Hi! My name is Megan and I’m a travel addict. I have been suffering from destination addiction over 10 years, ever since I took my first international trip abroad at the age of 17. Although travel remains my biggest passion, the anxiety I experience in between my trips has had a negative impact on my life. As a result, I have recently started a road to recovery and would like to share my experience with other travel addicts to help them get on their path as well. For a more in depth description on destination addiction, see my pervious entry The Disorder that Affects 95% of Frequent Travelers: Are You One of Them?
Travel addiction is a real addiction and should be treated as such. Therefore, I have adopted the ideas of the most famous addiction recovery group, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and altered them to fit the needs of those who suffer from destination addiction. AA’s methodology consists of a 12 step program (which I have condensed into 6 steps as summarized by the American Psychological Association) and 12 traditions to accompany the 12 steps to provide guidelines for group governances. I have taken this concept of the 12 traditions and created the 12 guidelines to cope destination addiction. These guidelines provide practical examples for how to discover culture in your current city and to keep the overbearing urge to travel at bay.
The 6 Steps to Destination Addiction Recovery
- Admitting that one cannot control one’s travel addiction
- Recognizing a higher Power can restore sanity. (In AA this typically refers to the Christian God, so if you’re religious, take this and run with it. Have faith that everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan for you. You will travel again, when the time is right. If you’re not religious, then take a lesson from Eastern philosophy. As I mentioned in the previous section What is Destination Addiction, our westernized society may be to blame for our addiction. Learn to be happy in the present moment through meditation and mindfulness)
- Examining past Errors with the help of a Sponsor (Think about all those times you put your relationships on the back burner in order to travel, put yourself into financial ruin to take a trip you couldn’t afford at the time, or repeatedly complained about being stuck in a fixed location and made those around you miserable.)
- Making Amends for those Errors (apologize to the people you’ve stepped on in the name of travel and forgive yourself)
- Learn a new code of behavior (Learn to chill out, appreciate your current location for what it is and know the opportunity to travel will come again. Start to follow my blog to discover new ways of dealing with destination addiction and how to get cultural fulfillment in your current city)
- Help Others (Join my TAA group on Facebook, Gypsy Roots’ Travel Addicts Anonymous, to motivate and support other travel addicts)
The 12 Guidelines for Coping with Destination Addiction
- Seek out Cultural Events & Festivals
- Visit a Place of Worship (check out a Mosque, Buddhist Temple, etc.)
- Check out Cultural Chapters or Established Cultural Organizations (i.e. Istanbul Cultural Center of Jacksonville or NE Florida Hindu Association)
- Become a Tourist in your own City (every city has its thing, visit the attractions that tourist go to when they visit your town)
- Try a new sport (take a muy thai boxing or capoeira class. Or be a spectator and watch a professional match)
- Try a new dance (Take salsa or belly dancing classes)
- Try a new hobby or past time (learn a new instrument like the Indian flute or go to a hookah lounge)
- Try ethnic restaurants
- Take a cooking class (liked something you tried at a restaurant? Learn how to make it at home, even go to an ethnic grocery store to buy the ingredients)
- Take a class to improve your travel skills (take a blogging or photography class to better document a future trip or learn a new language)
- Volunteer (volunteering is a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture and to put your life into perspective, be thankful that not being to travel at the given moment is your biggest problem. Volunteer to teach English to immigrants or find an organization that helps refugees assimilate to American culture.)
- Surround yourself with like-minded people
So here you have it! The formula for overcoming your destination addiction. Follow my blog as I will go more in depth with each of the 12 guidelines over the next few weeks with concrete examples of how to apply them here in Jacksonville. You can also join my Facebook group, Gypsy Roots’Travel Addicts, to find out about upcoming cultural events in Northeast Florida.
And not to worry if you do not live in the Jacksonville area, you can apply these concepts and ideas to your current city.