Some people dream of the life I live. Travel forever and ever, crossing the horizon as my greatest challenge and endless summer.
Ehm….lets rewind that……..
Endless summer? At the moment here it is rain season and heavy rains bother my view, my trip and my beach life, falling coconuts everywhere and floods and landslides.
Crossing the horizon as my greatest challenge? Gosh, how about dark lonely nights, facing huge spiders all by myself and kill giant roaches? And what about the dangers of traveling alone?
Travelling forever and ever? Yeah right, well sometimes a person need to rest a while. Traveling forever can become a challenge on its own.
Did you ever hear about the travel burnout?
It is probably a first world problem, but it does exist. And some traveller will never experience it, they seem to be able to go on 24/7. Others, more sensitive, more open, are the ones most likely to burn down from the constant packing and repacking, hotel bookings and endless miles you have ahead of you.
How to know if you suffer from one?
Here are some signs that might indicate you suffer from a travel burnout.
- you do not laugh as much anymore as you used to, specially about bad days
- you feel the urgent need to know what lies ahead, to plan and to control
- you keep delaying your next booking
- you get irritated over cultural differences
- you are on the verge of tears every time something outside your comfort zone happens
- you feel extremely tired, without any cause, the smallest things to do seem like mountains to climb
- you do not feel like bargaining or looking for the cheap deals anymore
- you start to dislike touristic places or activities
- you only see the negative side of where you are
- you want to go home
Please note: you have to travel in order to recognize them. You can read this when you are not traveling to get some understanding for travellers you know not being happy 24/7 and complaining about their trip and help them through it.
How to prevent getting a travel burnout?
- be honest towards yourself about how you feel, don’t push away any sad feelings or fatigue
- if you have to push yourself to book that next destination, maybe skip it and stay and rest for a while
- travel slow, slow down, stay put for a while, there is no need to rush through the pages of your latest Lonely Planet edition
- do less touristy things, crowded places long waiting lines can drain you. Disappointment is around the corner with all the photoshopping that is going on, and your destination might not be so bright as Google has shown you, so take a break.
- tickle yourself, be nice to yourself, indulge yourself every now and than into something you really like, like a good massage, ice cream to the max or that quiet sunset on the beach
- do not even try to explain it to those back home, they will not understand and it will frustrate you even more
- work this out alone, set a new time table, new boundaries, ground yourself, get to know this aspect of yourself. It will make you stronger.
For me the only way to prevent a travel burnout is to know the signs and find my hiding place, even in a crowd.
Signs for me are: when motorbike rides get stressful and drain me. When I see a scabies puppy or a wounded animal and I feel like crying. When that one child with the big brown eyes looks straight into my heart.
When vendors get irritating.
I know I have to take some me time, to slow down, to eat some ice cream, do some quiet time by myself and regain new energy.
There is nothing to be ashamed of by the way. people back home will not understand. They will label you as negative, spoiled or whatever. Do not listen to them. Only we, travellers, know how hard life on the road can be. How lonely the evenings can get and how hard the world hits when you are tired and vulnerable.
To be able to travel safe, you need to be strong. And when you feel weak you need to take a break to regain that self confidence you need to roam around freely without being an obvious crime target.
Find your own sanctuary when you see the signs of a burnout and rest.
Travel is about getting to know yourself, this is part of it.