It’s been 7 months since we began season 3 of our sailing adventure. That’s 650+ days as full-time cruisers/live-aboards, and my oh my has it been a whirlwind. One thing I haven’t been able to shake this past season is feeling guilty about craving “normalcy”. Granted, this all began before the Covid-19 lockdown so we’ll save that topic for another time.
I guess I’ve been avoiding admitting this out loud but travel fatigue is VERY real! After chatting with some of our close cruising friends, it’s been a relief to learn that I’m not so alone in saying that it happens to the best of us nomadic souls. Yet no one really says anything about it…at least not publicly while we’re all out here #livingourbestlives on social media. Hah 🙂
Slow travel is what our lifestyle is supposed to be about, but not always the case. We like the experience of living somewhere rather than just passing through, but there’s still pressure to be go-go-go every day and see/experience everything you’ve spent so much time investing in. Navigating new places, languages, social norms, being rushed in order to catch a good weather window, hiding out from 40 knot winds and/or enduring sleepless nights at anchor. It’s really easy to burn out.
Fatigue is different than being tired. When you are tired, you know that if you can just get some sleep you will feel better, but fatigue is still there when you wake up. It stays with you all day. It’s a lack of energy, a feeling of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion. Being on a sailboat doesn’t always allow you the luxury of just stopping to re-energize. Theres a lot of other factors at play.
I realize full-time travel is indeed a privilege, but lately it’s felt like more of a chore than a treat. Some days, our itinerary drives me insane and I would much rather be curled up on a (real) couch watching trash TV with Postmates at my convenience than go snorkeling off the coast of whatever paradise we happen to be in. I know, I know… this is where the guilt kicks in. I should be slapping myself for the lack of excitement about being in places that others dream about and having opportunities that many others never will.
However, I’ve also realized long-term travel (as fun as it can be and as glamorous as it seems) IS a lifestyle and like any lifestyle, sometimes we need a break. The novelty can wear off and the need for a fresh routine creeps up on you. This is N-O-R-M-A-L and doesn’t mean were ungrateful or any less deserving of the life we’ve created.
My two personal remedies for fighting fatigue:
- Picking what’s important and letting ourselves have the journey we want, not the one social media or the cruising guides tell us to have. You’ll never be able to do it all anyways.
- Reconnecting back to friends and family. Regardless of how much fun we might be having, we still miss those who are not here to experience it with us. FaceTiming while sipping wine with your best gals has often been the best pick me up.
So if anyone out there thinks you might be a little travel fatigued theres no shame in admitting it or taking a break to return to a place of comfort. It’s wise to know when your mind, body, and soul needs to decompress.
YES! Thanks for having the courage to post this! The guilt is real on this issue. It is a constant battle to feel productive while on cruising, thought admittedly the battle is often just in my head. I often forget that it’s ok to just relax sometimes too. But the travel fatigue is real and is part of the reason we only cruise for half the year. I love having six months at home to re-connect with friends and family (though that may look a little different this year). It’s nice to have a break and I find that after travelling, I am always much more appreciative of things I once took for granted.
What’s your plan now that things are starting to open up a bit?
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You speak the truth!! We were definitely feeling this way at the end of the season last year. We were able to take a break, and it made all the difference. Hope you get a nice break and can come back refreshed!