Can You Get Tired of Traveling?

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To a lot of people, I appear to have the dream life of long term travel and being able to work for myself. I often get emails from readers who say, “I wish I could have your job! How do I do it too?”

When I meet people in hostels and I tell people I’m a travel blogger, they are often fascinated to know more and tell me “Wow that must be the best job in the world!” 

Most of the time I nod and say, “yeah it’s pretty damn cool”, but sometimes I want to say…

I’m tired of traveling. 

Tired of Traveling

Long-Term Travel Has its Downsides

There I said it. I’m scared of sounding ungrateful. Or of bursting the illusion that long-term travel is awesome and fun. Sometimes I avoid saying what I do for a living because I know I’ll be asked about it.

As I get a little bit older, I no longer feel the same desire to travel as I once did. A large percentage of my year is spent traveling; last year I visited 15 countries, and so far this year I have set foot in 7 countries. I try to travel slow these days because I enjoy myself a lot more, but I still don’t have a permanent home.

I often feel this constant tug of war between wanting to put down some roots, and wanting to see more of the world.

On the one hand I get to see some incredible places, do awesome things and meet new people. On the other hand, I don’t want to live out of a suitcase, and I want a routine.

I’m realising more and more these days that I have been traveling too much. It is becoming difficult for me to balance my work with travel, so I need to slow down. There is a huge backlog of blog posts I need to write about my recent adventures to Burma, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines. I’m struggling to get much posting done about my current trip here in the US, and I need to finish writing my e-book.

When you work online there has to be a healthy balance between work and play. And sometimes I am just all play and no work. When I’m not being productive I feel guilty, and I don’t feel like I’m reaching my career goals. It makes me happy when I am moving forward and creating something, but travel means often neglect that part of my life.

Things stop having the ‘wow’ factor

Sometimes, when you have too much of something, it stops having the ‘wow’ factor.

Imagine you won billions of dollars. I bet it would feel pretty exciting the first time you purchase a new sports car. But when money is no object, do you think you would have the same excitement every time you bought something?

When a person takes a vacation from work it feels special and exciting. They’ve had something to look forward to for a while. But suddenly when you travel all the time, it loses that special feeling.

I start taking things for granted.

Things start to look the same. I’ve seen so many churches, waterfalls, sunsets and temples that they all start to blend into one.

In Halong Bay, I took a junk boat cruise where we visited a cave with stalagmites and stalactites. I just shrugged and thought “Not as incredible as the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland.”

I guess you could liken the travel addiction to any kind of addiction. Things become less pleasurable and suddenly you need more and more to generate that same excitement.

It’s difficult to have relationships

Traveling around makes it very difficult to have relationships. When you meet someone you like in a foreign country, there is always that thought lingering in the background…one of us will have to leave. You might just have a whirlwind romance for a few days, or you might decide to travel together on the same route for a while, but that ticking-clock feeling sucks. No-one wants to feel like their time will be up soon.

If you decide to make it work in the long-term, ultimately either both of you decide to live in a new place, or one of you has to move across the world to be with the other. In this case, both parties really have to be sure about it, because otherwise it can lead to resentment.

Too many goodbyes

I have made lots of friends traveling the world and every time it sucks to have to say goodbye.

Sometimes you spend a few incredible days hanging out with a new friend, and you feel like you’ve known them all your life. Then just like that, you have to say goodbye. I wish I could keep them in my pocket and take them with me!

When I’m traveling I often go to stay with friends I have met around the world. I get to be part of their lives for a while, and then I have to leave again. For a few weeks I get to experience a little slice of normality, and I feel a little bit envious. Yes travel is cool, but it’s also nice to have a group of friends around you.

For once I want to know that the only word I’ll be saying is “Hello”.

It’s Tiring Living Out of a Suitcase

Travel can be tiring. Packing, unpacking, staying in dorm rooms and hotels, booking flights, planning bus routes, reading maps…it all gets a little bit exhausting.

Sometimes I just don’t want to have to think about anything. I want to work on my computer, cook a proper meal at home, go to a gym and not do much else. I want to be able to put neatly-folded my clothes in a wardrobe instead of living out of a bag. I want to be able to do laundry at home instead of going out to get it done.

I like eating out, but I really miss having a kitchen with everything I need so I can cook a nice healthy meal at home. That’s why I love staying with friends because at least I get to experience having a home, even if it’s just for a short while.

The Solution

I need at least a semi-permanent base. I recently rented an apartment for a month in Phuket, Thailand to escape the UK winter. I felt good about myself and enjoyed the time alone, but I also knew that Southeast Asia is not where I want to live long term. The question is, where will my base be? I am on a mission to find a home, I just don’t know where it is yet.

Have you ever been tired of traveling? What did you do about it? Leave your comments below!

22 thoughts on “Can You Get Tired of Traveling?”

  1. I can definitely relate, but switching it up and heading somewhere completely new made it all jive again for me. I think I missed the challenge of traveling, which to me is a big part of why I love it. I just needed to be challenged again. Maybe head somewhere completely different 🙂

  2. People who don’t travel I think don’t understand the downsides of traveling. Sure I mean I couldn’t live w/o any travel but there does come a point where you want something more permanent, relationships, not missing out on every family or friend event. I don’t work as a travel blogger but I do travel significantly for my job ( i find myself in on avg 5 – 10 countries a year, sometimes more). So I can certainly relate to what you are feeling there as well.

  3. I was traveling constantly last year and I realized that I love traveling, but long-term travel is not really for me. I am here right now in the UK to visit my family here. Now on my second month, some travel friends were expecting I’ve visited a lot of places. The truth is I only take day trips, but my main focus is my family. Maybe you need to come home first to rest a bit and think things over 🙂

  4. I have enjoyed reading your blog and about the exciting adventures you have in store for yourself, but I can absolutely relate to your plight. Chicago seems to sometimes give me that feeling, especially when I have to go there a lot to see family. When I am by myself up there it is the same thing each time, then I want to take a walk to the lakefront that I always do, which leaves Chicago without the WOW factor you seem to be lacking. I turn 29 next month, and I intend on one last major trip up there before I choose somewhere else to go.

    As in terms of your permanent base, I think that is a great idea. It has always been my dream to live in places that I would ordinarily never ever go to. I would suggest you pick somewhere you never have been… say, a smaller not-so-big place like my hometown of Cincinnati for example… and live there for longer than a month. Isolated cities are great and it will help ya get the wow factor back when you return to the places you have been. Dont know if that makes sense LOL…

  5. i know what you mean. it wears on you. but the problem is that once you get all settled and comfortable again, you start longing for the road. something about the grass is always greener. i have settled now for teaching in korea, found a boyfriend who’s into the whole wandering with me thing. here we can experience the foreign while still having the comforts of a closet and a washing machine. you will find your balance! and finding a relationship that doesn’t have to leave in x amount of days can give you comfort and stability almost anywhere 🙂

  6. I can most relate to your ‘taking things for granted’ point. I feel really bad when I show pictures of a Cambodian or Thai temple to my family back home and they are utterly amazed by it. To me it is just one of many thousand temples in Asia and despite their beauty I find it hard to drag myself into temples anymore. Sometimes I think it is worth taking a little break of maybe 2-3 months, because after that your travel bug will definitely come back to you.

  7. You make some great points and it sounds like there are a lot of us in the same boat! We started traveling in 2007, spent about a year back “home” and then hit the road again. We discovered house sitting as a way to get that feeling of having roots again. Typically we like shorter house sits so we can see the area and move on but when we get to that “taking things for granted” point we look for a long term house sit. We did 3 months in Fiji, doing 6 weeks in Singapore now and have a 6 week sit in Dublin confirmed at the end of the year. We use that time to catch up on all of our writing, unpack our bags, use a private kitchen, and feel like a local. We even find projects we can volunteer with in the community!

    After recharging our batteries, catching up on work, and planning the next adventure, we always seem to get excited about travel again… after all, it should be exciting right?!

    Safe travels!

  8. I’m currently headed from Mexico to Argentina and in 7 months I’ve only made it to Honduras. I’ve finally realized that sometimes I need to slow down or stop and relax.

    I think the hardest thing at times is realizing you don’t have to go out and party or see the sights, but its perfectly OK to just stay in and read a book for a few days. I think recharging give staying power.

    The other you already mentioned was finding a place to make home, make some connections, and make a good meal. Only issues sometimes I find it can take up to a month to really lock into a place.

    I have to applaud your honesty, burn out happens, hope you get through this one 🙂

  9. Do you know what i love this blog post. Its so honest and approachable.

    Alot of bloggers make out they have the dream world, (i know it is lovely) but there are downsides to everything and as a blogger myself i love you for saying all of this.

    i went travelling for 9 weeks and saw some amazing things and amazing beaches. for example the thai beaches are just beyond beautiful but when you island hop for 6 weeks, a beach is simply a beach and you arent so amazed. i too became ungrateful and for everyone that was jealous of where i was and the pictures i was taking, i felt guilty that i wasnt enjoying it as much as i knew they would be.

    i also met someone when i was away but we had to go our seperate ways and they wont be back in the uk for another 2 years, so i KNOW its not all its cracked up to be and sometimes you just want to be settled!

    ANYWAY, i found you on cosmo awards and just wanted to say i love your blog and am now following you!
    i would LOVE love love if you could come over and check out my blog too 🙂
    hopefully you will enjoy mine just as much!

    warm wishes and lots of luck with the awards!

  10. You’ve made me feel very lucky. I have the benefit of a great home life with lots of travel oportunities through work, vacations, and day trips. I often wish I could travel more, but overall, it’s a very nice balance. I haven’t reached the point yet where things start to seem ho-hum, and waterfalls and temples all blend together. I know that day may come, but I hope it’s a long, long way off.

    Honestly, it sounds like you need a vacation from traveling. 😉

  11. I agree, you can really get tired of travelling – I must admit I did slightly whilst travelling for just 7 months. I wanted clean clothes, I wanted different clothes, I didn’t want to move around CONSTANTLY, and I wanted to just buy food from a supermarket and cook it myself. Although now I’m settled again, I can’t wait to get away again! Its a constant cycle.

  12. Dear Victoria,
    I’ve been a travel-writer for 5 years and i know exactly what you mean, even if i was always based in Paris. That tension between not feeling well when not on the road and, at some point, dreading the new assignments and trying to travel closer to home (yes, because part of the hassle was the long-haul flights and people really have to ignore the dreadful situation of the press to imagine we fly in business class). And yes, at some point you just stop telling your friends what you do, among other things because they believe you just spend your life in 5-star hotels and it’s not really work. So… i reached the breaking point and changed: i still deal with foreign countries, because, i guess like you, there’s no way i can give that up. But i write about politics or economics abroad for my magazine, it’s a whole different perspective. And i rediscover the curiosity of the beginnings, and i can eat at a restaurant without having to note down eveything, and visit a museum only if i feel like it, in my spare time! The skills i developed while being a travel-writer (adaptability, openness to others, curiosity, organization) prove very useful and i don’t regret a thing. I’m also learning a million times more things now. Think about it! Wish you all the best, safe and beautiful travels.

  13. I’m not only tired of traveling anymore, I’m downright exhausted of it. I find flights unbearable now. When I’m away from home, all that I long for is the comfort of my own bed, the fresh breeze flowing through my windows, the embrace of my partner, cuddling our dog, and not to mention the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything is clean (unlike some hotel rooms and beds).

    For once and for a change I want to settle somewhere for a few years, maybe even forever. Get established. Make friends that I’ll see regularly and keep in touch with. I did not know it when I started moving and traveling, but I came to find out that it really wears on the heart. Also one must watch out for becoming world weary at a tragically young age…

    1. Alice I so agree – I am 57 and travelled to many places, lived in many places, changed jobs and houses and states. the greatest journey is the inner journey, and this can be achieved and enjoyed in your own home, however humble and simple, with people you can have great conversations with – you can travel every day and never find this. sometimes I think this restlessness is people looking for God who don’t want the God they think he is – and also not understanding just sitting in their own space, or bushland, or ocean just a few minutes from home, can change and affect you more than any great overseas tour

  14. You can get tired of traveling and fatigue does set in. I’ve been doing my travels for over 10 years now, and there have been moments where going to the airport no longer has that sense of appeal or thrill. The only advice I have is to take time and go home. Develop a routine and enjoy what you’ve done. And after a while, you’ll miss the road and the airport and want to get back on the plane.

  15. I so agree that constantly saying goodbye and not really being able to have relationships is a real bummer with traveling. Actually, I agree with everything you said, but still find it so hard not to travel. There’s a lot I don’t like about life on the road, but I also wonder if I know how to stay in one place and be happy. I guess I’m also hoping to find a base I love, just don’t know where yet. Good luck with your search!!

  16. You pretty much summed up exactly how I’m feeling at the moment and to be honest I’m a bit at a lose of what I should do. I’m also playing tug of war with whether to keep travelling or whether to settle down somewhere – and if I stop travelling where should I go and what should I do! Feeling totally lost right now.

  17. I have this problem right now after been traveling for 13 months. I quitted my job and been on the road ever since. From Europe to North and Central America now I’m starting my journey in South America. I’m planing to do for another 6 months but not so sure if I actually can. I got no excitement anymore. and just want to be in bed watching nexflix and chill. I recently parted with my German travel buddy a week a go after been traveling together for 5 weeks, I miss traveled with him. Now that I’m on my own again I find it difficult to do stuff as I used to have someone doing it with me. I’ve stayed in a hostel in Bogota for a week now doing nothing, talked to nobody. I bought a new book, write more about how I feel, talk to my family more on the phone (i’m from Thailand) and try to stay positive. Im thinking to do some volunteer work somewhere so I can stay longer at some place and don’t have to think what to do next for a couple of weeks but I still not ready for that yet as I just did one in Antigua for 7 weeks. Hopefully my excitement will be back to me again soon.

  18. I’m getting to the point where I don’t feel like traveling anymore. And I don’t even travel that often! Maybe one short trip and one long trip per year! I used to get so excited about it and looked forward to it. Even the preparation/packing was exciting to me. Being on the plane was exciting. But you’re right–when that “newness”, “wowness” factor goes away…then it becomes a chore. I wish I could get that thrill of visiting a new place back.

  19. I’m an American in Phuket Thailand at the moment actually and I’m so glad to have found this blog! I’ve been feeling done with traveling the last few weeks or so, just sitting in hostel rooms playing games. I was worried though, if maybe it was depression because traveling has been such a core part of who I am since I can remember! I’m glad to hear that there have been others who get burnt out, this is my 30th country and I just want to go back to where I study in Spain. I hope settling down has worked out for you well 🙂

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