Sixth Month on the Road: The Travel Burnout Is Real

The title pretty much says it all. I have not left my bed today except once this morning to cash in on the hotel’s breakfast buffet. I am in Bali right now where if you would like to do nothing, there are hundreds of better places than a poorly-lit hotel room. But sometimes you can’t help but not want to move. Today marks the start of my sixth month on the road which I’m hoping is mostly the explanation of this weird phase of not wanting to do anything at all for the past several weeks.

This is the longest consecutive amount of time that I’ve been away from home now so even as a frequent traveler who spends maybe 75% of the year abroad, this is uncharted territory. I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s away from home and that was still on the early stretches of this behemoth around-the-world trip that I’ve been on. And boy, has that taken its toll on me.

This won’t be my typical informative post about some stunning destination because honestly, I’m currently drained of all creativity and spark to even come up with things to write. I’m even at a standstill when it comes to taking and editing photos. Social media seems like an overwhelming task altogether and obligatory, half-assed posts are all that I’ve managed to throw up over the last couple of weeks. My drive to explore is at an all time low as evidenced by going on a total of two quick outings over the last week.

So in short, the travel burnout is real and it is hitting hard. I decided to just write this post for the sake of doing something different than what I usually do. Nothing has really been flowing of late so perhaps a lengthy ramble might do just the trick. And of course, as a millennial, everything that I do has to be published on the Internet as well as potentially profitable. So while you’re here, check out the new travel app that I’ve been working on for over a year now and although a project that I am extremely passionate about, also undoubtedly a major cause of this burnout.

Now, I don’t want this to simply be a omg please feel bad for me post because it is not. I love being on the road, working for myself, and having a lot of freedom with my schedule. You take the bad with the good when it comes to doing what you love. But to do that, you have to acknowledge that there is bad in the first place. As a digital nomad, there are quite a few negatives that come with living the life of your dreams. That is where travel burn out comes in. I don’t know if anyone else has covered it or if that is even the proper name for it but I am too uninspired to even do a simple Google search to see if anyone else has any knowledge on the topic.

So I’ll just talk about it myself and my own personal experiences with travel burnout. I can’t even be bothered to write complete sentences anymore.

First of all, let’s accept that traveling can be such an exhausting thing. It is one of the most incredible experiences you can have but it is also physically and mentally tasking. When you are in a foreign country and outside of your comfort zone, it might be extremely overwhelming. For one, you feel so much pressure to do this, this, and this that you might forget to actually enjoy yourself along the way. Having a strict schedule and an itinerary that you refuse to be flexible can take a lot of enjoyment away from your holiday.

If you’re on a vacation of a week or less, it might be possible to push yourself to your limits to do everything you realistically can. I’ve done that before for sure. Back when I traveled quickly, I would walk sometimes upwards of 20 miles a day just to see as much as I could of a city. London, Oslo, Buenos Aires, you name it. Back when I had a Fitbit, it was pretty much a competition between my friend and I who could take the most steps. I was clocking in 50,000 a day during peak exploration periods.

Even now, as a slow traveler who frequently spends months in the same country, I am still getting bouts of that burnout. Being a digital nomad, it also gets pretty difficult living in the online age. It is impossible to detach yourself from work, and despite freedom being biggest draw for people to try to pursue a remote-working nomadic lifestyle, you are never truly free when your work constantly follows you around. I remember reading an article a few days ago about millennial burnout. It mentioned the ever-present feelings of dread and anxiety whenever you aren’t doing something productive and I can attest to that feeling so hard.

Ever since I started working for myself, I always had the mantra of “if you aren’t pushing ahead, then you are falling behind.” I also don’t know if I made that up or if I got that from somewhere but again, too uninspired to do a simple Google search. If one of you does Google that and see that I made up that quote, make sure none of those corny inspirational entrepreneurial meme pages plaster it over a Wolf of Wall Street backdrop.

Anyway, I kind of forgot where I was but thankfully this train of thought has gone flippin’ digital bro and I can just scroll up to reread what I was writing about. Yeah, so that was my mantra and I would literally never take days off. Then I started backpacking and then all I did was take days off. And then I realized that there needed to be a balance so then I would sometimes take days off. But that feeling of anxiety? It never really went away. Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy yourself because you feel guilty about enjoying yourself.

Like oh, I could be doing something more productive with my time. Take yesterday for example. I spent the entire day at a beach club because I managed to snag an Instagram collaboration with them and could sit in their VIP beds all day being fed and attended to. Even in that leisure time, I never felt truly relaxed because I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing more work.

So how do you deal with travel burnout?

I don’t know. If I did, I would probably not be writing this post as a form of catharsis.

If you have any ideas, let me know what you think. I know everyone has different ways of handling stress and anxiety and those ominous feelings of dread. Like today, I haven’t left my bed. Sounds like a relaxing day right? But in my head…

do your frickin’ taxes

shouldn’t you edit at least 1,000 more photos today?

you haven’t written a blog post in like two days what are you doing bro?

what’s a Roth IRA and should i have one?

Find out next time on Dragon Ball Z.

So that’s where I’m going to leave off because usually people stumble upon my blog while looking for answers to a question they had. Google searches like “how to get more Instagram followers” or “how to get cocaine in Colombia” will lead you to my blog where I answer all of your questions. But to switch it up, I have no answers. Just questions. I’ve literally never written something as purposeless as this post.

So if any of you have made it this far, let me know what you guys do to deal with burnout of any kind. Millennial burnout. Travel burnout. General existential crises. You name it.

Here’s a pic from my more adventurous days at the beginning of this six-month expedition.

18 thoughts on “Sixth Month on the Road: The Travel Burnout Is Real

  1. General existential crises??? Find a beach and sit there for a while, let the breeze coming from the sea blow away the cobwebs.. Definitely no company… some wallowing is best done in private.

    1. the beach is defo my happy place and spent a good couple of hours there today. definitely a solid pick me up!

  2. Most of my travel revolves around business so it’s easy to get burned out on that. It’s always pop and and pop out. I try to schedule breaks in between traveling.

  3. Yes I agreaa to that traveing can be a physically and mentally tasking. Though it is amazing sometimes it is exhauting. But there’s no room for complaining because I travel for work.

  4. We usually travel 2 weeks at a time. This summer we plan to do a 1 month roadtrip so i hope i wont be too homesick

  5. It’s really refreshing to hear the down size of traveling, as well as all the highlights. It really helps people connect with you! After all, we are all human and traveling can take a toll on anyone!

  6. I’ve been wanting to travel lately. I feel the need to go out and explore, but no the kind of exploring you do while on vacation. The slow kind where you just walk and see where your legs take you. Its great to have found your blog!

  7. I think it is only natural that you would experience some form of burnout after this amount of time. I hope you manage to get over the burnout soon.

  8. wow! 6 months is huge. i think burning out is fine in any moment of life. You can not stay the same all the time, you tend to get bored even doing the coolest of things

  9. Oh wow! Sounds amazing and unbelivable! The journey you reach is remarkable and the burning out is part of our life.

  10. When you travel, you are on heightened sense of alert that in your everyday life. You need all you wits about you and you have to be “on”. Not only that, you’re not sleeping on your regular schedule and you are not in your comfortable surrounding. It’s so normal to get exhausted from a vacation. I always say people come home needing a vacation from their vacations.

    1. I can definitely relate to needing a vacation from a vacation. I think some people feel bad when they do nothing in a new place feeling like they are simply wasting a day of vacation but really, it isn’t vacation if you aren’t enjoying yourself.

  11. Hey Eli,

    I’ve been away from home for two years straight now travelling Australia and New Zealand so I know how you feel. Obviously I’ve had breaks here and there, having to settle and work from time to time but nowhere ever really feels like home and therefore psychologically I feel exhausted.
    Sometimes I lose track of why I’m here and doing all this, I think writing my blog is going to help me stay focused and remember what I’ve learned and experienced while on the road 🙂
    Hope you’re okay,
    Lucy 🤙

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