Travel burnout is real. Just writing those words almost makes me cringe as I reflect back on recent travel when all I wanted to do was hide under the blankets instead of face another day of exploring new sights, eating new foods, or soak up new experiences.
Sure, travel burnout may sound like a spoiled brat, first world problem, but it’s real. Burnout can seriously impact mental health and well being. It’s also not a grown-up only problem. It can affect children.
I know. I’ve seen it rear it’s ugly little head a few times over my years of worldschooling, roadschooling, and homeschooling around the world with my four children.
It’s not always easy to talk about travel burnout either and that somehow compounds the problem. Why? (1) In a world where children are starving to death, species are on the verge of extinction, small communities battle drug crises, and governments face political corruption, the ‘problem’ of travel burnout seems pretty trivial. (2) Not everyone gets it, especially people who aren’t familiar with the slow travel lifestyle. How bad can life really be sipping cappuccino while writing at an Internet cafe in Italy?
5 Ways to Fix Travel Burnout Fast
If you’re burned out, feeling beat down, tired, sick, frustrated, sad, or longing for home (especially when you rationally and generally love the lifestyle you’ve chosen), try these 5 Ways to Fix Travel Burnout Fastand kiss your burnout goodbye.
After living in France for months this year with my four children, which I will write more about soon, I’ve come to see that the French really do have a particular way–let’s say, often a very particular way–of doing things.
I thought these travel experiences, combined with what I had gleaned from my family’s French roots and my high school French teacher (who was unmistakably French in every possible way) imparted a decent education about France and its culture.
Pas Possible! How Wrong I Was and How Much I Have Yet to Learn
After living in France, I’ve learned this: there is so much to learn. Just when you think you’ve figured out something or you think you know something, you probably don’t.
If you stay in France long enough, some the things you’ll learn will surprise you, put a huge smile on your face, annoy you, drive you nuts, and perhaps even blow your mind.
Here are 13 things the French do:
1. Forget About Clothes Dryers.
In France, what you’re going to wear for the week requires pre-planning. France is big into energy conservation. Hanging your clothes on a line dryer or drying rack is how you’ll dry your clothes. After the sun has gone down or on damp days, you may find your living room (salon) or kitchen overflowing with freshly washed, hung laundry. Clothes dryers just aren’t popular for energy reasons. You’ll find drying racks for sale in grocery stores, sometimes near the wine, if that says anything. 🙂
2. French Bureaucracy…The French Have a Thing for Paper.
Despite France’s eco-conscious push, it may come as a shock to know that France loves paper. Well, at least the government does. France even has its own standard paper size A4, which is slightly longer and skinnier than the American standard 8×11″ paper.
The first big purchase I made in France was a printer. Why? Because France requires many things to be printed, from visa forms to copies of electricity or Internet bills to medical authorizations to banking application materials. And on A4 paper. France simply doesn’t do the electronic thing like many other countries do; in fact, online banking seems like a “new” concept in France. French are big into presenting or keeping dossiers, folders containing your personal documents needed for various applications, such as applying for an identity card, an apartment, or even for registering your child for a short sports program. Even some banks insist on sending monthly paper statements. My kids were floored when we made a trip to the local Prefecture (government office) and saw a giant wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling paper filing system behind the main desk. They asked if this is what the 80s looked like when I grew up. Hmmm…. 🙂
3. Pass the Cheese.
When you get invited to someone’s house for a meal, there will be cheese. The French do cheese. And they do it at the end of dinner. In the Alps, one plate of five, local cheeses is typically presented, including the region’s specialty (in Savoie that’s usually Reblochon).
4. Forget Tampons on Sunday.
Unless you’re living in a tourist town, you’re going to find that most stores are closed on Sunday. That’s slowly changing. In some places, such as in Paris, there are efforts to create automated stores with zero human register checkouts on Sundays (similar to Amazon’s zero human interaction store in New York’s Lower Manhattan), as a way to meet consumers’ shopping needs within the framework of existing government regulations which are designed to give employees a rest day and to give people family time. Chances are though, if you didn’t plan ahead for the expected or unexpected, you’ll be out of luck in France. I love French culture and France, but I really wish stores were open on Sunday. And I’ve also got to believe that I’m not the only woman raising daughters who feels this way. 🙂
Give Yourself Permission to Travel, Even if It Means Traveling Solo
So, you have this nagging dream to see the world. To travel. To feel alive. To meet new people. To be someone new, in a new place.
But, there’s a catch. You haven’t been able to do it yet. Perhaps you’re afraid, perhaps you have excuses, perhaps you’re worried you’ll let someone down or your relationship may end if you leave, or maybe these 7 Fears are Stopping you from traveling.
Sometimes, in order to make changes or take action we feel like we need permission. Permission from someone, anyone. We need to hear, do it. You can do it. It’s okay. Go for it.
When we don’t hear these words from family or friends, or to the contrary, our dreams are met by resistance, discouraging words, threats, hostility, or feigned support, it is easy to doubt or discount our dream–or the possibility that it could ever be successful.
Give Yourself Permission to Travel
This is your life. The time has come to make it yours. This means letting go of anyone’s expectations for your life, except your own. Anyone can include a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, parent, best friend, child, neighbor, etc. … anyone.
The time has arrived for you to give yourself permission to travel. To follow your dreams, wherever they may take you.
Giving yourself permission to follow your dreams means accepting change. Change doesn’t always feel good initially, but it inevitably brings forth new opportunities. It means accepting that you may initially feel uncomfortable and alone, before you feel comfortable. It means accepting the good and the bad. While this certainly can sound scary, if you flip the view for a moment, you can see, it’s actually quite exciting–and liberating to shed other’s expectations and be free to be you.
You Deserve to Feel Happy
You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be doing things with your life that bring you satisfaction and put a smile on your face. You can begin to cultivate a life of happiness by making changes that bring you closer to your dreams. So, for example, if you wish to take a weekend trip out of town but your spouse or significant other refuses to go with you, you may need to give yourself permission to do it anyway. The consequences of doing something for you may seem discouraging or cause you to reconsider what you want to do, but that is probably all the more reason why it is important that you stay true to what your heart is calling you to do or experience.
How Do You Start to Give Yourself Permission to Be Happy and to Do What You Dream About Doing?
Start now. Start small or start big, by making changes. Tell yourself, I give myself permission to…. [fill in your own blank here]. I give myself permission to follow my dream of travel, and to come up with a way to make it happen.
Start to do things to love yourself. To accept yourself. Start saying yes to the things you want. Start saying no to the things you don’t want–or to the things you don’t want to do. Start listening to your inner voice, your intuition. Start being kind to yourself. Listen to your inner dialogue. Start replacing negative thoughts or words with kind, accepting messages.
Give yourself permission to dream. To travel. Even if it means going solo.