I never expected it to happen. One day, as I was on a motorcycle coursing through a foreign lonesome road lined with coconut trees, I suddenly felt this weird tingle in my heart. The feeling resembled the gnawing ennui I often suffered when I was back home and stuck in the city. I say it was a weird feeling because I have never, ever anticipated that I would feel desperately bored doing the thing I love the most — travelling.
In this day and age, travelling is glorified. In fact, it’s become this go-to solution for every problem. Heartbroken? Travel. Stressed from work? Travel. Lost in life? Travel. Sometimes, though, travelling becomes a source of trouble. More often than not, it’s difficult for us to admit this— especially to ourselves. But, the fact is that travel burnout is real. Like everything else in life, there will come a point when we will find it as nothing more than a tedious, repetitive task.
Travel burnout has its symptoms, and sometimes the only cure is to go on a travel hiatus until our heart heals. My travel burnout was so bad, because I had to go through all the following symptoms before I accepted that I just had to take a break.
There was a time I was a hundred percent convinced that I hated routine. This belief led me to avoid anything that forced me to sit down. On the other hand, it also made me always seeking for more. Travelling was my way of escaping the uneasiness I inevitably felt when I had no choice but to stay still. As a result, I thought boredom was impossible as long as I was on my feet.
However, there came a time that even when I was travelling, I felt extremely bored. I thought I was just hungry for even more travel, so I extended my vacation. Lo and behold, even long-term travelling didn’t work out for me. Even visiting tourist spots didn’t excite me anymore. Instead, I felt an even worse symptom of travel burnout…
I was obviously exhausted. My body was showing me signs, and I kept ignoring them. My skin was breaking out so bad, I had a constant headache, and I felt tired all the time. The only thing that kept me going was my fear of missing out. I literally had to force myself to travel, because I was scared I would regret it if I didn’t. However, my heart knew that I needed the comforts of my bed and my mother’s cooking, especially because I wasn’t feeling any better even after spending a whole day in a hotel room.
Inability to disconnect
For me, the thought that I was suffering from travel burnout didn’t come instantly. It only became painfully obvious to me when I caught myself having the wrong motives to travel. Sometimes, I’d think that I had to travel to post photos on social media, because my friends had already branded me as the traveller. Silly as it sounds, I felt like I had a reputation to uphold.
As a result, I deactivated my Instagram account to make sure that I wasn’t travelling for other people. I was also suffering from a severe case of travel envy because of it, so it was timely for me to stop living on my phone.
I’m a thrifty gal, so I never really got to the point of draining my funds for leisure. But, I finally noticed I’d been compromising way too much of my everyday life just to travel. To save up, I never went out with my friends anymore. This affected my mental health state badly. Every move I made, I felt like I was a step further from a trip, so I became overly anxious about everything. Eventually, I couldn’t live my life normally anymore. All I knew how to do was to travel, and I had forgotten how to do everything else.
I will never deny the benefits of travelling because I honestly believe that it truly does help us in amazing ways. But as the saying goes, too much of anything is a bad thing. Travel isn’t an exemption.
Eventually, I came back to the world of travel. Fresh from my hiatus, I finally felt excited to travel again! Besides that, I also had the chance to reconnect with several of my friends. My mindset felt healthier, too. Because of this, I could now enjoy travelling even more.