I am going to preface this post with a few notes:
1) I am very grateful to be able to travel as much as I do.
2) I am not bragging about my country-count.
3) I am genuinely concerned about how I am feeling.
Now, here’s the story:
I live in London and spend my days trolling SkyScanner for cheap weekend flights. Recently, I went on some weekend trips to Ireland, Amsterdam and Berlin. The weekends that I stay in London, I make it a point to discover at least one new neighbourhood of this massive city.
Staying true to that mission, my Londoner gal pal and I ventured out into Notting Hill and Kensington and Chelsea this past weekend. We started off in the Portobello Road Market, headed to some museums and skating rinks and made a final stopover at the legendary Harrods—all of which were on my bucket list.
When I got home, my flatmate asked me what I thought of Portobello Road Market and I said, “It was nice.”
“You seem like you didn’t like it much,” she said.
“No, it was OK,” I replied. “It’s going to sound terrible but I think I am starting to become indifferent to new places.”
There: I said it! I am experiencing travel burnout. I knew it would happen at some point, but being prepared for it doesn’t make it acceptable.
I left home 15 months ago and since then I have lived in four amazing cities and travelled to many more. Exploring a new place and meeting new people is as exciting as ever. I still love picking up my camera to take pictures of stunning landscapes and historic buildings. Learning useless vocabulary and slang continues to be my guilty pleasure. If I still love everything fundamental about traveling then what happened?
I think I am tired. I am tired of moving every four months, not having a permanent address or telephone number and saying goodbyes. There are only so many cobblestone streets, city squares, fountains and cathedrals that you can appreciate in succession without having spent time in a monotonous 9-to-5.
I am not saying that I am ready to move back to good ol’ Toronto and look for a “real” job (yet), but I do think that spending time stuck in ruthless commutes and mundane chores does give you a different appreciation for travel. I am a bit spoiled now because life has been nothing but exciting for the last little while. And I am starting to take some things for granted.
I know people who can go travelling for months and sometimes years without feeling the burnout. They still seem to love every minute of their adventures despite not having seen friends and family for extended periods of time. They seem to have no desire to go back to their simple and secure lifestyles.
Honestly, neither do I. But, what I have realized in the last few months is that there is such a thing as travelling too much and having too many new experiences. Call it travel overload, burnout or whatever you will. Like the saying goes: too much of a good thing is a bad thing, right?