How to stay sane while traveling
I’ve been traveling almost non-stop for the past year and while the majority of the time has been as magical as you’d hope a nomadic lifestyle to be, sometimes it’s exhausting and overwhelming. Some of that is unavoidable (there will always be challenges you come across), but for day to day living, I’ve come up with a few key tips that can help keep that smile on your face.
Have some sort of routine.
This is actually a weird one for me to say because I usually dislike routines (hence, one big reason why I enjoy vagabonding). However, I’ve found that finding some commonality or routine while you’re on the road can make all the difference in your mental well being. When you’re constantly out of your comfort zone, having a routine will keep you grounded in some sort of reality.
One thing I do is to make sure I eat breakfast and enjoy a cup of coffee every morning. It’s a really simple thing that’s easy to do and it makes me feel good about starting every new day. Some days I’ll have early flights/buses/trains, but making sure I get up early enough for breakfast is something I’ve chosen to prioritize. For you it could be reading a book, meditating, writing in a journal, etc. Find something you can stick to and try your best to make it a priority.
A few years ago when I was living in NYC, I went through a time where I was wasn’t exercising, was working a lot, and was going out more than usual. I felt horrible and realized I wasn’t remembering any of my dreams (when I usually do). One day I mustered up enough motivation to go on a run and all of my dreams started flooding back to me. It was the weirdest thing! It also made me realize how connected our minds and our bodies are. I now always make it a point to go on runs wherever I am. It’s also an awesome way to see a new city. When I was recently in Provence with some friends, one of my favorite moments was when I went on a solo run through the French countryside, getting lost amongst fig trees and tomato vines.
Running not only helps keep me in shape but also clears my mind. For you it might be yoga, bicycling, walking, or even just stretching. Trust me, it will make a difference in your overall well being. Traveling can take a toll on your body and you’ll actually feel better (oh hey, endorphins!) if you find some time to work out.
Stay connected to home.
Whether it’s friends or family, just know they’re only an email, message, or video chat away. With today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with loved ones across the globe. If you’re feeling lonely or homesick, don’t hesitate to contact them! I’m sure they miss you too. While one of my favorite things about travel is the people you meet, sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone who really knows you, and that’s okay.
Be your best self.
It’s great to try new things, but don’t push yourself too hard to do things uncharacteristic of who you are. It’s fun for a little bit, but it can be draining if you’re not careful. Instead of trying to go with the crowd, try to be your most authentic self. Traveling (especially solo), is the perfect time to reinvent yourself and be who you really are. You’re meeting people you’ve never met before and they have no preconceived notion of who you are. Be your best self, and you will thrive.
Know your limits.
The last big block of traveling I did ended with me feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and anxious, which is unusual compared to my normal worry-free, relaxed attitude. I realized later that it was because I was traveling with people almost the entire time. I’m an introvert and have realized I need alone time to recharge. I traveled solo for five months and was fine, but a month and a half of travel with people and I was done!
Just know your limits, whatever they may be, and make sure to take time for yourself if it’s what you need. On the contrary, if you’re an extrovert and you’re traveling alone, don’t worry, it’s sooo easy to make friends. Just stay at hostels, and say hello to everyone! You’ll have friends in no time.
Keep a journal.
I’m still working on this myself, but when I’m traveling, I try to at least write down a few things each day – memorable moments, where I stayed, what I did, etc. It will help keep your mind in focus and your future self will thank you!
Hope these tips help keep your head free of negative thoughts and allow you more space to enjoy your travel experiences. I’d love to know what things you do to keep sane on the road! Leave them in the comments below!
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