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From Always Travel to Never Travel

Way before the pandemic hit the world, I had fallen out of love with world traveling and what some people describe as the “nomadic lifestyle” or “digital nomad lifestyle.” I went from traveling all the time to not traveling at all. How did this happen?

First, traveling the world was part of my identity. I started my adult life by traveling. I learned languages. I built my business traveling. And when I got married (and later divorced), I went on a trip around the world. 

I convinced myself that I hated the winter. So initially, I envisioned living in a tropical country. I tried a few places, but none of them worked out. Then, I convinced myself that what I needed to do was to “escape” the winter for a few months, spending the rest of the year in Quebec — enjoying the best of both worlds.

Every year, I spent a lot of time thinking about where I would go over the winter. I tried Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica and even French Polynesia. 

No place was perfect, and I could never find the right balance between keeping my life in Quebec and being away for 3, 4, 5 months out of the year. 

Romantic relationships were difficult, because my girlfriend had a more normal job and couldn’t be away for that long. We tried a compromise, but it didn’t work out. Our relationship fell apart, because our lifestyles were incompatible. 

My first realization is that traveling alone for months on end is very difficult. You can maybe do it for a while when you’re young, but at some point, for most people, it’s difficult to bear. 

My second realization is that world traveling is an extremely wasteful activity and that I didn’t want to be part of it to that extent. 

My third realization is that mass tourism has ruined the beauty of traveling and destroyed wonderful places around the world. I fully realized this on my last trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. I saw what Hawaii had become. The Big Island was the place adventurous people would go to to experience the “real” Hawaii. Then, it became just like the other islands: full of shopping malls, Costcos, and expensive condos. 

My fourth realization is that I was actually in love with my native Quebec. I love Montreal. I love the province. I love my culture. I grew more and more attached to where I grew up. 

So all of that combined turned me into a homebody. 

I haven’t been on a plane since December 2018, and for me, that’s a record.

That being said, I think traveling can be a great experience and there are still trips I’d like to take. But what has changed is that I no longer have an urgent need to travel. 

When borders open again and it’s possible to travel like before (who knows when that will be), there’s a couple of places I’d like to visit. But if that’s in one or two years, that’s ok two. 

I’d rather travel less but better. Longer trips, less often. 

How has your relationship with traveling changed over the years?

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.