Sometimes things happen for a reason.

Many months ago, we published our ‘travel and mental health’ questionnaire to which we received more than 1,200 responses, including extremely valuable and perceptive comments into our four questions where you were encouraged to share your thoughts.


For much of this year we have been busy building the team and making a lot of improvements to NomadMania, from new features such as our ‘Slow’ Travel list to lots of new content to our awards, so the actual analysis of these comments was side-lined.

It seemed that going through a diversity of thoughtful answers was being constantly delayed. Eventually, when we were developing a statistical analysis of the mental health questionnaire, I remembered that not everything could be quantified. Because your comments were what can’t be put into numbers.

(See the full Mental Health Poll statistical analysis here)


I also remembered my youthful days working in market research when I had been given numerous projects of qualitative content analysis. Who more obvious to go through these responses that me?

Dear travellers, you have given me a very generous Christmas gift, unknown to you.

Reading all these thoughts on the purpose of travel, on how you have changed through travel, on how travel affects your relationships and what stresses you when you travel, I feel I truly belong. For the longest time, this feeling has eluded me.

I was impressed by the candor and openness of some of the comments, coming in from strangers who chose to be very frank in an online poll. I was surprised by how much almost every comment resonated with my feelings about travel. And I ended up having a constant smile on my face, as if I had found the answer to a lot of life’s enigmas.


In all of this, it became clear to me why I founded NomadMania in the first place. And that is, simply, because this truly is a community of like-minded people. Even if the comments seem to diverge and to indicate differences of opinion due to obviously different life circumstances, they come from the same place where a true love of travel fuels one’s being deeply.

It is clear to me, therefore, why it had to be me who spent hours over the multiple comments trying to find common threads to the questions of purpose, personal change, relationships and negative feelings.


Thank you all for opening my own eyes a little and thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with what is clearly a live organism rather than just a webpage. My deepest apologies it took us so long to process the responses, but finally this has been done and we can give you some of these insights which can only come from a collective exercise like this.

And on this note, I wish you all, no matter where you come from, the very best of happy holidays and a fantastic 2024. Hopefully in the New Year, your purpose in travel will be ever-evolving, you will find yourself changed in a positive direction, you can build more meaningful relationships and do so with no stress or negativity.


Thank you for being part of the NomadMania community. You’re the reason we continue doing what we do.  Let’s explore some of your most poignant answers in regard to Mental Health and Travel 🙂


QUESTION: What do you feel is your overall purpose when you are travelling?

The themes below are presented in order of frequency; every line represents one general idea in terms of the purpose of travel, so one key word has been highlighted.

  • Culture was the most commonly mentioned word.
  • Connecting with the locals, knowing people.
  • Learning, developing oneself, thinking outside the box.
  • Achievement, filling in the gaps in the map, visiting everywhere, all countries, all WHS.
  • Having fun, relaxing, breaking from the routine.

Unique/niche answers as follows:

  • golfing, football matches, drinking beer, helping locals, getting inspiration to write, bicycle tours, language practice, photography.

Based on the above, your answers suggest that the main drivers are the desire to understand cultures, to connect with people and to learn both about the world and about oneself.


This is perhaps not that groundbreaking itself, but it is interesting that the idea of achievement and filling in lists was only a distant fourth in terms of what the purpose of travel is for the NomadMania community.


Here is a sample response about the purpose of travel:

I don't think that "Point" of the travel is important, I feel more like travel itself is important.

Read all open responses in the full article on our blog.


QUESTION: What changes (if any) have you identified in the way you relate to people and the world as a result of your travels?

Tolerant was the most frequent word that appeared multiple times; the idea of openness and becoming less prejudiced through travel.

  • Learning about oneself more, understanding oneself more.
  • More confident, capable and compassionate.
  • More flexible, adaptable, patient.
  • Less fearful about the world.

Once again, looking at the comments, it would appear that the changes perceived from travelling were almost universally positive and generally revolved around the idea of a person becoming more tolerant and open about the world around him.

We can extrapolate this idea to say that, at least if we take the NomadMania community as a reference, travel really can make a difference in how people think.


Sample of the specific comments:

I realize how privileged I am. I understand that people around the world share more beliefs and lifestyle in common than there are differences.

Read all open responses in the full article on our blog.


QUESTION: How have your close relationships been affected by your travels? 

This section has been very hard to analyse qualitatively, so it is best to give more of the travellers’ specific comments. In general, there was a split between positive and negative comments. There were somewhat more negative ones.

In terms of the positive, the ideas centered around more commonalities with significant others and sharing the joy of travel with people one is close with; strengthening relations through travel, acceptance of different travel styles and the like.

The negative comments focused on the divergence between the traveller and those around him/her who cannot understand, resulting in fewer closer relationships. Another theme was the ‘struggle’ between the desire to travel and the need to satisfy others’ expectations not to travel. Some spoke of relationship breakdowns due to travel.


Here are two examples of of the comments: 

Positive: My parents think I’m a more capable and independent person. My friends admire me and see me as someone to look up to.

Negative: My family would like me to stay at home, have a normal life, work, etc. I have spent long periods of my life travelling far away, and this created more distance between me and them.

Read all open responses in the full article on our blog.


QUESTION: Give examples of occasions when you felt negative, stressed and exhausted during your travels.

Overall, comparing the answers here also with the quantitative responses, it appears that the positive far outshine the negative when it comes to the travel experience. For example, few people claimed to be lonely during travel or to feel generally negative because of travel itself. This is already a very positive message to begin with. 

In terms of the specific responses to negative issues relating to travel, there was quite a big range of themes identified, and here they are, more or less presented in order of frequency.

  • The most frequent item was the pandemic. Covid was mentioned multiple times as a source of stress in terms of travel, with tests and ever-changing requirements obviously causing distress. Luckily, this is now hopefully in the past.
  • Stress from delays, fear of missed connections, and other logistical/transport issues were also high on the list as was the whole process of dealing with transport.
  • Too fast a pace of travel, trying to achieve too many travel goals, to see everything in limited time was also an issue causijng stress.
  • Border formalities, unfriendly of corrupt officials and dealing with visas were also big stressors.
  • Interestingly, travel companions and the community itself were repeatedly mentioned as stressors. Mention was made of colliding travel styles and the issue of other travellers ‘bragging’ about their achievements, which are seen as stressors by a number of respondents.
  • Issues of planning could also be stressful; especially bookings in advance or having to plan activities very carefully and remember the details.
  • Not feeling safe, the fear of being robbed was also mentioned but not as often as expected.
  • The fear of getting ill while travelling, things like malaria or food poisoning were also a source of stress.
  • Negative reactions from locals, aggression and harassment were also on the list occasionally.
  • A few also mentioned issues of budget and trying to keep travelling while balancing the finances as a big stressor to them.
  • In terms of groups, lack of clarity and not having enough information about a trip could also cause stress.


Here is an example of a response: 

For me the biggest thing is feeling lonely when having a relationship and travelling without her; it has been one of the reasons for ending big relationships and that has been one of the biggest dichotomies of my life.

Read all open responses in the full article on our blog.


There is a lot to learn from your comments. While some of you have experienced negative effects to your relationships, it appears that you are willing to pay the price for the joys that travel brings. And these joys are multifold - both in terms of positive personal change and in terms of achieving a positive purpose.

While there are inevitably a varied number of stressors when travelling, many of you were quick to stress that these were not all that significant compared to the overall good of travelling; and there were very few comments suggesting that travel overall was a negative thing or a problem itself.

So, the verdict is out: overall, travel makes us happy, leads us to self-knowledge and is ultimately a really good thing! Here's to a travel-filled 2024!

New Map Feature - Visited 'IN' a Year

Here is our Christmas gift to you :-)

From now on your NomadMania profile map you can see the regions and countries visited DURING a particular year. How cool is that? :-)

In order to enable such view it is necessary to fill your travels in My Trips section. So, head over there, fill the data and enjoy your 2023 Travel Map

Afterwards we encourage you to fill the data for other previous years which will eventually become your ultimate travel history with maps for each year. This takes time, but serves as a perfect travel diary to remember your movements year by year.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,  dear NomadMania family!


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