Chance is you never experienced what I call travel fatigue (and I don’t mean jet lag). And that would be a good thing, believe me. According to the ticker on my front page I have been travelling just short of 600 days, or a bit more than 19 months. This is a long time to be away from friends, family and your normal surroundings.
What is it?
Travel fatigue goes a bit beyond being homesick. Having to constantly take in new experiences, new cultures, new people and a new environment can just be a mission sometimes, when all you actually want is some comfort food, your own room with a TV and a DVD player and a key to lock your front door. Pretty hard when you stay in dorm rooms, where your bed neighbours change on a daily basis and people come and go as they please at all times during the day/night.
What are the effects?
As a consequence I feel completely unmotivated to do anything, like write blog posts, go out on day trips or even talk to people. You could say I have a mild case of travel-related depression. I find myself sleeping long into the day, staying up long past midnight and burying myself in work. Sometimes I only go to bed at five in the morning. I do this so I have some time on my own (well almost) and some peace and quiet.
What can you do about it?
I know what you’re thinking. Why doesn’t he just go home, if he doesn’t like it anymore? The thing is that I know I do not want to go back home just yet. In my case, I think, going home would just about accomplish nothing. Never go home if you know for sure that you don’t want to. I still love travelling, but at the moment I don’t want change. I want stability and a constant routine. I just want to live somehwere for a while and not travel around.
There are a few things you can do if you get hit by travel fatigue:
- Instead of going home rent yourself a room somewhere for a month or two. That way you can get some kind of routine back into your life.
- Find something to do. Chance is, if you’re travelling long term, that you have some kind of skills that allow you to earn money on the road. Get yourself a job. This will structure your life even more.
- Make the effort to go out and make some friends in the expat community. There are expats even in the most unlikely places and seeing familiar faces will help you find your travel feet again.
- Don’t be hasty. Take as much time as you need. Only once you’re ready to head back out into the wild again, do so!
- Don’t close yourself off and keep an open mind. Sometimes, even if you don’t feel like it initially, you can have a great time by just saying yes, when asked by fellow travellers to come out for a drink or two or go see a temple or something.
What will I do?
In my case I will have to wait until I get to India to do something about my travel fatigue (although New Years Eve gave me a big boost). I am in KL at the moment and work on a few web pages. These might turn into quite big projects for me, so I guess I will be looking for somewhere to stay for a month or two in the Goa area (that’s where I fly into) and finish them there. If you have any recommendations then I’m all ears!
What are your thoughts?
Have you ever experienced travel fatigue? If so, what did you do? Let me know in the comments!
I wish everybody a Happy New Year and hope you don’t find this article too depressing :)