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Is Traveling a Hobby? (Unexpected Thoughts From a 7-Year Traveler)

Is traveling a hobby? Or is it…er…something else?

That is the question of the year.

And it turns out, it’s not an easy question to answer.

There are tons of “what if…” scenarios that send us down a fascinating rabbit hole.

And down the rabbit hole we must go.

Grab your shovel!

Is traveling a hobby or not?

couple looking over grand teton mountains

To determine if traveling is a hobby, we first need to clarify the definition of a hobby. According to our friend, Google:

A hobby is an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure

Ok, that’s a start.

For most people, travel applies here. But there are several exceptions.  

Example: What if traveling isn’t done in your leisure time? What if it’s your job?

There are over 100 different travel jobs, after all. Is travel still a hobby if you have one of these jobs?

It depends.

See, there are two categories of travel jobs:

1. Jobs that you can do from anywhere.
2. Jobs that require you to travel.

If you have a digital nomad job that allows you to work while traveling, then traveling is still technically your hobby. At some point, that travel hobby may also become a travel lifestyle.

digital nomad working on laptop showing when a travel hobby turns into a lifestyle

But if travel IS your job — like a pilot, cruise worker, missionary, or travel guide — then you aren’t doing the activity in your leisure time, so travel is not a hobby. 

What about travel bloggers and influencers? 

Their work requires travel, right?

Technically, yes. But I’d argue that for most bloggers and influencers, travel is a hobby. 

Project Untethered is a technically travel blog (albeit a peculiar one), and traveling is my hobby, not my job.

Most travel bloggers don’t travel so they can work. Rather, they work so they can sustain their travel hobby. 

man working from a hammock on the beach

Think about it. 

Do you think bloggers think to themselves, “I’m gonna buy a flight across the world to Sri Lanka so I can write some blog posts!”


They think, “I’m flying to Sri Lanka because it looks awesome AF, and I’m sure there is some cool content I could create while I’m there.”

(Speaking of which, that makes me wanna book a trip to Sri Lanka…Let’s go!)

sri lanka train

What about travel hobbies while traveling?

Here’s a mind-bender for ya.

Is it possible to have a hobby within a hobby?

Because there are tons of travel hobbies that long-term travelers do on the road. 

But if travel is the activity you do in your leisure time, what do you call the activities you like to do while traveling? Mini-hobbies? Or just normal activities?

Woman photographer at Carnaval
Is travel a hobby? Or the hobby photography? What about travel photography?

My brain hurts. 

One thing is for sure though. 

Awesome benefits of traveling as a hobby

Ok enough with the tedious definition. Let’s assume travel counts as a hobby. Why is it a good hobby to have?

Turns out, there are TONS of benefits of traveling as a hobby. 

Here are some of my favorites.

Travel boosts your self-confidence

man looking out into the river after crashing a drone

When you travel — especially when you travel alone in new cultures — you’re bound to face obstacles. 

Maybe you get lost. Maybe you need to set up a cell phone data plan. Maybe you need to go to the doctor. Or maybe you just need to order food in a foreign language.

These little (and sometimes big) things happen all the time while traveling. And if you don’t solve it yourself, nobody else will.

Each time you overcome a roadblock, your self-confidence levels up. After a while, you realize how capable you are. When (or if) you return to your home country, any problems you face will feel like a cakewalk.

Travel helps you break out of ruts

couple buying one-way ticket to start travel lifestyle
That moment we broke out of our rut and bought one-way flights to the Philippines

We all get stuck in a rut now and then. We get complacent. Lazy. Unmotivated. Stuck in routine.

Travel is the antidote to all of this. It wakes you back up. Shoots some adrenaline back into your veins. Reminds you how amazing it is to be alive. 

And you don’t have to travel across the world for these benefits either. Sometimes all you need is an escape into nature near your house. 

Travel is good for your health

woman looking over lake

Travel gives us both mental and physical health benefits. 

It relieves stress and anxiety (well, at least the bad kind of stress and anxiety). 

It often involves tours and sightseeing, which is one of the most fun forms of exercise. 

It gets us out of that dank office and into the sun, soaking up that sweet Vitamin D.

And, assuming you jam your day full of activities, it helps regulate your diet. You eat when you’re hungry, not when you’re bored. And when you do eat, you get to experience new flavors and dishes you’ve never tried before.

Travel opens your mind

Personal development quotes by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Most people who don’t travel live in a bubble. Their perception of the world is based on what they see in the news. And that is ALWAYS an inaccurate perception.

Travel not only shows you what places are really like, but it also opens you up to new ideas and ways of thinking.

You might not agree with everything, but you learn to respect differences. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll see something from a different perspective and update your previously limited worldview.

Travel marks your life

Inspirational adventure quote by Paul Coelho

A life without travel or adventure is a monotonous life. 

You wake up. You work. You eat. You sleep.

Sure, you might have some memorable events mixed in there — a new relationship, a hobby, a promotion, a marriage, and maybe even kiddos and grandkiddos.

But the more “sameness” you have in your life, the faster it passes. You wake up one day and realize the last 10 years passed in the blink of an eye.

When you travel as a hobby, you’re constantly creating unique memories. These act as “mile markers” in your life. And the more mile markers you have, the slower the years pass. 

Instead of wondering what the heck happened with the last decade, you’re astonished by all the amazing memories you made.

Can you put traveling as a hobby in your resume?

girl in interview with traveling as a hobby in resume

Some people are worried that too much travel might hurt their career. 

After all, if your competition is hard at work while you’re YOLOing around the world for a year, doesn’t that set you back?

Possible. But maybe not as much as you think. (And who cares, anyway?)

Turns out, travel looks awesome on resumes — especially long-term travel to interesting places. 

Think about it.

If an interviewer talks to 50 applicants, who do you think they’ll remember best…

The boring guy who has an extra year of experience but has never done anything interesting? 

Or the brave world adventurer who pushed outside their comfort zone, showed they want the most out of life, and overcame struggle after struggle to achieve their dreams?

My bet is on you.

Travel is my hobby — Is it yours?

Travel is hands-down my #1 hobby. I can’t think of any other hobby that even holds a match to travel.

Can you?

Travel makes every aspect of your life better. Period.

If you haven’t yet made travel a hobby, what’s holding you back?

Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Going Cheap Flights Newsletter - Get flight deals from your airport up to 90% off sent straight to your inbox.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills. - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).


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