Life stresses are inevitable. Money, relationships, family, work, cancelled flights, theft, finding places to stay are all part of a traveller’s life.
Your girlfriend/boyfriend may break up with you over your travels, especially if they are a non-traveller. It can be a hard truth to face. It’s so easy when things “seem great” to blissfully ignore the realities of a relationship. The difficulty is when both have mentally checked out of that relationship. After it’s over, you will be a lot stronger than you thought. It’s like solo travel – if you take the plunge, it’ll show you what you’re truly capable of as you navigate foreign environments using your own instincts and logic. It may not always be easy, but it’s often the hardest situations that really help us grow.
Social media like FaceBook and Instagram friends and followers may give some great life advice and inspirational support. But getting back on the road, wandering aimlessly, biking, hiking and exploring new places will help clear your head. Curiosity keeps you feeling positive. Fellow travellers will often be a source of support.
Staying calm and Positive on the Road
More philosophical than practical, this is important when your new place overwhelms you. The lack of stability can be disorienting.
There is freedom in having no home base, but eventually, hyper-flexibility can turn into a paradox of choice. Constantly living out of a suitcase can get frustrating. What’s enviable for some is also torture for others. If you’re not enjoying the movement, stay put for some time to recalibrate.
Long-term travel baffles most people who have not made similar choices. “Do you miss having a home, or “Aren’t you tired of doing this?” Well, no. If I was tired of doing this I would find something else to do.
HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS
a. Give yourself a few days to adjust before making judgments about a new place. You may be tired and less open-minded than usual. Give yourself a chance to warm to it before you decide to leave. Get out of the main tourist areas, sample the street food and people watch, and your attitude will probably change. Sometimes the places that make the worst first impressions end up being your favorites.
b. Learn a few words of the local goes a long way. Get what you need and break the ice in a new place by learning the translation of “no problem”, it’s a surefire way to get a smile!
c. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Clichéd, but true. The sooner you start to weigh down your days with resentment or anger at things that cannot change, the sooner you’ll want to leave. Things will not go as planned, that’s part of the adventure, but usually things work out in the end. Save the stress and the anger for the things that really matter.
d. Build a vacation into your vacation. With long-term travel, your travel is your life, and your time home is your vacation. Travel in developing countries can be tiring and frustrating, and you need a break: sitting on a beach for a week, finding a festival you love, having a nice meal every so often or upgrading your accommodation. Figure out what you need to give your brain and body a break, and then indulge in it once in a while.
e. Experiment with food and markets. Experiencing the world through food can be a big part of travel. Markets are one of the better ways to see authentic food and are more colourful in the morning. Vary the experience with animal markets or other speciality markets. Connect with the locals.
f. The travel community is very active online for willing advice and support whenever you need it. Starting to blog soon connects you to a robust, supportive community of fellow travelers that can provide advice and suggestions. For those not blogging but active in social media, Twitter and Instagram are excellent places to get off-the-cuff accommodation picks, food suggestions and people to meet along the way.