"Do you ever get tired of traveling?" This is a question we hear often and we also frequently hear other travelers complain about travel burnout.
"Traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion" - Hunt
NO TRAVEL BURNOUT FOR US
In the last twelve months, we have been completely around the world as a family with 26 airport stops, 13 countries, yet not one iota of travel burn out. And we are not just traveling but educating our child in 3 languages, plus playing 2 instruments and working as we roam on investments, writing a book and this travel blog in our spare time.
As we approach our 6th year of non-stop extensive long term travel as a family, soon to explore our 43rd country on 5 continents and have done over 200, 000 miles overland, I can honestly say, we have NEVER had travel burnout, never been homesick, still love the thrill of traveling and are tremendously grateful for this dream lifestyle that we have created.
WHY NO TRAVEL BURNOUT?
First, there is a huge difference between business travel or a vacation, than living a digital nomad family travel lifestyle. It's true, any travel, can make even the simplest things complex like getting a meal, finding a bathroom or a place to sleep at night, but we actually find our permanent vacation lifestyle easier ( and more enriching) than when we lived in one place.
"I can't think of anything that excites a greater since of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again." Bryson
"Success is doing what you want, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want" Tony Robbin
KEYS THAT WORK FOR US TO PREVENT TRAVEL BURNOUT
Sure there are times when one needs to go faster like we did in Norway to stay within our $23/ a day per person budget, but for the most part we are very big fans of slow travel, slow food, slow living which is a perfect antidote for our fast paced world and helps to be more present with and cherish what is truly important in life.
RETURN TO FAVORITE PLACES
We are world citizens that like having special "homes" around the world that we return to often like Barcelona, Penang, Andalusia, London, Provence, Verona, Santa Cruz etc. We mostly rest and immerse in the winter to allow our child to expand in one of her fluent languages by going to a local school, just doing shorter trips from a base, but we also do repeat visits regularly to places we love. There are always deeper levels to experience.
MAKE LOCAL FRIENDS
I think making deep connectons with locals is key to really knowing a place and preventing travel fatigue or feeling homesick. This goes hand in hand with slow travel and return to favorite places. One reason they will be favorite places is because of the dear friends that you have there. Many travelers make the mistake of just connecting with other travelers or not staying long enough to really connect with locals.
Nothing will help you connect to a place and culture than knowing the language. Obviously, no one can know every langauge, but if you are going to do extensive travel in a country where most do not speak your home language, you will have much less travel fatigue if you can speak some of the local tongue. You will enjoy it a lot more too and it will be easier to connect deeply with locals. If you have children I think it is crazy NOT to give them the gift of more than one language while doing slow travel.
BE UNPLUGGED AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Today's biggest luxury is being uplugged and spending time in nature..two of my favorite things in our digital nomadic life. We can't totally unplug all the time since we do everything via our laptops, including our investment work, travel blog, banking, some homeshool etc, but if you are always plugged in, then you are missing real life and then does it even matter where you are?
The whole point of the digital nomad 4 Hour Workweek style of life is to enjoy more and work much less. We purposely do not have a smart phone etc, so we are never tethered to a machine 24/7. Lazing under a tree, gazing at the sea, or just reading a good book, is essential to prevent travel burnout.
The longer we travel the less we need. Minimalism makes traveling and life so much easier. We zip through airports, on trains, buses, cargo ships etc almost effortlessly because we travel so light. Yes, a family CAN travel the world for a year with 26 airport stops, 13 countries with just one small carry-on luggage each. We will take even less this year. When travel is easy, burn out is avoided.
STAY CONNECTED TO FAMILY AND FRIENDS
When you do go online, make sure that you stay connected regularly with family and friends at a distance. I often talk to my 83 year old mother several times a week, sometimes every day as long as internet is good. Thanks to free webcams our daughter has been able to share each missing baby tooth, drawings, violin and piano playing, introduce friends and more. I am not sure if we could do our travel lifestyle without that because it allows us to travel the world and bring our dear ones with us as we roam.
One of the great advantages of traveling by motorhome in Europe and doing most of our slow travel in it or a furnished vacation rental means that it is easy for us to just keep up our normal family routines. Things like eating breakfast together, musical instrument practice, cooking dinner together, my morning walks, family movie nights, family cuddles and prayers at bedtime and upon waking are routines we do no matter where we are. Home is where the heart is, not a single place for us.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
Of course, a traveler can not live exactly as a local, but by having local friends, returning to favorite places and slow travel, it is easier and cheaper to do things more like a local than a tourist. Routines like grocery shopping, riding buses like locals or going to local schools for short periods helps ground us in every day life and keeps away travel fatigue.
MEET FAMILY AND FRIENDS
One way to keep family close, is to travel with them and our three generations travel with DaVinci's family and traveling with Grandma with my mom was some of our most enriching. They get to see first hand how our life is exotic and exciting, yet simple and ordinary as well. We've met up with old friends from California and Sweden to travel together and plan more of that. If you are homesick for family and friends why not invite them to stay and travel together?
LIVE IN LUXURY
It's true we travel the world for much less than we lived on at home, and we could travel and live on much, much less than the 25K a year that we do. We're a 1st world family, so we don't want to travel long term in a crowded party hostel or run down cheap, but scary or depressing place in the third world.
By living in luxury in places like we have done in our Spain winter rentals or Penang winter rental or even the luxury campgrounds in Europe, we keep our preferred lifestyle and that prevents travel burnout too. If life is really hard, one probably won't want to do that for an extended time...especially not as a family with a young child.
It's great to eat local food and we do that, but the routines of home cooked meals, grounds a family, prevents homesickness and is usually healthier fare and saves money. We also love the routine of shopping at local markets and making our healthy diets conform to what is popular locally. If we miss Tex-Mex or Sushi etc, we just make our own no matter where we are.
FOLLOW THE WEATHER AND KEEP IT PERFECT
Beaultiful weather is MUCH more enjoyable way to see a place, so we do our best to travel/live in eternal spring or summer weather and every day a Saturday. We consider the fall weather that we visit as more of the eternal spring since the weather is similar in temperature. Tropical is my preferred way to do winter, but if I must have snow, I will go to mountains like in Spain where we can ski in the morning and swim in the Med sea in the afternoon.
Weather is never perfect but trust me, a string of gorgeous days are a lot more uplifting than a dismal, rainy, dark, depressing or hot, miserable, sweltering, or cold, freezing-your-butt-off season. If the weather is miserable, it's time to move on or travel burn out will catch you, because day in and day out of hard and ugly, wears on the soul.
TRAVEL AS A FAMILY
If you travel as a family, then you always have your dear ones with you, so we never get lonely the way a solo traveler might, nor do we HAVE TO go find friends as our best friends are always with us. Some might not care for the 24/7 togetherness but we thrive on it.
Putting our child with babysitters or breaking up to travel would completely undo the main purpose of our travel which is cherishing our time together. We don't even like it when we have to sacrifice some of that time when she is in school part time for language immersion.
We were happily married for almost ten years before having a child and we waited until our child was reading well, school age and could carry her own luggage, before our world trip, so these factors help a lot in creating harmony while traveling and preventing burnout.
Have you had travel burn out? What would you do differently to prevent it in the future?