how to survive long term travel

How to Survive Long Term Travel

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OK, so you’ve been away a year or two now and reckon travel’s well cool and you want to go on.

But you can’t.

You’re tired, numbed, overwhelmed.

Panic not: there’s an easy solution. Stop. Go home !

There’s no shame in this.

Forget the societal badge of honor: “I traveled for two years …”; afterall, why do something that doesn’t thrill you?

Stopping is the obvious answer, yeah?

But going home isn’t – if your options there, suck.

So, what now?

Long term travel sanity solutions.

Stop on route.

Work somewhere. Or volunteer: although the amount of disillusioned volunteers I’ve encountered makes me wonder about that option. Yet there must be some happy stories … let me know).

If you don’t need the cash – then take a long holiday, get drunk everyday or read, whatever, simply park-up awhile – like 1-6 months – and desaturate from the stream of exciting experiences that is travel.

Or maybe it’s the endless journeying of buses, trains, taxis, packing, unpacking, checking-in that tires you out?

Personally, I don’t find the physical journey too exhausting.

It’s the barrage of experiences and sights – after 6-12 months of intense travel – that overstimulates and hence, tires me.

how to survive long term travel
Traveling long term – like many years – can play with your sanity.

So, when I get full, I must desaturate (before I’m ready again, to refill).

Like, needing to be a total vegetable.

So what sort of vegetable should you aspire to become?

Think potato.

Meaning the obvious: that couch potato cliche.

For the first couple of weeks, I barely do anything but sit around. Watch movies or read, listen to music.

But mostly I just stare into space with a bottle and daydream (on a balcony with view, at the beach, in the mountains, etc).

For a period of time, I retreat from photography and avoid browsing recent photo archives.

After a week or two, this veg state becomes dull.

And so it’s time to get into work.

And amid the job routine (I teach English), I begin exploring the local environment with small regional trips.

Basically, do whatever works for you.

Just ensure you’re empty your head before embarking on another long trip.

The 6 months-on 6 months-off formula works well for me.

But mix it up accordingly.

Sometimes a month is enough, sometimes 3 months away from travel.

Maybe a year is good if you feel the need to settle down, to unpack your bag and to live “normally” for awhile.

If you’re a restless soul like me, I’ve found that living, holidaying or working somewhere starts as a nice change then becomes “routine” soon.

This freshness then fades.

Gets a bit stale before boredom sets in and I crave a new horizon … the road beckons.

Fresh again!


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AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve been nomadic since 1988 – over 120+ countries – and this is how I’ve managed to continue traveling for so long and far. Simply, by alternating intense overland journeys with mellow, foreign-rest stops. But off course, everybody is different and has differing needs.

Global Nomad
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