Traveler’s Exhaustion 

It’s real, unfortunately. It’s a real thing that travelers, like myself, experience from time to time. We get to the point where every church looks the same, every city center is just as full of good food as any other, and we just feel done with it all, it doesn’t have the same effect that it all once did. 
I felt like an ass when I started feeling like this. I thought “Izze, you’re traveling the world right now, you’re literally backpacking through Europe, aka realizing one of your dreams, and you’re unhappy?” I honestly wanted so badly to just throw the towel in and go home. I thought I couldn’t take it any more. 
I had been traveling for almost four months by this time, and I basically felt that my hypothetical experience cup was full. I felt saturated in culture, in new cities, in exploring, in being uncomfortable and I just wanted to have some normalcy, some routine. I had been so many beautiful places, walked through some great museums and town squares, met loads of wonderful people, and ate a ton of delicious food. But these things were beginning to lose their exotic magic in my head. 
I had a moment which I was standing on top of a mountain in Croatia, overlooking the entire island and then a few others, if I looked hard enough I could probably see Italy – and I felt nothing. No feeling of awe, no wonder, no feeling of striking beauty. And after that, I continued to feel a lot of nothing. 
My backpack was feeling heavier and heavier and I thought that if I had to pick it up one more time, I’d just let it pull me over and I’d stay right there on the ground. If I had to take one more overnight bus ride, I’d ask the driver to just take me to the nearest airport. 
The traveler inside me was spent. I thought that I didn’t have the energy which I wanted to put into this journey. If you read my last post, I talk about how I believe the energy which we put into an experience greatly affects how we will then experience it. And for the most part, I had been able to keep my energy up and put what I wanted to into everyday. But now it felt like I just had no more energy to use. It wasn’t bad or good energy, there just wasn’t any. 
I want to remember every place that I’ve been to, to have stories to share at the ready at all times, I want to be able to process everything and be able to use my experiences for growth. 
But I realized a few things.
First, that’s not totally realistic. We don’t remember everyday of our lives, that’s what journals and photos and the Internet is for, to remember things for us. 
Secondly, I don’t have to process everything right way. A lot of my reflection will come when I actually am home, and have this whole experience to look at. For now, I need to remember to just be here. I’ll repeat – just be here. Be present, be active, just be, and then let the reflection come afterwards. If I try to process it all now, I’ll be distracted from where I’m actually at. 
Thirdly, after a talk with my parents and some time to myself, I remembered that it’s okay to be tired, to feel burnt out. I constantly had this feeling that because I’m traveling, that I need everyday to be full of some profound experience, that I need to squeeze in as much as I possibly can to each place I visit. I felt guilty when we had a day doing almost nothing. 
But I realized that my expectations for myself and this trip were set a little too high. Everyday isn’t going to be a crazy adventure. Some days will be spent in our beds watching tv and eating entire blocks of cheese – and that’s okay. It’s okay to be tired. People might think that this is just a long vacation, and don’t get me wrong, I’ve had the luxury of no homework or really any responsibilities besides keeping my backpack safe and myself alive for the last four months, but it gets tiring from time to time. It’s hard work navigating the world. And we need to remember to take care of ourselves, listen to what our bodies need, what our heads need. 
So I did, I listened to my body and my mind, we had some really good talks. I came so close to coming home, I even looked up tickets back to Denver. I gave myself four days to decide what I’d do, to allow both options to be options for all four days while I let myself relax and think and recharge a little bit. 
I’ve made the ultimate decision to stay on this journey. This was a dream that my two best friends and I created together and I intend to see it through. All I needed was some fresh air, some time on the beach, and a little help from my community of friends and family to get through my traveler’s exhaustion. 
I’m lucky to say that I’m traveling with two of the most supportive people in the world. They allowed me to talk through my mental state with them, listening closely, offering advice and ideas, confessing that of course they’d be bummed to see me go, but if it’s what I need to do, then they’ll support me.
So I guess traveler’s exhaustion is a thing, and if you are someone who ever experiences it, or any kind of life exhaustion, just remember first & foremost, it’s okay to be tired. It’s okay to have a day in. Listen to what your body, mind, soul, etc. needs and interact with it. Talk with yourself. Seek help from others if you need it. Disregarding it can only make it worse. And then do the things that you need to do to recharge, re-inspire yourself. 
Create a space for yourself to do so. Maybe it’s going to get coffee on your own, or taking a 30 minute shower and then sitting on your bed in your towel until your hair dries, or maybe it’s going for a run or maybe it’s eating a full pizza by yourself. You know you best, and if you’re still getting to know you, allow yourself to interact with you, to find & create you. We’re not robots, we’re imperfect as human beings, and all we can do is our best. 
This is starting to get cheesier than I originally intended, but those are the words I have for you today. Now I’m off to eat an entire pizza to myself (and probably won’t finish so Evin will end up finishing it for me).

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