The reference to getting bitten by the travel bug is used rather loosely these days, perhaps mostly because of the fact that there are about a million and more travel bloggers and even more travel-related websites. Most of these only exist out of someone’s desire to make money out of them and while there’s nothing wrong with making money out of writing about something you truly love, it kind of loses its flavour when the writer’s heart is not in it.
In fact, most of us who love to travel for prolonged periods (and would perhaps be on the road permanently, if it was at all possible) would love to live that dream of having something like your blog generate you money so that you can go about your business of completely enjoying your travels. Anyway, going back to the travel bug mantra — what does it really mean to get bitten by the travel bug?
It certainly isn’t what it’s usually mistaken for, which is harbouring a desire to have a complete lifestyle change, unless of course that new lifestyle you yearn for is one which will see you on the road the for longer than you aren’t. It certainly isn’t looking forward to that one or a couple of holidays you take per year to recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
No. These just make up but a tiny fraction of what it means to get bitten by the travel bug. When you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, a whole lot of things about your life come into perspective. Some of the things which you thought were really important to you suddenly send you into quite the frenzy, having you question just what on earth you’ve been doing with all your time, all this time.
You become consumed by an overwhelming desire to effectively eat up the world — to explore every single nook and cranny that you can manage to make your way to, even those which aren’t featured on Google Maps. Nothing much matters but your growing desire to book that next plane ticket, and if you can help it, be gone for a while to come. Some of those memes doing the rounds you see every now and then suddenly become so relatable that you might as well have been their author– Memes like “if travelling was free, you’d never see me again!”
Eleutheromania is real and is a direct effect of having been bitten by the travel bug, with some seriously itchy feet developing as a symptom.
A lot more people than you might even be aware of have been bitten by the travel bug, many of whom pick the bug up while on a trip they perhaps didn’t even plan in the first place. You might have been deployed by the company you work for and upon finishing whatever task it is you were mandated to do, you have some free time to explore your destination. This is one of those instances of getting bitten by the travel bug when you go back to your regular life and you’re just never the same again.
Now, this is where it gets real because there are people whose travel bug bite is so potent that they just find a way to make it happen. These people mostly assume the form of backpackers who disassociate travelling with the generalised perception surrounding it, that being luxury and comfort. Backpackers just find a way to make it happen, even if it means the most expensive part of their trip is their plane ticket, because getting bitten by the travel bug completely changes you.