Last year, I hit a major burnout moment. I had been traveling a lot over the past few years, and my husband and I finally decided to settle down and rent a place in Brooklyn. I was so relieved. Too many countries, too much stimulation, and wayyyy too much time without my own bed to sleep in. I was exhausted in every sense of the word: physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Honestly, travel just didn’t seem that fun anymore. When I thought about packing my bags, I didn’t get that same feeling of excitement or joy that I always had before. I only remembered the headaches that came with it, like missing your train or having troubles with checkout or who knows what.
I decided that it was time for me to take a break from travel–and it was one of the best things that I ever did for myself. If you would have told me that I would want some time off from being on the road a few years ago, I would have laughed in your face. This is the best thing ever! Why would I want a break?
I took only two major trips last year, and they were spaced out from one another. The first was China, which was an organized tour and I could basically turn my brain off and just enjoy the sights and culture, and the second was a whirlwind adventure through Bolivia and Peru (including hiking, mountain biking, and more). Both were very different from one another, and each meant something a little different to me.
Turns out, that year of fewer trips was the best thing I could have done to rekindle my passion for travel. My 2020 is insane: Ecuador, Costa Rica, Iceland, Faroe Islands, and the United Arab Emirates (and potentially Poland, Italy, Greece, Israel, and Turkey). Without a break from traveling, I don’t think I could take any of this on. I needed some time to decompress, to work, to read, and to think about why travel actually meant something to me. It was one of my main passions in life…but why?
There’s that saying that goes “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.” Honestly, it’s not true. Travel is work as well as fun. It’s putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, and it’s masochistic at best. After working in the travel industry for a number of years, it is work. Fun work, but work nonetheless.
So what do you do when you’re sick of travel? Here are some recommendations that helped me when I found myself questioning why I do it and whether or not it was worth my time and emotional energy.
Write down how you’re feeling
I wrote a whole piece on Thought Catalog about how travel added to my life, but how it wasn’t my main focus anymore. I was really hard on the concept, but it made me feel better about realizing that travel wasn’t my main passion anymore–living a good life that I felt proud of was. Also, it doesn’t have to be in writing. It can be a vlog, art piece, dance piece, whatever. Just a form of expression that isn’t actually traveling itself.
Entertain yourself in other ways
It was really easy to hide behind travel as my main source of inspiration. But the truth was, I’m passionate about a lot of other things: I love running, reading, singing, photography, and a lot more. I started watching great movies and visiting museums–all things that weren’t travel but reminded me that I could have other things I was interested in.
Take some time off
As mentioned earlier, I took only two major trips in 2019. Not only were they exciting because I had a chance to look forward to them, but they were also trips I could put my energy into planning and enjoying because I knew that they were my main focus for the year. Take a few months or a year off and you’ll be surprised how ready you are to book a flight for your next adventure.
Have you ever lost your passion for travel? How did you get it back?
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