📓 Entry # 18 — Travel fatigue is real.

Maeghan Smulders
Apr 28, 2018 · 5 min read

April 22, 2018

After almost 7 months on the road, it finally hit.

We’re tired, feeling out of it and missing home. I guess I assumed these feelings wouldn’t strike a cord with us since traveling in the past (for 2–3 weeks at a time….) has been so exciting… but I guess we were wrong.

We had two pre-planned check points when first leaving Canada:

  1. Make it to Mexico for my friends wedding and catch up with the Smulders family.
  2. Make it to Vietnam for Easter to catch up with the Beaulieu parents for 3 weeks together.

We achieved both milestones as of a few weeks ago which was so great since this meant that we had a wide open schedule for the first time and the ability to do what ever we wanted…. but instead it has made the rest of our trip completely overwhelming.

So this next part…. I hated writing it... it makes me and us sound ungrateful and whiney. But wanted to be honest that traveling is not always easy and have something to look back on and remember what was going on through our minds.

I guess I didn’t expect how tiring it would be changing beds every 2–3 nights. Or that after you’ve seen a dozen waterfalls… the magic kind of disappears... and they are just “another waterfall”. You hate yourself for thinking that because we’re so spoiled, but have zero interest in seeking any more out.

The lack of appreciation alone takes the excitement out of traveling — and blinds you to what is going on around.

After our first check point, it was 3 months of non-stop travel to get to our second check point in Vietnam on time. We had so much that we wanted to see and do before then that by the time we arrived in Asia… we were ready to crash and burn (and thinking of going home).

We finally had to say we’ve had enough and need a break to rebalance and reconsider our future plans.

We’ve been in Koh Samui, Thailand for the last 2 weeks (the longest duration we’ve stayed in 5 months…) in the same spot to figure out how we can get past this feeling.

The first few days… it didn’t go well. I actually think it got worse. First off, spring came to Canada… so all the wonderful things we do back home with our friends and loved ones all started happening again... and this time without us.

Second, we were doing some research on traveling to Nepal (the place Olivier was most excited to visit on this trip) and learned that April/May/June are the worst months to go. The monsoon season brings clouds & non-stop rain… not ideal for hiking at all. So very sadly, we decided to postpone Nepal and make it a priority for our next trip after this one is over.

Looking into other ways to get past the mindset we were in… we did some Googling (obviously) to see if other long term travellers had some advice to share on over coming the travel blues, and reading their stories kind of helped.

I woke up one morning later and realized we hadn’t set any goals or mile stones for ourselves since we left back in October…. and now that our two check points had been reached… our bodies were telling us “Game Over!” or maybe just that the pace of travel was clearly not sustainable moving forward.

So we spent some time thinking about things that are currently exciting to us and set our sights on some longer term milestones with a more realistic pace.

I looked back at our original travel Trello board at some of the goals and hopes we had for the trip... and so enlightened to see we had already achieved some of them 🙂 [ See the mini list below ]

It brought back some energy and helped us appreciate the ability to slow down and smell the roses and not go out of our way every day to see yet another waterfall.

Also when people recommend things for us to do or see we now ask them “why did you like it?”. If its not something we’re interested in seeing or a “just go there because everyone goes there”… we agreed to stop making such an effort to do something we won’t enjoy.

It also made us reflect on the importance of community and friendship. Something we are so lucky to have back in Canada but have had a hard time finding on the road. Instead here.. we’ve had lots of hollow hellos and many quick goodbyes. So now we’re exploring working opportunities and volunteering abroad to see if we can change the way we are meet people.

Lastly, we’re cutting back on some of the places we wanted to travel to slow the pace and focus on milestones or dream places that keep us moving forward. This also allows us time to relax, read, and work on things we want to do to keep our minds busy (yes… we are those kinds of people..).

I feel like we’re slowly getting to be more present in the moment and aware of what we need to keep moving together.

Hopefully our next post will share a new and exciting direction 😊

See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫

These were some of the goals we had in Trello from when we left Canada as well as some additional ones we added in the last few weeks. Its pretty rewarding to see the progress ☺️

Some of our goals & milestones

  1. Get our PADI certification ✅
  2. Swim in infinity pool ✅
  3. Skydive some where exotic ✅
  4. Hold a Kola ✅
  5. See Great Barrier Reef ✅
  6. Take a cooking class ✅
  7. Hike a volcano ✅
  8. Drive across New Zealand ✅
  9. Visit Hobbiton ✅
  10. Maeghan have more reddit karma than Olivier✅
  11. Meditate for 30 days ✅
  12. Make it to Mexico for the Smith Wedding & Maeghan’s family! ✅
  13. Do a yoga retreat ✅
  14. Swim with a wild whale shark ✅
  15. Make it to Vietnam to catch up with Olivier’s parents ✅
  16. No alcohol for 30 days ✅
  17. Journal weekly ✅
  18. Read a book a month ✅
  19. No meat for 30 days ✅
  20. Backpack weights less than 11 kgs ✅
  21. Buy a drone ✅
  22. Olivier reach 1250 ELO rating at Chess ✅
  23. Win a trivia night ✅
  24. Go to a Harlem Globetrotters game ✅
  25. No social media (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) for 30 days [in progress] If you want to do it too… Olivier built this extension on Chrome to help 😉

[Side note for Maeghan: when you look back at this post remember how much you hated it, don’t forget that feeling. You finished it and that is what counts]

A Little Detour

Hi there! Maeghan & Oli here - we're taking a break to travel the world and hope you'll join us for the ride. 🌏✈️ 👫 www.alittledetour.ca

Maeghan Smulders

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Hi! 🙋 I'm a tall, homeschooled, well traveled, terrible speller, who loves ice cream, building things and can be hilarious at times 👉 www.maeghansmulders.com

A Little Detour

Hi there! Maeghan & Oli here - we're taking a break to travel the world and hope you'll join us for the ride. 🌏✈️ 👫 www.alittledetour.ca