6 Signs That You Should Take a Break From Traveling

March 7, 2016

I want to go home. I want it more than anything right now but I won’t do it. Not yet. Seeing my mom’s face would mean the world to me, but seeing the world means a lot to me too. I’ve been away for nearly three years and I won’t go home until I’ve finished the itinerary I set out to do.

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Because, well, I’ll regret it if I don’t.
While a life of travel is indeed a privilege, sometimes it feels more like something I HAVE to do. I spoke with a friend who travels often and she agreed that travel fatigue is real and happens to the best of us nomadic souls.

 

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Avoiding admitting this for a while now, I’ve realized that it’s finally time to go home. Not for too long and certainly not forever, but if I want to feel back in control of my life and re-connect with the people I love, now is the time.

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So, if any of you out there think you might be a little travel fatigued, there ain’t no shame in getting back on the plane. Here are some signs that you may need a little break.

 

 

You Aren’t Enjoying It Anymore

It was what you lived for, what made it difficult to go to sleep at night and easy to get up in the morning. You could almost physically feel it as you got that body high from being in an unfamiliar place. Now, the enjoyment has faded. Like a stoner who needs more and more weed to get that same high, you just don’t feel it like you used to. Navigating new places feels like a chore and holding up in a hotel room with some wine sounds about a thousand times better than chatting with other travelers in the downstairs bar.

 

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Nothing Feels Exciting

It’s like a piece of you is broken. The part that gets you fired up about exploring and finding adventure. Sometimes you want to slap yourself for your lack of excitement about being places that others dream about and having opportunities that many others never will. You feel like a snob really, especially when you barely bat an eyelash at a famous landmark or natural wonder. You wonder if you’ve seen so many amazing sights that you’re ruined forever. Will you ever be impressed again?

 

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You Are Literally Dreaming About Home

Thoughts of your family and friends are on your mind so often, that they start to seep into your dreams. While you can shove these sentimental feelings to the side during the day, your unconscious mind brings out all of your most twisted and deepest fears. Sometimes you wake up crying to dreams that family members died while you were away. Other times, you wake up out of breath from chasing your mom around a dream world and searching for your sister who seems to go missing in your mind every few nights.

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All You Want To Do Is See Friends And Family

Some days, even your own itinerary drives you insane and you would much rather watch TV with your Dad than go whale watching off the coast of whatever paradise you happen to be visiting. The dinner plans you have for the top rated restaurant in the country seem tedious compared to a home cooked meal by your mom. And, even the bohemian looking, three language speaking travel blogger from France seems lame compared to your best friend from home.

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Your Life Feels Out Of Control

Control of your life always seems to be just out of reach. Keeping up any sort of exercise and beauty routine seems nearly impossible when your toothpaste is buried at the bottom of your bag or when the lines for the hostel showers are six deep. You can’t keep up with a healthy diet and never seem to have access to a kitchen when you are sick of eating in restaurants. Your bank account is dwindling and trying to work from the road is draining your energy and making you wonder why you came to Thailand if you’re just going to be sitting on your computer all day. To Do lists never get finished and student loans, taxes, phone calls and doctor visits are way harder to handle than they should be.

 

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Your Travels Feel More Like a Mission

Even though it was 100% your decision, travel is starting to feel more like a mission you were sent on rather than a choice that you made. While you could technically pack your bags and fly straight back home, you have an itinerary of places to visit and experiences to have that somehow feel binding. You think about cutting city visits short and skipping entire countries to get home sooner, but are too fearful of regret to ever make any of these drastic decisions.

 

Long term travel is a lifestyle and just like any lifestyle, sometimes we need a break from the routines and norms we create for ourselves. Travel will be a huge part of my life for the unforeseeable future but right now, I need a break before I lose sight of why I fell in love with it in the first place.

 

What about you? Has anyone else ever felt this way while traveling?

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16 Comments

  • Reply Wayne Seto March 7, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Hi Shannon,

    Loved this piece. I experienced all your points to varying degrees during my year abroad. I just got back to Canada and despite having some difficulty adjusting, it’s a welcome change. For myself, it has been good to be back on familiar grounds to recalibrate myself as I prepare for future travel and ambitions. From my travels over the years and in particular this last year, I realized that my most important asset is my mind and I need time to let it rest, recharge and dial in on my next set of projects. I loved being away for the year and I know now more specifically what I want. Like I said, great post and enjoy your time back home. Give yourself some time to rest and put together all the things that you’ve learned abroad for the next chapter of your life 🙂 Hope to see you on the road somewhere in the future!

    • Reply Livesabroad March 7, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Hey Wayne ! You are oh so right about the mind being important! When you feel your mental state slipping away from you, it’s time to do something about it. I also love what you said about going home and putting together all of the things that you learned for the next chapter. This is so right. I feel like I have learned and experienced so much and it’s all floating around my mind and I need some stability to make sense of it all and determine how I am going to apply these things to my life!

      I hope Canada is treating you well! Keep me posted on what you end up doing?

      -Shannon

  • Reply Florence Murphy March 7, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Great post Shannon – excellently written. 🙂

    I think I, and most other long-term travellers, can identify with at least one, if not all, of these feelings.

    I know I can definitely resonate with number 4 &5. It all sounds amazing to others and it is, but sometimes I get so frustrated because there are the downsides to this lifestyle and the points that you outlined about are very real for some of us. Again, it’s one that we chose so we can’t complain about these things. I just wish they were acknowledged that little bit more and so many people didn’t see this lifestyle as ‘perfect’.

    Wishing you the best for the next few months and I hope that your break away from it all will remind you of those feelings that you had when you left home first. And, more importantly, enjoy the precious time with your family and friends.

    • Reply Livesabroad March 7, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks Florence! It’s nice to know that others feel that way. Sometimes I feel like a huge privileged brat for having these thoughts and feelings but it makes it worse to just suppress them. I also get super sad when people out there start firing back about how we shouldn’t complain about this stuff too. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about my feelings just because I’m traveling. Anyway, thanks for the support and best of luck to you guys on your travels too!

      -Shannon

  • Reply nia March 7, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Great post! Too much of a good thing can happen to anyone, don’t feel guilty about it! I felt like this after my gap year – I was 100% ready to come back and get stuck into more of a routine with family and friends and stay rooted for a while. It is human to always want change and dissatisfaction is what drives us to seek new challenges 🙂
    beautiful and honest post, absolutely love it xxxxxx

    • Reply Livesabroad March 7, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks Nia! It makes me feel better to chalk it up to being a human thing! And you are totally right about dissatisfaction driving us to seek new challenges. I want to always keep looking at it that way.

      -Shannon

  • Reply Janice March 7, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Definitely been there/done that! I agree that when you feel this way, NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR IT so you do feel like you have to keep it to yourself. I used to own a wholesale bakery and as much as I adore cookies, I have to admit that after the first year if I never saw another chocolate-chip cookie that was fine by me. ( Unfortunately, in this case, the urge does come back!) As for travel, if it’s starting to cross the line from pleasure to just work, then I know it’s time to scale it back.

    • Reply Livesabroad March 7, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      Hey Janice! I think I just get sick and tired of anything I do too much! I am a bit of a change addict. I love it. I like when things are different. I feel like cookie cravings would not be a thing to ever go away!! Thanks for your input. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

      -Shannon

  • Reply Iree March 7, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Yeah, I’m at that point right now, I hate not being impressed! That’s why I decides that I’m going back to Madrid this summer, start working there and right now focus on writing all my adventures in the blog I just started. Plus, this will also let me save money for when I’m back to travel^^

    • Reply Livesabroad March 8, 2016 at 2:05 am

      It’s such a sad feeling! I’m glad you decided to head back to Madrid. It’s such a great city! Good luck with all of your writing. I am sure you will have loads to talk about!

  • Reply Travel Pockets March 8, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Your blog title caught my attention, so here I am 🙂 It was a very interesting read and I love your photos.

    • Reply Livesabroad March 8, 2016 at 2:04 am

      Thanks for checking it out travel pockets! Glad that you are here!

  • Reply Red Nomad OZ March 8, 2016 at 4:35 am

    I was on a 12 month road-trip in Australia – it was awesome, but the giveaway that I needed a break was when I got excited about meeting our Accountant who’d travelled interstate to do some tax work!!!!! But re-connecting doesn’t always have to mean going home – a few weeks later, a few family members trekked all the way to where we were to spend Xmas with us! Once they’d left, we were back on track. Yes, that was a lucky break for me – but it’s also important to acknowledge that going home isn’t ‘failure’, and nor is it ‘forever’!

    • Reply Livesabroad March 8, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Aww man, excited about meeting an accountant. I totally get that. It’s nice that your family members came to see you. My parents and sister don’t even have passports. It’s really frustrating that I don’t get many visitors from home : (

  • Reply Anazette March 10, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Yes, I can definitely relate! I just returned to Ohio after living abroad in South Korea for two years. I was so ready to return since October of last year. Now that I’m back I feel compelled to travel and live abroad again for an additional year in Spain to rebuild my Spanish. While I know I need this time to rest and recuperate, that wanderlust pull can be so strong. While I’m back in my hometown with my family, the surroundings just feel sort of weird as if they don’t fit me, so I just know I couldn’t stay more than a year. I’m almost 30 and while I know there’s no cookie cutter way to live, I just am not sure where I want to establish roots yet. It’s like I’m always feeling pulled to see what else is out there.

    • Reply Livesabroad March 11, 2016 at 7:27 am

      I am so worried about going home and not fitting in! I was home for a week almost two years ago now and I felt really out of place then. Now that it’s been even longer, I am so terrified to feel like that again. It’s good to know that you are still feeling the wanderlust and traveling at close to 30.I always feel the pressure of society, and feel like I should have a career or some stability by then. So, it’s nice to know that other people are still traveling at all ages!

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