Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Wed June 29 2016

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  • Shannon Wolf | June 29, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Top 5 Ways to Avoid Long-Term Travel Burnout

    Top 5 Ways to Avoid Long-Term Travel Burnout

    PHOTO: If you do enter the stage where you’re starting to feel exhausted and need some time to relax, don’t push yourself to keep traveling onward. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    Traveling burnout is a term that has never made sense to me. How can you get burned out from something that is so freeing and exhilarating?

    When you begin traveling, it’s an endless road that is forever changing. New friends, cultures and experiences are around every twist and bend. You live like the wind, flowing freely. In the beginning, when someone asks where home is, you name your departure city. After a time, your response metamorphoses and becomes, “the open road is.”

    There are endlessly wonderful things about long-term travel, but after nearly two years on the road, that initial question was answered for me. The burnout hits you suddenly and quickly, seemingly out of nowhere and is prompted by nothing.

    READ MORE: My Top 4 Travel Screwups (And What I Learned from Them)

    What we don’t take into account is that all this relocating can wear you down over time, more mentally than physically (although I have experienced that, too).

    It stems from the constant hellos and goodbyes; making strong connections only to have them end and start again. It comes from moving from place to place too often, from bouts of sicknesses and seeing the same things over and over again. Traveling in and of itself becomes repetitive and things, surprisingly, begin to lose their luster.  

    Someone wise once said to me, “If you call something Paradise, kiss it goodbye.” I didn’t understand what that meant, until constantly living in Paradise became the norm. It’s a loss of perspective.

    It is important to remind yourself that you’re human and it’s perfectly okay to stop, refuel and recharge in order to avoid becoming exhausted from what you initially loved and lusted for.

    Below are the top five ways to deal with and avoid “the burnout”:

    Slow Down

    It seems like the simplest answer but can be surprisingly difficult to grasp. Because we’re human, we have a tendency to fear missing out on something spectacular, so we push ourselves to go on even when, deep down, we know we need a break. Stop and smell the roses.

    PHOTO: When I burned out after non-stop travel, I found a home away from home in Pai, Thailand for two months.

    Create a Home Away from Home

    I have found that a bit of grounding can go a long way to reviving your travel spirit.  Settling down, even for a brief period of time, can do wonders for the psyche. Rent a room of your own, unpack your bags, find your favorite little coffee shop to go to every day and enjoy getting to know a community to find your home away from home until you’re ready to hit the road again.

    Have Veg-Out Days

    You can’t expect to adventure 24/7 without giving yourself time to also relax and rejuvenate. Be sure to set some time aside to sway in a hammock, “veg out,” watch a movie or even just to sleep in until noon if that’s what you need to recharge.

    Write About It

    When you travel, you experience so much so often that it can become sensory overload.  It is important to write about how you feel. This not only is a stress reliever, but an opportunity to re-evaluate what you want and why you feel a certain way. Writing allows you to gain perspective to identify and make needed alterations to your present circumstances.

    READ MORE: 5 Easy Tips For Memorable Encounters With Locals On Your Travels

    Treat Yourself

    Take yourself out for a massage, a nice dinner or a private room with an en-suite bathroom instead of a dorm. Sometimes the best cure for burnout is to simply treat yourself.

    PHOTO: Every now and again, its important to treat yourself — it’s amazing how much it can make a difference. 


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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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