Although it might not feel like it at the time, it's not just your friend's envy-inducing Australia Facebook photos that are making you feel like you need to jump on a plane to somewhere else, anywhere else. There is likely to be a whole host of other factors also at play, and they're bubbling just underneath the surface.
So, how do you know when it's time to trust those tempting thoughts and just do it? Here are the signs that'll tell you whether or not you're truly ready, and that you're not going to be ruing your impulse plane ticket purchase on a Bangkok toilet in six months' time:
1. You need a fresh perspective on an old problem.
In your everyday life, when you're surrounded by your stuff, your friends and your job, your problems can feel huge. That's because they've been allowed to grow in a stagnant place. You haven't had the time or space to take a step back and get a good look at them from a new angle.
Getting away to a new, unfamiliar place can shake up your routine, shift your priorities and gift you with new ways of looking at things. You might just find that a breath of fresh air and a little perspective can make the solution to your problem pretty obvious.
There are so many ways you can do this. Try volunteering. Helping others with their problems has a funny way of muting or unravelling your own. Or maybe, throw yourself into a road trip. Go somewhere you never dreamed you'd go. Test yourself.
The world is a big and surprising place. Trust me: You won't believe how small your old problems will feel when you're lounging on a beach in Bali and drinking a cocktail out of a coconut.
2. You have a feeling there's something missing, and it just won't go away.
We're a generation that's trained to want more, more, more. We're not content to settle for an ordinary life, whether that's in a professional or personal capacity. This is a great thing. Why shouldn't we strive for more?
But, it can also nurture a nagging, unshakeable feeling that something is missing. Even if you did everything right – and on paper, your life is pretty fantastic – you can be left feeling like there's something missing, thanks to your peers and social media.
Seeing the world and enriching yourself with experiences (rather than possessions) may or may not be the magic ticket to filling that annoying, empty space. But even if it isn't, you're bound to have a fantastic time anyway.
3. You're finding it hard to get excited about your life.
You get up every morning, go to work, come home and go to sleep. Sound familiar?
If you feel like you're stuck in a rut, and if you're finding it tricky to get excited about the things you were once passionate about, maybe it's time to get away. You might find a place or lifestyle that suits you better.
Your travels might provide you with the break you need to better appreciate where you came from. What was that quote? “We must take adventures to know where we truly belong.”
4. You're not looking to run away.
Breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend and booking a flight to Thailand 10 minutes later isn't really your jam. You'd rather stay put and face your problems before rushing onto a flight.
For you, the decision to go traveling is not an impulsive one. You know you're not going to arrive at your hostel on the first night and end up in a puddle of tears on the floor, wondering what the hell you've done.
For you, traveling is inevitable and important. Once you embrace that, you'll realize it's time to go.
5. You can't remember the last time you felt this passionately about something.
Sometimes, the things we want the most are staring us in the face all along. We just fail to realize it.
Before I decided to go traveling, I was unwittingly spending most of my time pinning beautiful images of wild Canada on Pinterest, stalking my friends' travel pictures and looking back over my previous adventures.
If you want to go badly enough, you'll know. It will almost be as though there's no other option. At that point, there's only one thing left to do: go.