About travelling long term

(This article is part of a series called:  Checking in at 12 months.)

When we tell people we are travelling long term, we usually get one of two responses.  There are those who are in awe of what we are doing and who wish they could do the same.  But there are also those who think we’re a little crazy and who readily admit they would hate being on the road all the time, that they would miss their regular routines too much to sustain such a journey.  Similarly, as we reach the end of one year of travel, we find ourselves responding differently to the challenges of long term travel.  But we do share one thing in common: travel fatigue.

What does travel fatigue feel like? It manifests itself in a lack of enthusiasm for travel.  Travel becomes a chore.  Things that were once enjoyable, like writing the blog, become a drain. There is a lack of energy, a lack of creativity, a general lack of interest in travel.  Complacency sets in about the things we are doing and the places we are visiting.

For the first time on our trip, as we neared the one-year anniversary of the start of our journey, Chris started to feel homesick and a little antsy.  He missed the creature comforts of our home back in Canada.  He was preoccupied with thoughts about what we were going to do when we got home.  Where would we live? What would we do for work?  He wanted to be doing something productive.  He began to hate the feeling of just floating around without any purpose.  Going home was a daily topic of conversation for a while.

I, on the other hand, continue to enjoy the nomadic, responsibility-free lifestyle.  While I was feeling travel fatigue as deeply as Chris, I never felt homesick or a yearning for our lives back in Canada.  Just the thought of going back to our old lifestyle fills me with dread and angst. Not that there was anything wrong with our lifestyle.  It served a purpose while raising my children but it’s just not the way I want to live anymore.  I don’t want to be tied down to one place.  I love travelling to new places and learning about the geography, local culture and history.

And so, one year into our travels, a chasm is forming between Chris and me on the question of lifestyle and our future. But I’ll talk more about that in the section “About our relationship”.

Another challenge we face while travelling is leading a healthy lifestyle which includes eating nutritious food and getting regular exercise.   We have both gained weight this summer which is ironic since we have spent all of our time in developed countries where you would think it would be easier to make healthy food choices.  We’ve developed some bad habits on the road and going forward we need to address these and make some changes.  I stopped running for a few months when I couldn’t find a new pair of runners, after leaving my runners behind in Tuscany.  Finally in London I found my tried and true brand of runners and have been running again since then; this will go a long way towards helping me to manage my weight, and to stay fit both mentally and physically.  In spite of our bad habits, we have been quite healthy lately.  Aside from a minor cold each, we haven’t had any health issues whatsoever.

During the past six months, we’ve had some respite from the tedious and relentless task of making travel arrangements.  This was primarily due to the fact that we stayed in one place for extended periods of time:  the three week transatlantic cruise, one month in Italy on the farm in Tuscany, five weeks in England and two weeks in Germany.  Surprisingly, staying in a different place almost every night during our three-week tour of Ireland didn’t really faze us.  This was probably because we didn’t plan anything in advance; we just stopped wherever we were in the early evening and found a place to stay.  Most of the time it worked out well and for those nights that were less than ideal, well, it was only for one night so we put up with it.  We did go on a travel arranging blitz when we decided at the last minute to bring my kids over to Paris to be with me for my 50th birthday.  We organized a full two week itinerary for the four of us about ten days before they arrived.  Now that was a little intense!

As we approached our travel anniversary on September 8th, we both hit an all-time low and seriously considered the possibility of returning home to Canada earlier than planned.  I don’t know if it was the lovely visit we had with my cousin in Germany in his very comfortable home, or if we were just in a temporary funk; regardless, the mood has passed and we are resolved to continue on.

We’re now looking forward to the next six months and plan to focus on eating better, drinking less and exercising more regularly.  We’ll keep looking for opportunities to stay longer term in a place and continue to travel at a slow pace.  All this to say, we’re committed to another six months of adventures so we hope you’ve got the stamina (and interest) to follow us too.


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