with people from diverse backgrounds.

But, while my desire to explore other countries and cultures was the very thing that got me to get to know my wife and eventually marry her, this very desire became a huge stumbling block in my relationship.


To make a long story short: I love travelling, or, more honestly, I actually crave it, so much so that before I got married I couldn’t stand the idea of letting a single year go by without visiting at least one foreign country and I couldn’t even stand the idea of letting one week go by without  going at least on some excursion even to a nearby medieval town, a lake, a forest or whatever (and we’ve got an abundance of amazing places to explore in my region).

My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t care at all about travelling and I mean at all.

I think that there are three underlying reasons why this is the case:

She left the Philippines at a very early age and became an OFW or Overseas Filipino Worker and, therefore, she associates the idea of travelling to other countries to the idea of migration and being severed from friends and relatives, while I was born in a first world country and I associate the idea of travelling to adventure and the possibility to broaden my horizons.

Another reason is that my wife comes from a culture that is very people oriented and family oriented while us Westerners are more goal oriented.

But a deeper reason is that she has an incredible ability to enjoy little and ordinary things and bask in those things without having to distract herself and necessarily go somewhere to feel fulfilled which is a skill I don’t have at all.


My wife’s concept of vacation is pure rest and nothing more.

I, on the other hand, have an almost neurotic and compulsive need and urge to go somewhere else.

Few days ago I made a post where I mentioned that my wife and I often go somewhere out of town for the sake of our relationship as a couple.

My idea of going somewhere to spend a weekend together is somewhere in Europe like Prague, Paris or even further away while her idea is somewhere as close as possible, even if this entails renting an apartment here in town or in a very close lake resort or anywhere else that entails moving as little as possible from home.

I have learned to compromise and, therefore, I now travel much less than I used to do in the past.

I was actually forced to compromise because the gap between me and my wife in this area was becoming a big problem in my relationship which took me years to fix.

I realized how serious this problem was after my first trip to the Philippines.

My first trip to the Philippines was my first opportunity ever to visit a tropical country.

Until then I had seen nothing but almost every single corner of Europe, I had never visited any other continent.

I had made amazing trips to the far North of Europe and other amazing places but I had never been to the tropics before or, as I said, I had never been anywhere else outside Europe.

So I was expecting to do a big deal of snorkeling and see plenty of coral reefs, explore jungles and remote waterfalls and do everything else that a European would expect to do in an exotic paradise but I pretty soon realized that my wife had no intention whatsoever to show me around and take me on a tour of her amazing country.
She wanted to do nothing but visit old friends and relatives.

So, because some Filipino friends of mine who live in Rome were in the Philippines on vacation in that period, I left my wife and went off on my own to meet with them.
I took a bus from the bus terminal in Cubao (Metro Manila) and headed North to the Ilocos Region where I met with my friends who took me to a lot of beaches in Pangasinan, to the Cordillera Mountains and to a bunch of other places.

It is not as if I hadn’t seen anything of the Philippines while with my wife: we had actually been to the One Hundred Islands (only for one day), Tagaytay and few other places. But I was eager to see more, as the Philippines offer much more than that.

The problem is that, few months  after my trip to the Philippines, I realized how selfish I had been and how I should have put my relationship ahead of my cravings for adventure.

Once I realized that my urge to travel all the time, not only in the Philippines but also here in Italy, was driving a serious wedge between me and my wife I began to seriously ask myself: “why do I have this urge to travel all the time”, “why can’t I just appreciate little ordinary things as my wife does?”.


I came to the conclusion that my urge to always experience something new or different was a real neurosis and that I had to become more grounded in being, not only for the sake of my relationship but also for the sake of having a more balanced mindset.

I once stumbled upon a book where I read that our relationship with the present moment defines our relationship with life itself and it became pretty obvious to me that my urge to always go somewhere else was closely tied to my underlying inability to bask in the present moment and enjoy the little things that are the bulk of an intimate relationship and of family life.

I understood that what makes a marriage great is not those ecstatic highs that I hoped to experience with my wife somewhere in Palawan or Boracay but rather the everyday ordinary little moments that my wife seemed to be happy with and that I was failing to fully enjoy.


Another reason why I am reconsidering my relationship with travelling is that I am 53 years old and I am facing old age and, maybe, disease in the future.

What would I do if I lost my eyesight or I got sick to the point of not being able to go anywhere anymore and being bedridden for life?

If travelling is so addictive for me this means that when that part my life is over my whole life will be over.

I can’t run this risk so I’d better learn from my beautiful wife how to be more grounded in the here and now and enjoy the amazing little things we experience every single day while they last and view those extatic highs that we from time to time experience when we travel somewhere as a bonus and nothing more.


Granted, travelling has enriched my life beyond measure and I also owe the fact that I have met my wife to my travelling experience.

Travelling is an incredible opportunity to broaden my perspectives and enjoy the beauty of life but so is reading, so is buying a microscope and staring at the magnificence of a cell or even staring in awe at my own hand or, as I said, enjoying the beauty of ordinary moments with my wife and my family.

I am seriously introspecting and trying to get to the root cause why for so many years I couldn’t be still and just bask in being without needing to distract myself and go somewhere else to see more or something different or new.

My wife is helping me a lot in this regard and I am very grateful that I have met this amazing woman who has taught me what it is like to put a relationship and the little yet amazing things that characterize it ahead of the flimsy highs that adventures offer.

8 thoughts on “My Addictive Wanderlust: When the Urge to Travel Becomes a Problem

  1. Great post. I think the appreciation of the present is an art that is now (slowly) mass-learned with the coming of meditation apps. To enjoy the ride and have others enjoy the ride.
    That being said, the sentiment of being a Westerner who is goal-oriented instead of family/people-oriented should be meditated upon. Being goal-oriented can buy you matter or experiences in the long run, but with a cynic view those don’t fulfill; being people-oriented might seem shallow to the cynic but, like you said, it’s the small moments that matter. We are social beings in the first place.
    I have some friends who travel often – both for business and pleasure. One of them has described being tired from always being on the run, and I wondered whether he has a fear of missing out. Yes, there are a lot of things you can see in the world but you can’t see EVERYTHING, just like yes, there are a lot of books you can read but you can’t read EVERYTHING. You have to prioritize.
    A colleague of mine travels less often, but when he does, he really enjoys it. I think it’s the fact that he has worked hard and saved diligently in order to earn this vacation.
    There are a lot of things you can say about this subject. All in all liked your post because it made me connect with the topic.
    The best,
    Mark Dumanon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot for your feedback. I am definitely switching from travelling outward to travelling inward. To a certain extent travelling outward helps me to become internally grounded especially when I go on a hike in nature but I have realized that I rely a bit too heavily on beautiful sceneries to find inner fulfillment and therefore I have seen it fit to explore other ways to be in a state of amazement and under this aspect I admire my wife’s simple ways to find fulfillment without necessarily going somewhere


  2. We sometimes need a holiday from the holiday because travelling can be stressful. Especially with kids.. husband is neurotic about travelling too.. he does not want to be bored so every minute is filled with activities… he finally learned to slow down and just enjoy it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice read…. smiled while reading this. I do agree that cultural differences play a part in shaping our views but I would also say that as we age our perspectives change. I was a big-time home bird and really disliked the idea of packing and setting off to see a new place. However, in the past couple of years I feel a strong urge to travel to exotic locations 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The desire to travel is one of my characteristics and seeing new places has nicely shaped my life and enriched it with amazing experiences. But I got to the point where the urge to always be somewhere else almost became pathological so I started asking myself if behind it there was an underlying inability to be in “reality” and a need to run away from it and, all the more so because the more I travelled the more I craved seeing more because nothing would fulfill me and so I resolved to slowly learn to let go of the quote-unquote “pathological” aspects of my Wanderlust….I am still travelling but I do it in moderation and I seem to enjoy it more now

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s