What kind of question is that? I am a travel blogger, I love to travel and explore. Of course I should travel more, see more, discover more. And then tell you all about it and inspire you, so you can do the same. It’s an incredible privilege to have the passport that I have, and the opportunities to connect my passion with my work.

But is that really the ultimate goal? To see as much as possible just for the sake of it? Or – I hardly dare say it – is it better to travel less?

Lately I have been travelling a bit less than I used to, mainly because a) I’m back in full-time education, and b) I have a partner who’s job does not allow him to just take off and work from anywhere. He’s busy with his line of work basically every weekend – yes, every weekend; and being a full-time PhD student comes with quite a bit more responsibility (not to say pressure) to be present in the office, keep up with meetings with supervisors, and generally actually do your research in order to keep on track. The days of skipping classes in favour of a spontaneous two week holiday, and the days of being a freelancer who can literally work from anywhere as long as she has her laptop and WiFi, are gone. For now at least.

When endless travel starts to burn you out it might be time to slow down for a bit...

When I freelanced for a while as a travel writer and social media editor I would travel a lot. I would also work a lot – like 24-7 – but that is another story. I would be gone for three weeks, then spend a few days at home to do my laundry and catch up with my flatmate, and then I’d hit the road again. Last summer I travelled to Israel, England, Zambia, Tanzania, India, Poland, Austria, London and Ecuador in four months. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about all these amazing opportunities I had – it is an incredible privilege to travel to all these places – but in hindsight I start to question whether it was really the best idea. Was a week in Israel enough to understand local conflicts and give them the attention they deserve? Hardly. Was the three-week holiday in Tanzania and Zambia with my Africa-inexperienced dad really the way I wanted to travel the continent for the first time? Partly yes, partly no. Have I seen enough of India in my 10-day getaway with my best friend from back home? Absolutely not. I hardly had time to digest and reflect upon the impressions I got from one place before I would head on to the next.

Impressions of foreign places floated by, raced by, and I could barely keep up. Even though I loved every second of it, I know now that traveling so much in such little time was simply too much for my senses. After my summer of travel frenzy I got restless, stressed out by tiny irregularities at home, and even had panic attacks when I felt I lost control for a moment.

When endless travel starts to burn you out it might be time to slow down for a bit...

Being able to constantly travel and explore sounds great at first – for a long time it was my dream to become a nomad, and I would jump at every travel opportunity that presented itself. Gosh, I’m still bummed every time I have to give an opportunity a pass. But constant travel can also lead to feelings of uprooting and not-belonging. As hard as it is to accept, a life of constant travel might not be for everyone – and the way I experienced it before, it is certainly not for me.

That is not to say that I have lost my wanderlust or my desire to move to a new city one day. Not at all. My list of countries I want to visit and places I want to learn more about is still growing. And yet, I want to travel less, at least a bit.

When endless travel starts to burn you out it might be time to slow down for a bit...

Maybe with ‘less’ I actually mean ‘slower’ and ‘more responsibly’. I don’t want to see 10 places in two weeks, but rather spend a week here and a week there. Instead of jam-packing my days with activities and things I have.to.see. I would rather just spend a few hours out and about, and use the rest of the day to hang out in a local coffee shop, working on my writing or my social contacts. Instead of racing from destination to destination I’d rather work on my personal bucket list of experiences.

I want to travel slower to learn more about one specific destination. I want to meet and interview people instead of seeing sights or attractions. I want to spend time with myself instead of networking and making loads of new friends (who you sometimes never hear from again). I want to travel more in my new home country instead of venturing out to a new continent. I want to sit and listen to my environment instead of rushing through it.

Travel is important to me because it teaches me about differences and similarities of people and cultures. It helps me to fight and overcome prejudices; to break out of my boring routine every now and then; to learn about alternative ways of organising my life; to remind me that I never stop learning; and to escape the bigotry of people who never travel. Travel is what makes me tick, but like with anything you love to do, it is easy to ignore your own personal limit. I think I overdosed on fast travel.

When endless travel starts to burn you out it might be time to slow down for a bit...

Luckily I don’t have to give up travel entirely. I still go on one trip per month on average – sometimes that means a weekend getaway to a town two hours from Glasgow (my home town); sometimes I’m luckier and get to travel to a new place for a week or two. The only thing that I need to do is to make sure that I take it easy and give each destination the time it deserves. There is not simple answer to my question, should we travel more or less.You have to find the best solution for yourself – and for me it is to travel slower and more consciously, see less destinations but those more intensely. For now, that is what works for me.

 

Have you had the travel blues before? How did you overcome the challenge? I would love to hear your stories in the comments!

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When endless travel starts to burn you out it might be time to slow down for a bit...

All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.