Adjusting to long term travel

adjusting to long term rtw travel nzmuseOne of the things I thought would be the most difficult about long-term travel was laundry. While it’s proved to be a bugbear for T (who is convinced that me handwashing his stuff in a basin does not get it clean, and given the amount he sweats, he may have a point), but by and large, it really hasn’t been an issue at all – we just visit laundromats a little more often than the budget would like to.

Changing beds all the time? Nah. I’ve moved house a LOT. I can feel at home almost anywhere. Even three nights in the same place feels fairly settled these days. Taking time for a long shower/bath, to shave your legs and pits, and all that jazz, is luxury, especially after a long sweaty day.

We’ve definitely learned that we like to take things slow – as in, a couple of rest days a week, look for a range of travel resources and don’t rush things. Days where we aren’t on the go, when we don’t do much, if anything at all; veg out indoors or relax in a park, or catch up on blogging, work, or planning our next moves.

I’ve surprised myself with how well I’ve taken to long term travel. That said, the prospect of going home at the end of the year is now more comforting than depressing. I still fully intend to make the most of the time we have left – but the tide has turned.

In an alternate life, I could see myself doing the location independent thing. But I have a partner, and you know what? I want the house and garden and domestic bliss.

Dealing with travel burnout

Travel is hard. Real hard.

Spending almost all your time with one person, dealing with shitty transport and hole-in-the-wall digs … after awhile, it can get overwhelming. It’s beyond amazing to experience new places all the time, but on the flipside, the novelty eventually wears off (as I suspected), and you’ve got to actively work on remembering to be awed, humbled, and grateful. Living out of a backpack is incredibly freeing, but at times, frustrating. Not worrying about cleaning bathrooms/taking out the rubbish/paying the internet bill/filling up the car is freaking blissful, but replaced by poring over train timetables/Couchsurfing profiles/city maps.

Crowded trains and Mediterranean heat has proved the tipping point, for T at least – who is definitely more of a holidayer than a traveller.

What do you do when you or your partner are burned out on travel?

Slow down.

Luckily, our three-week HelpX stint (volunteering on an organic farm) came at the right time. Putting down light roots for a short time, eating home cooked food, and getting into a routine. There are challenges, of course – it hasn’t been as smooth sailing as I imagined – but that’s a subject for a future post.

Now I just have to deal with my other stressor – mini panic attacks about everything from running out of cash before November, finding a place to live when we get back, figuring out what to do with our crappy car, sorting out all the other little things that will need sorting, and just generally feeling overwhelmed about the future.

6 thoughts on “Adjusting to long term travel

  • Reply Vanessa August 30, 2013 at 04:12

    I completely agree! I have friends who want to go off on long trips and I’ve advised ALL of them to at least take a semi-long vacation somewhere before they take off on a multi-month/year-long trip. It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t done it but just the sheer planning and shuffling and being confused ALL OF THE TIME is exhausting and sometimes you just want to be back home where everything is familiar

  • Reply Michelle August 30, 2013 at 04:23

    Like Vanessa said, we want to first try with a semi-long vacation before we get into long-term travel. Long term travel can be very hard. Moving around all the time sounds stressful to me!

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie August 30, 2013 at 04:36

    I can enjoy a two week traveling trip, or a year long putting down roots sabbatical. Things in between that are much harder.

  • Reply Amber August 30, 2013 at 07:47

    I could see that. After our 3-week stint in Europe I was EXHAUSTED. We never spent more than 3 nights in one place though. I figure the sign of a really good vacation is when you’re READY to come home and get back to real life 🙂

  • Reply mochimac @ save. spend. splurge. September 2, 2013 at 02:42

    The way I deal with it is I sit in a park and just watch people go by. One whole day of doing jack squat.

    I am always happy to come home, especially after my recent 2-month stint in Europe. I might be getting too old for this.

    It is exhausting to have to remember to pack everything, move from place to place, sit on a bus for 15 hours to save 500 EUR per person for a trip, and then to get used to a noisy / new environment, all while trying to enjoy yourself on “vacation”.

  • Reply MakintheBacon September 3, 2013 at 11:56

    After not showering and sleeping for 4 days, while hiking for 8-10 hours(majority of it uphill) along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, I was dying for a hot shower. When we finally got back to our hotel, I must have showered for at least an hour. I’m surprised there was enough hot water for both my friend and I to each have long, hot showers.

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