When I talk to people at home, I realize that many of them think that while I’m abroad, my life is one constant adventure-packed thrill ride. This isn’t even close to the truth. If it were, I think I would need a constant IV drip of caffeine.
Before I left for New Zealand, my friend Ingrid gave me some of the best advice I have received for traveling abroad for an extended period of time. Take a break. I believe her words were something along the lines of, “If you are doing something new and exciting every day, your brain will get over-stimulated.” And she was right.
When I first arrived in Kiwi Country, I felt this overwhelming pressure to DO EVERYTHING! SEE EVERYTHING! CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN! This feeling lasted for about a week before I reminded myself that I had an entire year to explore New Zealand. What was the rush?
There have been some days when I simply haven’t left the hostel. On these days I write, I read, I talk to my hostel buddies. Sometimes I don’t do anything more productive than watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I’m late to the game on this one so no spoilers!!). The old me would have been shocked about this flagrant waste of my precious travel time.
I’ve become much calmer about it though. Seeing something new everyday day, while exciting, is exhausting. There are some people that can do this without a problem. I am not one of them. Sometimes, I don’t realize when it’s time to take a break until I am thoroughly stressed out or physically sick. But I’ve gotten a lot better at recognizing when I need a rest day.
Taking a break from hiking, sightseeing, or even planning the next hostel stop is vital if I hope to stay on the road. It helps me recharge and refocus. It gives my body a break. And most importantly, if helps me appreciate the moments when I DO get to see exciting new things.
When you hike mountains every day, sometimes you lose your appreciation for them. Yes, yes, I know. Rough life here! But regardless of the fact that I’m not working a typical 9-5 job, traveling still takes a lot of mental and physical energy. If you want to appreciate the wonders of the world, sometimes you have to give your brain and body a break.
So if you’re feeling worn out, if the weather isn’t cooperating, or if you’re losing your focus, just relax. Take a break! Put your feet up and make yourself at home in the hostel living room! It’s okay! It doesn’t make you a failed adventurer, it just makes you human.
House Keeping Note: This week’s article is short and sweet because I’ve been on the road traveling with my folks. From now on, I will be trying to update my blog with new content every Wednesday. Thanks for all of you who have been sticking with me so far! Looking forward to the adventures to come!