Travel Burn Out
I didn’t really know why at the time, but I did recognize I was pretty burnout from overdoing the movement and routines of travel. It was a struggle at moments to keep up with the pace of a new city, another bus ride, another day the bag on my back. It’s so cheap to go from city to city these days; it can be so easy to do it all the time.
Arriving at new places, many things to do there, sleeping at hostels maybe far from where you landed, having friends in random neighbourhoods, it was a very ‘always burning energy’ time of my life. And when I arrived in a city, I was never there to rest or take it easy. Sometimes I would consider easy days, but when I settle in, view the sights on the tour pamphlets, talk to people about places, I’d get reignited to go again. That’s also a challenge to only being in a city for a couple days. To do the things you wish to do, you have to be moving and a rest day takes away from half your trip in that city.
To do: the hike, church, café, old bar, cute park walk, small town, big city walking tour, etc.
My entire life at the time revolved around seeing things outside of me and talking with people. It was a pretty addictive and enjoyable experience. I suppose I was on longer trips then others. I was rarely around people who could relate to the fatigue and duration of the trip. Surrounded by people who are only away from home for a few weeks, in a city for only a few days, no wonder they are bursting with energy.
I enjoyed meeting people while traveling, and seeing the cities with them for the feeling of community, experiences, and memories made. I think as well hostels weren’t the most conducive place to really relax and take it easy. Of course I could have not gone out and just enjoyed myself in the hostel, cook a dinner, watch a movie and let it be. It just felt so uninspiring, aimless. I traveled half way around the world for that? Fair point. But I didn’t travel half way around the world to feel drained and trying to keep up with an infinite amount of options and places. The concept of a good balance at that time was clearly something I was not excelling incredibly at. I felt estranged to doing nothing and waiting during the time. The momentum and resilience I had on day one was different then what it felt like after countless days, but I still tapped into it almost every day on the trip
I felt guilty being there and not doing the sights, and it was exciting, so I kept going. I could have said “Ok, you’ve seen a lot, it’s not a failure to rest and give it a day, let it go a bit, take a chill’.
Less is more may of helped, but really less is less and more is more in some cases. And I was betting this was one of them.
So there I am, traveling too much and resting too little, that’s this blog post in a nutshell
Traveling wasn’t building community, it was witnessing others communities. The health they buy in the markets they visited, their nest of a home, security of a job, partners they build lives with. Travel was a sacrifice of many of these things to see it in others.
Being far from friends and family, it was easy to be completely immersed wherever I went. At times we think I’m not enjoying this and it makes no sense why. Too much pride fueled me in those days. The trip of a lifetime, those headlines and labels id create would make changing course from it that much harder. It all felt like too worthy of a mission to slow down on. The very idea of taking a break felt too far at the time, I was too inspired and elated in all the new places I went.
Was I running away? Maybe, I was pretty stoked about going but maybe that’s something to consider. It was a wonderful time that I didn’t want to end. But I craved going immensely. The part that sticks out to me was there was this sort of have to go mentality. I wouldn’t allow myself not to go. I would think about it constantly. Maybe abit obsessive about how cool the trip would be, the potential of it, how much I would see.
Something, somewhere, gets on your mind, and one becomes impassioned about it. Even if it was off your mind forever up until then.
Perhaps those are the blind spots in the psyche of these times. The attitude of go, go, go, and never having a slowdown button. Maybe it’s just young people energy, our ability to see more than ever, further than ever, quicker than ever. The burnout that is a side effect of any rushing, overdoing, mentality. Of having too much and never enough simultaneously. The universes fatigue from speeding up, expanding, making new connections. The battle between what’s new and what it’s replacing.
And there was the inner realization. The excitement about going versus the reality of being there and feeling exhausted, savings drained, missing friends, missing home. Clearly the long term travel was something I wanted to do, more then come home, more than a day of rest, at the time. I had moments I wanted to come back, but turns out not enough. There was still a lot to see and experience.
Just buy the flight and happiness will follow, but by the year mark I was done. Even the 3 month mark, 6 month mark – it’s a lot of work living from a bag, in a new city with a new language, with traveler rights rather than citizen rights. I’d say as long as I’m in the place, everything will sort itself out. Clearly by this post not everything sorted itself out, but I’m here learning, and reflecting that some challenging days doesn’t take away from the good exciting ones.
Burned out in Paris? Watch a French movie. Read a good book about the city. Or cook a French meal. Pull some Tarot cards. Who knows. Something other than sightsee, then crowds, standing in lines and waiting at bus stops. Maybe that’s the new way.
I feel lighthearted now as my life is a lot easier then it was traveling like that. Traveling is simple, for sure. There’s an ease nowadays. I’m making money, got my home, things are cute and easy in that way. There’s a slight fear that it’s cyclical and before I know it a new burnout will happen again in its own way. Things are good now, and maybe extremism slips into all our lives at certain times. Could I do another big trip and lose my balance. Sure. I’ll write another post about it when I do. Maybe this post will be the little reminder if I feel I am. To take it easy…
It can feel hard to default to rest in times full of amazing things. But isn’t an amazing thing a wholesome thing. Isnt the amazing part that its nurturing, brilliant, fun, exciting, wild intertwined? Is that an illusion, like a city that has everything? Beach, mountains, tropics, never rains. There is no perfect city, but there are cities perfect for certain peoples tastes. No city can make everyone happy, but we all can find pieces we like and admire from each, and settle in the one that perhaps fulfills most of those desires for us.
The paradox of feeling drained in the place you came to come alive. So I felt it, good lesson. Who knows? Maybe there is a tinge of that, a lack of patience to really feel it. I’m not expressing how that Adam truly felt, I’m expressing how this Adam feels about it. Whole different experience. Right now it feels light, because I feel light. But when I felt emotional about it, it was a much more challenging experience. I’m not sure if I’m giving it credit it deserves. Maybe I need to touch on it. Maybe I don’t. Who knows. But talking about it is the beginning.
Has anyone else ever felt this? Travel burnout? There’s a decent amount written about it on the internet. It’s a new age subject I imagine, with all these digital nomads and long term travel ambitions of the world. Hit me up if you ever are going through it, love to help and talk about it.
Cheers and love!