Traveling Is a Beautiful Chaos
I wrote this post a little while ago and have been going back and forth between wanting to share it and wanting to delete it because it’s not that inspirational, it’s not that informational, it’s really not that exciting. It’s mostly just a rant on a day when I was experiencing some crazy travel burnout. But, that’s part of living a lifestyle of travel. There’s good and bad, even in beautiful destinations. So, here you go.
I’m going to forewarn you that I may sound a little ungrateful for a moment – but please know that I’m not. I realize how amazing the life that I’m leading is. I’m doing things that people only dream of, that some can’t even imagine. Every day is a new beginning, a new adventure, from city to city and country to country – and I am so grateful for all of it. But, traveling isn’t always as glamorous as people think. Sometimes, you might experience something like travel burnout and I don’t think this is something that you can understand unless you’ve gone on a long-term adventure of your own.
Traveling for a long period of time is not a vacation; there is a difference between traveling and vacation, I’m sure of it. When I think of a vacation, I think of a time frame of 1 – 4 weeks, in a relaxing and easy environment where you spend every moment enjoying yourself, eating good food, drinking tasty beverages, recuperating and recharging. Traveling is different, at least in my mind and my experience. It’s hard to explain.
Traveling is a knotted bundle of different emotions, all at once.
It’s magical moments of suns setting over vast oceans.
It’s meeting new people every single day; making friends with inspired, like-minded people and having the best night of your life, only to part ways after a day or two and having to start all over again.
It’s walking down the street to buy a bottle of water and witnessing a beautiful parade celebrating the nation. Or sharing a smile and a “buenos dias” with the toothless old man on the street. Or coming across a robbery in broad daylight.
It’s struggling through daily life in a language that you barely understand and accepting that every day, you get by on a combination of guesses, luck, exaggerated miming skills and misunderstandings.
It’s spontaneously winding up in a town you had no plan to visit, with a new friend you met three days ago in a different city, and winding up at the top of a mountain looking out at incredible landscapes below.
It’s overcoming personal fears – maybe social anxiety – on the daily, when you have to eat out alone, approach a new group of people to make friends, walk into a 10 bed dorm full of strangers.
It’s constantly being lost, in unfamiliar territory, and discovering beautiful things that you never would have seen otherwise.
It’s spending an afternoon in Starbucks just for some semblance of familiarity, of a connection to home, no matter how materialistic.
It’s facing challenges every single day, for things that seem so easy at home: like ordering a meal, paying exact change, doing your laundry.
It’s chaos of the most complicated mixture of good and bad. A daily chaos that is as beautiful as it is terrifying. As challenging as it is thrilling, and as invigorating as it is exhausting.
It’s all of it, every day. Like an assault on your senses in every moment. And while it’s incredible and I love it – it also, at times, makes my head want to explode. And lately, I’ve been feeling more of the head explosions than the pure fascination of it all that I am used to. It’s made me take some days for granted and lessen my enjoyment of the adventure. For that reason, I’m choosing to spend the next two months slowing down.
I’m now in Cusco, Peru, renting out an apartment for the month. And the goal? To live simply, normally, for a little bit. Of course, exploration will still be there – after all, it’s a brand new city that I’ve never been before. But also, there will be a huge focus on my wellness: getting into a yoga and fitness routine, meditating each day, reading novels and drinking a lot of tea. And writing – it’s time to make an effort to get back into that, as well.