Have you guys heard of the two month travel itch?
To be honest, you generally wouldn’t have unless you have traveled for longer than two months.
Plus, it’s also something I’m making up.
Basically, whenever I hit the two and a half month mark, I start to feel myself get a little travel burnt out.
It’s not the places I’m at by any means. Just that general absence of routine and stability.
It could show its face in the form of “Living out of your suitcase”.
Yet another day in line at customs.
Your 10th eight-hour bus ride.
You haven’t cooked your own meal in a while.
You evil-eye that same t-shirt you’ve been wearing relentlessly when it doesn’t magically grow into a new and interesting t-shirt and things begin to blur and mix into one.
CAUSE AND RELIEF: What brings on the two month travel itch?
I find if I am traveling – say in a large continent like Europe or Asia, and logistically, you hop across borders to make sense of time and money to explore multiple countries. Which is great at first, but by the 5th or 6th country things tend to blur into the same no matter your location. You stop seeing things with fresh eyes. You’re done with “this slightly different 18th century cathedral” and by gosh, NO! I do not want another bowl of delicious pasta because in fact I have turned into a bowl of pasta, thanks!
1. Points of Interest. Changing up your points of interest is a MAJOR help in avoiding the two month travel itch! Even if it’s a little bit longer or more expensive journey, it pays off 10-fold in the long run because you’re not resentful and can absorb the joys of the next place.
Example: I’m going from U.K to Scotland to Ireland. Well I might choose to add in a day to rest and sit by a cafe and do nothing but people watch AND LEAVE MY PHONE AND CAMERA AT HOME. A visit to Isle of Man on the way through to Edinburgh, although a slight detour and something different. Equally like, Isle of Skye, before entering Ireland via Ferry by Cork and traveling up through Galway before finishing in Dublin.
Something like this, YES, is going to cost more. BUT, you’re going to break it up between nature and cities and modes of transport. In doing so, you’ll also break up your daily activities as well. So your brain is more stimulated and not referencing each place in comparison to the last.
You’re also going to have far more unique experiences because let’s face it, another reason we get burned out is because we’ve googled things prior and despite getting there and seeing it with our own eyes, it could be the third time you’re seeing the point of interest because you’ve researched it as well!
When you go to a little less touched places, you have your own experience and NEW memory attached to that place. This was just an example. You can totally random it and go via a town you pick out on the map even! Then you’re on an adventure, not just going through the tick-list of what to see.
If you put your mindset instead of “saving money / cheapest option” to “I saved for 6 months for this, do I really want to leave not absorbing a country”.
It changes from “spending extra money” to “wasting money I’ve already invested”. Feel me?
2. Routine. Another way the two month travel itis can come about is when you miss your old routine and feel resentful towards your new routine
Example: you used to do laundry every week, workout five times and cook yourself a meal each night or have dinner with friends. Now, you do laundry when you can find a laundromat maybe once a month. What even is a gym? And, you have been having noodles and pizza with the same friend you started with two months ago, or, with yourself, and all four of the voices in your head are over you too!
Here are a few great ways to shake this up:
a) If you’ve been with the same person, each take a day out away from each other even a weekend to go off and do your own thing. Give yourself some YOU time and just be with you.
In reverse, if you’ve been traveling solo, go meet-up with people! Go to an event, hostel, bar, walking tour, dance class – anything! And make a mate so you don’t go totally bonkers.
b) Catch up on all your errands. Chances are, as products of habit, you probably kinda miss work. YES, even though when you get back you’re gonna wish you were traveling again. Right now, ya kinda miss doing those boring mundane tasks. So! Do some.
Do your laundry!
Start up those resumes or emails for when you get back!
Plan your home routine!
Write out your goals and do something productive for your home lifestyle.
Traveling doesn’t mean you have to be on the go all the time. It can simply mean existing and finding YOU in another country. It is about exploring but more importantly it’s about EXPERIENCING and if you need to balance yourself in order to refresh than do you galfriend! (Or…man friend)
c) Working out kindve happens naturally traveling, but it can definitely feel like you need that weight session!
Did you know a litre of water is equal to a kilo? That means buying those 4 or 7 litre massive jugs of water, can mean your walking lunges and shoulder presses can have some oomph and you can get your sweat on even if there’s no gym in site!
Or the alternative, you can also find a gym and get a good sesh in! Go for a run or use an app like 8fit to do workouts wherever you are, tailored with or without equipment. Your suitcase can become a dumbbell and your bed a tricep dip bench! Imagination is key!
3. Homesick. Even if you’re only staying somewhere two nights, it can be mentally beneficial to unpack your clothes and hang them up. Put your momentos on the window sill and if you have any family pics, stand them up by the mirror or print some out so you feel like you have your own space.
The biggest reason we feel out of sorts on a long trip, is because we’re generally a little homeless and therefore homesick. Even though it’s a mental battle of “when I get home I’m going to wish I was back here”.
You need to allow yourself that feeling and acknowledge you need to create a little nest for yourself right now, even if it’s short lived.
I used to never unpack, but honestly it takes like 30minutes really! So, it’s like, OMG just spend the 30 minutes Natalie and feel like a civilian instead of a gypsy! Right?
MINDSET: Short-haul vs Long-haul
The most important thing to remember when you’re on these long haul trips is, unlike the 3-weeker, you HAVE TIME!! You don’t have to cram every country into every day like you do when you travel short haul. It’s just not realistic.
You’re LIVING right now! You’re not just “on holiday” so live, which includes rest days and days of just honestly Netflix and chilling!
And, when you NEED those days, don’t guilt trip yourself over them that you should be exploring!!
What this does is creates an unsatisfying rest day where you needed to rest but felt so guilty that instead of being recharged and reset the next day, you didn’t attain that feeling and therefore – need another rest day!
So if you need one, take one and do it right! (This goes for life in general)
RECHARGE: Plan to relax.
The last tip I have comes with a bit of pre-planning.
If you know you’re going to be on a long haul and you’ve done one before and felt that feeling and know the things that work for you to get out of it, then in the middle or whenever it is you need it, book a one or two week break, check in to a cheap Airbnb somewhere random and do all those things you need to do like you would at home and give yourself that break so you can reset and go another month or two.
I know it seems like it costs more, and yes, physically it does, but you WASTE LESS.
I honestly feel like it’s a waste of a trip and money if you go somewhere and you’re too clouded to really enjoy it. For me that was Barcelona – I knowwwwww, right?! How can anyone not love Barcelona?
It was the end of a 5 month trip, my first. I had not had a break and I was about to shoot the next person that brought me into another beautiful church.
I wish more than anything, I had spent $300 more and chilled somewhere for a week and then ended Barcelona on a high. See everything with fresh energy – rather than go there and not even want to explore because you’re so travel-tired.
Do you get me? Spend more, but waste less!
Anyway y’all, that’s it for this lil tip of travel! Hope you enjoyed and of course, share your own ways you cure the two month travel -itch/itis! (haven’t decided the category of my made-up illness yet) with the readers below!