If you’ve read about my travel route around the World, you will know that it was jam-packed. In 8 months I travelled to 13 different countries, more locations that I can begin to count and saw things I never even knew existed. It was amazing! Every few days I knew I was going to be somewhere different which exactly what I loved about it. I like change and I don’t like to be still for long. I get fidgety and excited and just have to go.
But travelling surprised me and to be honest, it was a shock to the system. I had gone from university to working all the hours under the sun to pay for the trip which meant doing nothing more than eating and sleeping in my spare time. Now I was out all day exploring, trying to get around the language barrier, constantly being in the unknown and going from hostel to hostel. And living out of a backpack can be damn tricky!
After about 3 months of non-stop movement, both Jess and I crashed. We had reached Sihanoukville in Cambodia and were staying in huts right on the beach. It was beautiful even though the weather was stormy a lot of the time. As before, our intention was just to spend a couple of days there then be on our merry whirlwind way. But it just didn’t happen. We just couldn’t move. So we didn’t, and we pretty much did nothing for the whole time we were there. We hardly even left that beach. We had to accept it was time to slow things down, for a while at least.
I know what you’re all thinking ‘poor you, having to take a break from your round the world trip on a beach in Cambodia’, but I don’t mean it like that. I know full well that I was so lucky but I felt guilty and like I had come all this way to do nothing when I should be making the most of every moment. It was more of a case of learning a lesson of how important it is to take breaks even if you’re already on a break from real life.
I’ve never travelled solo so I think knowing when to stop is so important. Fortunately, Jess and I knew when we were crossing the line with one another or could just tell when to back off. Having time for a recharge before shit hits the fan or homesickness kicks in was just what we needed.
We had been travelling at the rate of knots and looking back now, I wish we had been able to take it slower. I do think it’s almost impossible to avoid burning out when you’re on the road for a long time, but if we had started off slow it wouldn’t have been such a crash. But hey, hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Since my round the world trip I’ve realised that I don’t have the need to be in one place forever. I think of all the people around my age who are loving their lives settling down with houses and getting married and I know that’s not what I want right now. I love to travel and I love having change in my life. But I now certainly know the importance of taking time to really be in places and soaking in what the place is all about.
So my advice to anyone who is about to go travelling for the first time is don’t worry about trying to do everything. Don’t feel bad for wanting to have a break. Don’t think that you’re missing out on things and wasting your time.