Travel fatigue is a real thing. Well, it's been real for me. I didn't do any research to see if it's an actual certifiable issue or not, but I can say when one is in the midst of travel fatigue as a full time traveler one's whole world starts to spin around.
We've been on the road now for darn near two years with just one stop back in the US for a delightful wedding. We've tried to structure our travel with a mix of longer term house sits and just good old fashioned traveling around. This has been a successful combination for us. House sits provide us with a sense of structure, place and purpose and traveling around helps shake up our routine and allows us to get out and see more things. But I seem to have hit a wall or plateau or something when we were in Israel.
Things started to feel like a slog and a real struggle. I started to feel like I was just drifting without purpose and wanted to stop traveling around. I was feeling like I had seen too much and wasn't able to absorb any more. Even dealing with day to day living was becoming more of a struggle than I was willing to accept. We've had to figure out where grocery stores are, how to do our laundry and what the hell it is I am actually buying more times than I can count. And it all got to be too much. I was ready to throw in the towel.
I started thinking about what it would be like to settle down somewhere and have a job. I really do want to work, I just don't want to have to go to an office for a prescribed amount of time based on archaic work ideology. I want to contribute and work my brain but not arbitrarily. I became really pre-occupied with thoughts of what it would be like to pick a place and stay there for a while, long-term. I longed for my own stuff; particularly different clothing and craft supplies. I longed for a space where I can make and have my supplies available to me. I longed to know where I needed to go, what I needed to do and didn't have to spend a whole lot of time trying to figure it out. I wanted back into a more stable life. This was my version of travel fatigue.
Israel was really hard on us. I did not really like being there. There were certainly high points (Tel Aviv, Haifa, etc.) but the overall feeling of the country left me feeling really out of whack. It drummed up a whole lot of my anxieties and depression that had sort of died down since we started traveling full time. It made me want to hunker down and take cover somewhere. I wanted to be doing something else. And then we came to Georgia.
Much of what I was feeling seemed to fall away almost immediately upon arrival in Georgia. Where Israel felt oppressive and anxious, Georgia feels open and relaxed. I am again enjoying getting out and experiencing what this place has to offer. I am enjoying trying to figure out what the hell the squiggly lines that make up their language are trying to tell me. I am enjoying the smiles of the people and their customs. I think I am enjoying travel again. But am still feeling this pull to stop for a while.
I've also been reading and viewing a lot of full time traveler's blogs, Instagrams, etc.; there are a lot of us out there, more and more everyday it seems. And I know that everyone puts their best foot forward in what they communicate to the world, but these people seem so much more equipped than I am to be doing this sort of thing. They seem more open, more playful, more willing to put themselves into a challenge. I look at them and think "wow, I am so not that adventurous". And I think, maybe I'm not even a good traveler after all. And what does that even mean? Simply having these questions and comparisons tells me a lot about where I am mentally in our journey.
I am still feeling like maybe this whole full time travel lifestyle is coming to an end for us. Traveling no longer feels natural for me. It feels like I am just wandering through time. I am wanting to get embedded somewhere and get involved in their community. I am wanting to take the time and really learn new skills, crafts and ideas based on where I am living. But on the other hand, we have commitments planned out until the end of 2018 and I am excited about what's ahead.
I'm not sure how I'll manage these cravings to be more connected while we are still moving around so much. I am even more clueless about what will happen after our commitments. All I know is that I need to keep listening to my gut and go where there is something that will feed me. This is probably the biggest thing I've learned since we've been traveling. I need something to sink my brain, my body and my creativity into. I am still suffering from travel fatigue and am trying to sit in it and understand what it is trying to tell me. I'm not really ready to stop traveling but I think we may need to re-tool some things.