In a world where few people can afford to take off for months or even years, complaining about ADV travel burnout may sound like vanity or pointless whining. But the fact remains that travel fatigue is real, and plenty of riders experience it sooner or later – usually, around the six-month mark. Feeling the ADV travel burnout does not mean that you’re ungrateful, or that you’re a “bad traveler”. It just means you’re human.
ADV Travel Burnout Symptoms
If you’re grumpy and irritable all the time, if local peculiarities and quirks you used to find charming now are annoying, if you have no energy to go exploring, and if new places seem no different than the ones you’ve just visited, you may be experiencing travel fatigue. Loss of interest, exhaustion, and feeling like you’re just going through the motions also signify you might need a break. If you find yourself seeking out Western comforts wherever you go, spending hours in Starbucks just browsing on your phone, avoiding contact with locals and longing for simple pleasures like pizza and Netflix, all of these are also signs of travel burnout. Good news is, no, you’re not alone, and yes, you can fix it.
What to Do
We all travel differently and for different purposes, so dealing with travel fatigue is also very individual. Here are some tried and tested techniques that may help:
- Remove pressure to see everything. You may feel that because you’re on this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime journey, you absolutely need to check every single item off your bucket list. Rushing can quickly lead to exhaustion, so ease up and stop trying to be everywhere and do everything. It’s totally okay to skip Machu Picchu if it will allow you to recharge.
- Slow down. The faster you go, the more superficial your experiences are, and as human beings, we crave deeper connections. Stay in an area you like for a week, get to know the locals, make some friends, explore the local cuisine – living like a local can be a wonderful break from being on a constant move.
- Get a job. At some point, you may realize that merely traveling isn’t enough anymore. Plenty of riders take up photography, blogging, or freelance work after 2-3 years on the road; some may choose to volunteer abroad, and some may get jobs as they go along just so they can switch things up a little. Having meaningful work can add another layer to your trip.
- Take care of yourself. Being on the road can feel so exhilarating and exciting that we often forget to look after ourselves. Living on pot noodles and gas station snacks for months on end might sound adventurous, but you’re not doing your body any favors by neglecting it. Add nutritious, whole foods to your diet, hydrate more (no, beer doesn’t count), rest well, and splurge on a hotel or AirBnB once in a while to get some quality sleep in a comfy bed.
- Take a day – or a week – off. If you feel like vegging in a hammock with a book for several days, do it. Taking a break can do wonders to recharge and regroup.
- Go solo. If you’ve been traveling in a group or with your partner for months or years, a routine can set it and dampen the spirits. Breakaway and travel solo for a few days or a week, meeting up again at an agreed destination. It’s amazing how short breaks can offer a new, fresh perspective on things! Vice versa, if you’ve traveled alone for a long time, see if you can buddy up with someone – having some company after a long period of solitude can be a positive change.
- Go home. Long-term adventure travel isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. If you realize you’re hating life on the road, stop and go home. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying shorter rides and coming back to the comfort of your own home. On the other hand, you may discover that all you needed was to see your loved ones and take a short break, and now, after a short visit home, you’re ready to hit the road again. Google cheap flights and visit home every 6 or 8 months to keep a level head and some perspective.
- Go fully nomad. While some people may discover they don’t enjoy being on the road for months on end, some may realize nomadic life is exactly what they want. Selling or renting out your house and cutting ties with your employers may seem like a scary move, but it’s possible that it’s precisely what you need to be able to take the leap and go into full-time nomad mode. With so many options to work online, location-independent projects, and freelance gigs, being a digital moto nomad is now easier than ever.
Have you ever felt travel fatigue and how did you deal with it? let me know in the comments below.
Featured image: rtwPaul