A Little Confession…When Travel Fatigue Sets In

Have you ever had those trips where you just feel like perhaps the planets weren’t aligned for you to be traveling right now? Everything is going minorly wrong, and it’s all adding up to be a bit exhausting?

I really hope that I am not alone, because this trip to Central America has been hard, like really hard. And it’s not any one thing that I can put a finger on because I still am really enjoying the countries I’m visiting and many of the unique experiences. I’ve even slowed down a lot and just planted myself in Guatemala to see if that would help with the travel fatigue (and because I really like Guatemala!).

But a few minor difficulties and a few not so minor make me just a little weary right now. I am incredibly grateful that I get to travel, that is not the issue here; it’s more that the whole experience is a lot harder work recently then it has been in the past. Two weeks ago my debit card was cloned, money was stolen, fiasco to get a new one through the Guatemalan post and to my doorstep. This in and of itself, not such a big deal – it happens right?

This incident, though, points to some wider over-arcing issues that have cropped up in the past three months – lots of illnesses this trip, some big family problems cropped up back home, and it seems like more general difficulties here. Are there more difficulties than on my RTW, or am I just tired? That’s what I keep pondering.

I’m a big fan of a phrase that my favorite PR professor used to say “perception is reality, facts notwithstanding.” I truly believe that we just have to alter our perception of a situation to see other alternatives, a different perception leads to a different reality. So that’s where I am at right now. Accept, acknowledge, and consider – I’m trying to reframe my perspective and perception of all of this.

Well, I’ve got one month left, and then it’s home to the States for a wedding. I feel like maybe once I go back stateside I can reset the clock – start fresh next time I head out. Also thinking the solution might be to expat myself somewhere for six months or a year (Thailand?), to have a homebase and explore more from there.

Any thoughts? Do you even know what I’m talking about?!

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18 Responses to A Little Confession…When Travel Fatigue Sets In

  1. soultravelers3 May 20, 2010 at 12:01 am #

    Oh yes! Sending hugs from Spain!

    Just after we started our open ended world tour, my step father was diagnosed with stage IV Cancer …a huge burden for him & my mother that also keeps her from her planned visits to us, I almost bled to death in Vienna one year, then broke & paralyzed my dominant right arm last August in a bike wreck….still numb & not fully healed. We've had to get serious dental work on the road, our off shore bank regularly cuts off our debit card without warning & sends are replacement cards to Ca even though they know we are in Spain for the winter. etc etc etc.

    Problems don't go away on the road, they are amplified in many ways. Blogging on the move is not easy. Like everyone says rest , eat well & take it easy. Skype friends & chat, unplug other wise. Going slow is really key. We love our winters in a tiny foreign village far from expats, but, we're all itching to get on the move now again. When you get shaken & feel more vulnerable, you need to fill up your cup, so you can enjoy the travel. Daily meditation and time in nature also helps us a lot & we are lucky to be surrounded by good hugabuddies. ;) Replenish & the fatigue disappears!

  2. ednacz May 20, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    Totally relate-able! I'm thinking of heading to Thailand myself this coming winter just to chill out on the beaches for a while and figure out where I'm going with life =)

  3. Gourmantic May 20, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    The expat option sounds like a good one to explore. I like the idea of having a base somewhere. I get homesick at times.

  4. Mina May 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    We have “travel fatigue” all the time – aka laziness.

  5. Maria Staal May 19, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    Like everyone said. It's not strange that you feel fatigued. With me it always helped to stay put for a while, just doing nothing.

    Being an expat is great, so that's a good idea for your next trip.

    I hope you feel better soon! Good luck. :)

  6. Book Lady May 19, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Hang in there, Shannon. Your friends have all had good insight and advice.

  7. Audrey May 19, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    Oh, I definitely relate! And there are so many conflicting emotions – guilt, fatigue, confusion – and you're not 100% where you're staying (Guatemala) because you're thinking of home and other things. It's tough. I agree with the others here – slowing down (which you've done), getting lots of rest, and trying to eat well (difficult sometimes) does help.

    Also, although you love Guatemala (we did too) I have to say that traveling there was emotionally difficult at times. Each time we would tell people our plans, the response would be “peligroso” and we'd have to figure out whether we would be faced with armed robbery or just standard pickpocketing. It also seemed like a national pasttime for people (locals and expats) is to tell you the latest busjacking or kidnapping incidence in the country. And, food does make a difference and although Guatemalan food can be good, it also can feel limiting at times. We found it more challenging to travel in Latin America than Asia.

    Good luck!

  8. Anil May 19, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    Completely understandable. It's harder when you're on the go to deal with some things but once you settle in somewhere for a bit and get in a routine that helps to ease the fatigue. Hope things turn around soon for you, I'm sure they will :)

  9. DavenDeb May 19, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel Shannon. And with the problems you are facing with the debit card, the earthquakes, the illnesses and the family problems. You have a right to be weary.
    We found India to be difficult and we had quite a hard time with travel fatigue. To top it off we felt guilty having travel fatigue. It eventually went away after we decided to relax on the beach in Sri Lanka for 10 days. Staying in one place and recharging the batteries helped a lot. I think that everyone gets a little travel fatigue on long trips. Especially when they are facing a lot of obstacles like you are right now.
    During this last travel, we talked about having a home base of some kind during our next trip as well. The constant moving can be tough.
    Sending lots of love your way and hoping that things get better for you.

  10. Earl May 19, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

    Hey Shannon – It's definitely not abnormal what you're feeling. Every time I feel similarly to how you're feeling, I've realized that the constant movement from place to place was the culprit. And so I would just stop or I would move to some ideal place for 3 or more months in order to regroup (hence the reason I've been in Mexico for 7 months now!). Without doing that every now and then, I tend to spend too much time worrying about projects I want to start and work I need to do and as a result, I don't connect with and enjoy my travels as much as I should.

  11. Andy Hayes May 19, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    Happens to everyone I think. The lack of routine, the living out of a suitcase, the poor diet as Trisha mentions… it can be tough. Hang in there – it will pass and soon enough you'll be on firm footing.

  12. Andy Hayes May 19, 2010 at 11:43 pm #

    Happens to everyone I think. The lack of routine, the living out of a suitcase, the poor diet as Trisha mentions… it can be tough. Hang in there – it will pass and soon enough you'll be on firm footing.

  13. Trisha Miller May 19, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    Sometimes what we assume is just travel fatigue is really that our bodies are reacting to a change in our diet, not the travel itself. It's really important to be sure you're still eating healthy foods that give you energy, because a lack of certain nutrients (such as B vitamins) can effect both our mood (mind) and stamina (body)….sometimes it can be due to a very low-grade infection that our body is working hard on fighting that saps our energy…….and of course, sometime it really is just fatigue.

    Whatever is ailing you, I hope you recover quickly!

  14. Nomadic Chick May 19, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    Fatigue can be measured by those little annoyances that “regular” life pose – i.e. having a debit card cloned. When illness strikes as well, it can rub the luster off travel. As a concept, us bloggers sell travel as magical, life-altering… heck, sometimes it's also reality, which completely explains your weariness. You probably need to recharge, quite natural for the mind and body. :)

  15. brookevstheworld May 19, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

    Yep, it totally happens. It seems that not many people ever really bring it up, but it happens to a lot of travelers who are on the road for a while… they just need to settle down for a bit. Not sure why, but it seems that there is something to be said about having a “home”, or at least a “home base”.

  16. Kyle Crum May 19, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    Travel fatigue happens, don't worry about it. I totally like your plan to expat yourself somewhere. I'm a fan of depth over breadth and being an expat is an excellent way to have a (fairly) stable life while still experiencing another culture.

  17. Candice May 19, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    Hey, it can only improve from here…right? Sorry to hear things aren't going as planned, though!

  18. Stephanie May 19, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    I think that we can get in these funks even when we're NOT traveling. Maybe this is just a response to having a few setbacks/family problems and not necessarily related to the traveling itself? Just a thought.

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