When you’re at home in your old familiar surroundings, nothing seems better than getting away to see the world, make new friends and try exotic foods. Unfortunately, once our rose colored glasses come off, we’re faced with the fact that life, no matter where we are, has its downsides.
The frustrating language barrier when you’re in a hurry, the enthusiastic pointing and staring you get for being a foreigner, the perpetual filthy state of your clothes and hair, the constant deprivation of sleep due to loud dorms or overexcited room neighbors, and of course, the lack of any semblance of a routine.These are just a few of the things you’ll face once you step out of your comfort zone and start doing some serious traveling. Now, this isn’t meant to scare you away from ever attempting long-term travel; on the contrary, it is meant to prepare you for the challenges you’ll face and, hopefully, help you enjoy your trip regardless.
Here are five great ways to cope with travel burnout and make your journey unforgettable for all the right reasons.
This may sound daft, because after all, you’re traveling and you’re supposed to be seeing sights, undertaking activities and generally having more fun than any of your friends at home. However, if you’ve been on the road for a few months and the constant need to uproot yourself and your belongings is getting you down, it’s time to slow your pace. Go over your itinerary and rearrange a few things so that you can stay where you are for a week longer than you planned. This will give you the time you need to recuperate mentally, have a long sleep in, do your laundry and reconnect with friends and family at home.
If all the little things are starting to get to you, chances are you just need to vent. If you’re traveling solo, this can be hard to do, as you’re often on your own, which can make it difficult to see the humorous side of a situation. Try to stay at hostels as much as possible. This will give you a chance to chat with other travelers, swap stories and laugh at some of oddities of the place you’re visiting. Reminding yourself that you’re not alone in your frustrations can do a lot to ease any stress or discomfort you may be feeling.
Never mind that the reason you wanted to travel in the first place was to leave the familiar behind, if you’re feeling burned out it may well be that the “newness” of your surroundings is becoming overwhelming. If you’re used to going for a morning coffee and journaling, try to find a great local coffee shop where you can continue the ritual. If you normally do yoga before work at home, find a local yoga studio or get a DVD and practice in your hotel room. Little things like this can be surprisingly comforting.
When traveling, we generally have a budget we try to stick to religiously, which means we’re always looking for the cheaper hotels, eating local street food and taking the roughest mode of transport in town. Roughing it in a foreign country can be exciting, but it can also become extremely draining after some time. Don’t be afraid to splurge on a hot shower, private room or luxurious meal every now and then. It will help you keep your sanity and also allow you to experience a more pleasant side of the country you are visiting.
Anyone who’s ever traveled extensively knows that after a while all you can think about is that comfort food from home; whether it’s a large hamburger with extra mayo, a bowl of pasta dripping with cheese or a steaming piece of roast chicken. Even if the food in the country you are traveling in is delicious, you’ll probably crave the old familiar from home from time to time. Rather than suffer in silence, why not look for some of the ingredients from home and prepare your own meal every now and then? Some hostels or guesthouses provide kitchen space where you can cook, or better yet, you could offer to cook something from your country for a new friend you’ve made at your destination.
Photos by girlandtheworld/creative commons
Today’s guest author is Tess Pajaron. Tess got the travel bug when she was still young. She traveled in and out of the US frequently with her family. At the age of fourteen, her passion to explore began to grow on her. She has traveled to several parts of America, Canada and Asia including Hongkong, Macau, Indonesia, South Korea and many more. After graduating from college, she spent a year living in Chicago working as a Registered Nurse. She’s currently living in the Philippines and just got married last August 2011 with a web designer who inspired her to be a blogger someday. But marriage did not really stop her from her passion and she has trips already planned for this year with her husband for Singapore, Malaysia, Sydney and again in the US. She is hoping on venturing the rest of Europe, Russia and Peru over the following year. Right now, she is part of Open Colleges’ Tourism Team.