Traveling permanently is a privilege – and akin to the holy grail for some people.
Yet permanent travel can be draining, both physically and mentally, involving constant moving from place to place and regularly experiencing new and challenging situations. This means living out of your comfort zone for much of your journey.
If you’re also trying to run a business at the same time, it’s likely that you might suffer from burnout.
This happened to me in Buenos Aires – a mere 3 months into our permanent trip. I felt exhausted, drained, emotional, guilty, greedy and spoilt; there I was living ‘the dream’ and yet I felt miserable.
I hadn’t allowed for the fact that selling our apartment, putting all our worldly possessions into storage, leaving for foreign climes where we didn’t even speak the language, all at the same time as trying to run our business, would naturally take its toll. It’s no wonder I couldn’t handle it all.
Here are tips I recommend for dealing with burnout on the road:
1. Acknowledge and Go With It
Burnout is often inevitable if you’ve been on the road for a while or you’ve experienced a particularly challenging period. Accepting it, acknowledging it and dealing with it is far healthier in the long term than pushing on through and forcing yourself to keep going. Ignoring it won’t make the stress go away.
2. Look after your physical health
It’s one of the most important things you can do while traveling.
As an ex-health coach, I’m very aware of the long term effects that chronic stress can have on your body. While many travelers would not consider traveling a ‘stress’ – it is, if your definition of stress is an activity that takes your body out of an optimal state of functioning.
This includes dodgy food, parasites/bugs, too much alcohol, frequently changing time zones, poor sleep, constant adrenalin rushes…in the short to medium term, it’s not always serious but in the long term it can end your travel plans faster than you can say “brave new traveler.”
3. Take some time out
If you’ve been on the go, determined to make the most of your travel experience and see, hear and taste as much as you can, then take a few days to slow down. Do nothing but chill and give yourself some time out to recharge the batteries (like doing beach yoga).
You could even take a “holiday.” Leaving the laptops in temporary storage and taking yourself off to stay somewhere else, even for a weekend might seem an odd thing to do when most people think you’re on a permanent holiday, but it can work wonders for your energy levels, motivation and your relationship!
4. Get your head straight
Make a list of all the wonderful things you’ve done on your travels: include the things you’ve learned about the world, yourself and other people. Reflect on the journey you’ve taken and acknowledge just how far you’ve come (physically, mentally, spirtually…or in whatever way is applicable to you).
Focusing on the positives at a time when you feel negative is a great way to change your state of mind and regain your zest for traveling. On a practical note, you can also apply these learnings to your upcoming plans and make any adjustments required.
5. Reconnect with friends and family
New faces, new friends in every country. Having to be smile and be friendly while meeting new people can all become a bit exhausting.
As great as new meetings are, sometimes I wish I could have a juicy gossip with an old friend who knows me well (warts and all), with whom I can have a moan without fearing judgment.
With the advent of Skype/VOIP services, it is now far easier and cheaper to catch up with friends and family while you’re on the road. I recently had a great 2 hour chat sitting in a coffee shop in Dubai with my best girlfriend who lives in Sydney. Total cost = under $2.
If you’re dealing with burnout on the road…remember this: It’s not a race to see who can do the most, travel the most, experience the most – it’s simply your chance to experience more of the world you live in, in your own unique way. Take your time and enjoy it!
What tips do you have for dealing with burnout on the road? Please share in the comments!