Travel Burnout: It’s a Real Thing

Travel Burnout: It’s a Real Thing

How much is too much? It may be high time to take a vacation from your vacations!

Not too long ago, I had an obsession with travelling from one place to another with little space for rest in between. I booked ticket after ticket, afraid to see any gaps in my calendar. No holidays were permitted to be spent idly wasting away at home. I would leave town on Friday evenings then come back late each Sunday, just in time to catch a few moments of much-needed shut-eye before another full week of work. It was fun. It was crazy. And it was exhausting — it was when I discovered that travel burnout is real.

Also read: Post-Vacation Blues: 5 Ways to Ease Back into Work Mode

Sometimes, we need a break from travel, too

A few years ago, I went touring around the picturesque islands of Coron. The very same day I arrived back in Manila, I picked up another bag at home then set out for Siargao. One busy work week later, I braced myself for another tiring trip around the regions of Bicol.

travel burnout

Already worn out and fatigued from non-stop travelling, I begrudgingly braced myself for a bumpy 13-hour bus ride. On the bus, our bottoms were sore and our bodies were cramping up. When we arrived at the dock, we had no time to recuperate, as we were forced into a tiny bangka (a native Filipino boat) that went against ruthless, crashing waves.

There was a point in the trip where I began shivering from head to toe. My body couldn’t handle the stress — I had developed a literal travel fever. I knew that what I was doing wasn’t healthy for me anymore, physically, mentally, and perhaps even emotionally. There was so much pressure to live my best life and travel — but where exactly did this pressure stem from?

Also read: Why Does It Feel Like Everyone Travels More Than You Do?

Confession: Social media has pressured me to live my best life

Why did I feel the need to travel non-stop? In retrospect, I believe the real question concealed underneath this compulsion to explore relentlessly was, “What am I trying to escape from?”

travel burnout

Perhaps it was the feeling of inadequacy that came about because of this inner critic, constantly shouting at me to do more with my life. With the rise of social media, I saw everyone’s grand travel experiences blasted online for public enjoyment… or in my case, sheer resentment. I felt so insufficient — lacking in funds, in time, in energy. I tried so hard to fill the gaping hole with more and more travel experiences, even when my body desperately needed a pause.

Travel burnout is real — so take breaks and recharge

Travelling is enjoyable, but rest is vital. Escaping from the comforts of home every once in a while is fun and exciting, but we all have to return eventually. Travel burnout is real, and it’s about time we realised there’s nothing wrong with settling down in one spot.

travel burnout

I’ve learned over the course of my adventures that travel is life-changing. It expands people’s perspectives, and helps us appreciate the diverse yet beautiful cultures that comprise our amazing world. It brings people together, and it also allows individuals to understand more about themselves.

Character is tested by the challenges of travel. Strength, independence, resilience, and resourcefulness are qualities that are magnified through the art of exploration. But in exchange for all these experiences is valuable energy. And once this energy is depleted, even the most avid traveller must recognise that rest is necessary.

There’s a reason we all have a home. It’s there that we find the break we all deserve, the quiet solitude our souls search for. Amid the loud clamour to travel far and wide, another equally important message is often pushed back to the darkest corner in the room. And the message is: There’s no shame in choosing to spend quality time right in the comforts of one’s sweet, familiar home.

Also read: Should Travel Be Considered an Achievement?

Travel for yourself, and no one else

So, dear travellers, I urge you: if you are tired, then rest. The world is out there for you to explore, but do so on your own time and pace.

Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone is brave and liberating, but don’t forget to constantly assess your intentions. Where does this desire to travel stem from? Is it a thirst for exploration? Or, is it a need to flee from the harsh realities of everyday living? Is it the pressure to appear happy, free, and spontaneous?

Know yourself, and you can conquer the world. Whether you find yourself spending your well-deserved vacation abroad or simply relaxing at home, your choice on how to rest is uniquely — and respectfully — your own. So, go on, be true to yourself, and take a break — just the way you like it!

About Author

Raya Esteban
Raya Esteban

Raya Esteban is a lifetime education advocate who currently works as a Montessori primary school teacher. With every chance she gets, Raya loves stringing words together to create compelling travel pieces for everyone to enjoy. A nature-lover and a curious wanderer, she enjoys hiking, diving, and exploring the phenomenal world around her. If she isn’t in the classroom, you’ll probably spot her at a beach or on top of a mountain soaking up the sun.


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