Lately, I’ve been noticing a few disturbing trends in my thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
– After a few hours of bus travel, I used to drop my stuff off at the hotel and head out. Now, I’m so exhausted that I want to spend the rest of the day in bed. I even consider skipping dinner so I don’t have to leave.
– Repacking my backpack, which used to take me 10 minutes max to do, now drains me of all my energy.
– I’ve been staying in cities for longer not because of interest, but because packing and moving again makes me want to throw a temper tantrum.
– I long to have my own towels that haven’t touched another human body and a space to call my own that’s not a hotel room.
– I have a lack of desire to go sightseeing and check out the things that most visitors are checking out. I instead prefer to hole up and work on various projects on the internet.
– I feel more antisocial than normal.
I’m afraid I have a bad case of traveler burnout.
I’ve been traveling for the better part of the past four years. I’ve spent thousands of hours on buses, slept in hundreds of different hotels and hostels, done countless hours of trip research and budgeting, been to dozens of museums and taken thousands of photos of colonial churches.
I can no longer avoid the elephant in the room. I have to ask myself:
Am I done traveling?
I’m not sure I’m even ready to answer that question or make a “final” decision one way or the other. I do, however, need a change.
I predict that the face of my travels will be drastically different and include longer stints (three to twelve months) in fewer places.
It may even include a brick-and-mortar type of employment. I’ve always dreamed of opening a café and a used bookstore, and possibly even a hostel or guesthouse. If I find a cool city to do this in and have the budget, I’m going for it.
It will also involve taking some sort of class. One of the reasons that traveling appeals to me so much is the endless opportunities for learning. In the beginning, it was impossible not to learn. Now, the basics of travel are so ingrained into my being and adapting to different cultures is so natural that I now have to make a concentrated effort to increase my knowledge about my surroundings.
I want to have friends in the same physical location as me, not just ones I converse with every so often on Facebook. I want to meet them for lunch and chill at their houses and go on road trips with them.
I want to expand the fields that I write about, like vegetarianism and inspirational pieces and reflections on being a twenty-something in this strange era we live in.
Most of all, I want to rest.
Will this change be a permanent one? Not likely. I’m used to drastically changing the direction of my life on a regular basis at a moment’s notice. Change is the only guarantee.
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. – Anatole France