Traveling the world is an absolute dream for many, myself included. Quite often I have to pinch myself and ask is this real? Is this really happening? I’m traveling and living the life I’ve always wanted to so why am I not feeling excited today? Why am I not feeling motivated to go out and explore?
This, my friend, is known as travel burnout. It’s a real thing! I’m seven weeks into my current trip and I don’t have an end date planned yet (I’m just going with the flow as per usual), but I’m finding myself craving the one thing in the world that I dislike the most – routine.
I’ve spent the last three weeks here in Vietnam. It’s my first time in this country and I have absolutely fallen head over heels in love! The people, the food, the culture and way of life here is so unique and different to what I have experienced before. Up until yesterday morning I was loving every minute but I woke up in the morning and had suddenly just had enough.
I didn’t feel like I could face the language barrier, I was feeling anxious to simply go downstairs and order a coffee, and I was missing my comfortable bed at home. I felt like I was being ungrateful to be able to have this opportunity to travel the world.
So what exactly is the problem? I’m experiencing travel burnout. My typical travel style is very slow, staying in one place and learning and absorbing as much as I can about it. I’m not one to visit a city for the day and move on – I want to really experience a place – and the last two weeks especially I have just been go go go.
I’ve covered a lot of coastline in the last fortnight. I haven’t stayed in one place more than two or three nights. I’ve travelled on overnight buses with minimal sleep which contributes to feeling tired and irritable.
So what am I doing to solve the problem? I’m stopping!
Not stopping traveling of course! I won’t stop until I’ve visited every single country – that is my mission. But stopping for now. I’ve found myself in a town called Ninh Binh in the north of Vietnam. I only have a week of my visa left and had planned to: explore around here, a nearby town called Tam Coc, experience a cruise on Ha Long Bay and hit the streets of Hanoi but I just can’t squeeze all of that into a week!
I’ve decided to stay put in the hostel I’m currently staying in for the next week until my visa expires and do absolutely nothing. Apart from food and coffee I’ve barely left my room. I feel like the best thing for me to do right now is to stay put in one place and pull myself and my motivation back together.
Having a little time off from seeing new things and exploring new places will definitely reignite my wanderlust. I just wouldn’t enjoy myself if I experienced Ha Long Bay today or wandered around Hanoi – I need a timeout.
I know this may sound like I’m complaining about nothing, or “first world problems” but I don’t see the point in going outside and appreciating and understanding a new place if I’m not feeling up to it that day. I’m not doing myself or the country I’m in any favours if my heart is not fully 100% in it – and I know Vietnam deserves my total attention and curiosity.
My plan for now is to stay put and start getting excited for my next country: Laos! Vietnam will still be here in a months time – I’m intending to come back here after Laos with a renewed passion and excitement to see the things I still want to see here plus even more.
I came across this cool article by Adventurous Kate talking about burning out while traveling which inspired me to get it off my chest here. Check it out for more including some ideas on what to do if you’re experiencing it.
Have you ever experienced travel burnout? Can you relate to what I’m feeling? Hit me up in the comments below or on Twitter @gdaymatejohn so I know I’m not the only one 🙂