In September I decided to challenge myself and push my limits. I was determined to travel to 6 different countries (Germany, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Italy, France and Sweden) and at the same time handle my PhD and doing my second job. You guess it right! I went through a burnout.
I realised that when describing Paris to a friend I said the following things:
‘It all looks the same. It’s so overrated. Nothing special! People, shops, monuments and some more cathedrals.’
I paused and wished I had never said those words. This was Paris that I was describing after all. The city of light and definitely not a bore in any way shape or form. I think at this point I was just sick of packing yet another suitcase, queuing up and disembarking on yet another plane. I just wanted my bed.
I should have seen this coming, I saw the red flags by my third trip but I ignored them. I definitely overdid it by travelling so much in short space of time.
Below I’ve listed the things to lookout for before you burn yourself out:
5 signs of going through a burnout:
- You don’t enjoy your holiday: I mean come on! It’s a holiday and everything about it should get you excited and add a spring in your step. If you feel no joy or excitement about your coming trip you are definitely experiencing a burnout.
- You would rather spend time in the hotel than go exploring: whilst in Paris, a friend called me at 3pm and was shocked to find me napping. ‘Who naps when they are in Paris’ were her exact words. I tried to justify my actions by saying ‘I was on a holiday after all and isn’t relaxation the very point of holiday?’ but honestly I was just tired of staring at another monument and during touristy things.
- You stop searching for bargains: As an African, this should have been the biggest red flag for me lol but again I chose to ignore it. After a long day of exploring it would have been normal for me to still find the most pocket friendly way to get back home which would usually be a train or a bus, so when I started to consider the option of spending $35 to get back to my hotel so that I can get into bed, something was definitely wrong.
- Meeting locals and interacting comes with so much effort, striking up a conversation is something that comes so naturally to me especially since travelling so often. At the point when interacting with locals became a chore, it certainly was a red flag. Just the simple act of asking for directions was tiring so I relied on google maps ( which sometime was a terrible idea)
- Experiences in various different countries begin to merge into one. I suffered this a lot during my burn out. I could not separate one experience from the other, all I knew was that I was travelling. Everything else seemed to have a filter on it.
3 ways I recovered from it
- Slowed down my travelling – I went from 6 countries in one month to only going to one country the following month. I slowed it right down to spend more time catching up with myself and the important things I need to do.
- Spend quality time with my family -Something about spending time with family heals and restores. I was able to get some home cooking which I terribly missed, whilst travelling I mostly indulged in eating junk food and take out. This quality time was simply used to relax and unplug from it all.
- Remember why you started travelling in the first place – I reintroduced myself to my why you can catch the blog post here. I reminded myself that this travelling experience was a marathon and not a sprint and that I should never allow myself to fall into the trap of having everything done right this second in fear of missing out on opportunities. Time spent recovering from a burn out is always more than the time you think your saving by trying to save by doing it all at once.
I hope this blog helps you understand the importance of balance and please leave a comment if you have found any other technique to recover from a travel burn out or general life burn out.
I leave you with this quote
‘Slow and steady wins the race.’