Hitting the Travel Wall – What to Do When You’ve Had Enough

It happens to the best of us. The Long-Term Travel Wall Moment. That awful moment where after months of being effortlessly propelled forward and onwards and upwards by some invisible force, you suddenly, inexplicably, run out of steam. You’re tired and you can’t remember what you are doing or why you are doing it, and it shows. Your energy shifts, attracting the wrong kind of people into your space, which only serves to make the wall seem that much bigger. The Travel Wall hits everyone for different reasons and at different moments, but the effects are pretty uniform – tiredness, melancholy, over-sensitivity, homesickness…..and that most terrible of traveller afflictions; apathy

Well take heart, fellow globe-trotters, a travel wall is just like any other wall – scalable. Here’s a few tips to help you get up and over.

–          Treat yourself. If you’ve been travelling on a tight budget, consider splashing out for a few nights in a decent hotel, with a comfortable bed and a hot power shower and cable TV. Maybe even a pool or sauna. Somewhere you can stay in and watch crappy movies and eat over-priced food all night if you fancy it

–          Consider returning to somewhere you’ve been before. When I hit my travel wall nine months into my trip, I flew back from the beaches of Bali to the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. This may seem a strange decision to some, but I knew the city, I knew some people there, and the familiarity of being in a big, comparatively westernized city (complete with Starbucks, cinemas and air conditioned shopping malls) helped ease the homesickness somewhat.

–          Settle down somewhere for a while. So many people travel the world seriously fast and consequently they burn out just as fast. If you’ve fallen victim to the “three nights in each place” rule, then consider staying somewhere for a couple of weeks or more. You will have the time to meet people, make real friends, learn about the culture, get some decent sleep, establish a routine and recharge your batteries, all of which will help break down that wall.

–          Lay off the partying. Months of booze-fuelled fun can get even the most positive of long-term travellers down, so take a few days to be good to yourself and skip the sauce.

–          Phone home. In this age of email and Facebook it’s frighteningly easy to go weeks or months without actually speaking to our friends or family. When I was feeling particularly low in India, I realised I hadn’t actually spoken to my mum in months, despite regular Skype chatting and Facebook updates. It’s amazing the difference hearing a loved one’s voice can have on your general mood.

–          Hang in there. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes your travel rut. It’s all part and parcel of being a long-term wanderer, so try and embrace it and console yourself with the knowledge that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.


About the author

Full-time traveller, part-time blogger/writer/editor, some-time yoga practitioner, unapologetic hippy and dedicated believer of the impossible, Olivia can also be found blogging about her travels over at her personal blog Leap Before You Look

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