10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue’s Ass

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

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There was a time a little more than a year ago, when I hated traveling.

After doing it for more than five months, being sick for what seemed like the millionth time, being cramped into a dorm room in blistering heat with no air-conditioning, fearing for my life in Turkey and nearly falling to my death, I was pretty over it as I sat in an outdoor cafe in Varna, Bulgaria.

At that moment, I wanted to be done.

It hurt me deeply to admit that to myself. This trip was supposed to be amazing. An experience of a lifetime. And, instead of planning my next steps, I found my mind wandering to the comforts of my bed in Maryland.  To not having my backpacking weighing me down. To a home-c0oked meal. To breathing in private.

To make things worse, I hated myself for hating traveling.

I was so mad. So disappointed in myself for even letting that awful thought cross my mind. I was embarassed. This funk had embraced me, sucked me deep into the recesses of my mind I didn’t want to touch, and left me feeling cold, alone and sad.

Oh, Travel Fatigue.

When I was going through it, it was the worst thing in the world. I felt like no one knew what it was like. I felt like no one could be of any assistance in pulling me out of it.

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

A sign of Travel Fatigue: feeling depressed.

I was wrong. Entirely.

After being home and having relationships with other people who are/were on the road, I know this Travel Fatigue awfulness wasn’t exclusive to me. It happens to the best of us. And, fortunately, only lasts for a brief period of time.

It took a few things in my life to help snap me out of this funk.

Are you experiencing Travel Fatigue? Here are some steps to help kick it’s ugly ass and get back in the game.

1. Communicate your misery

No, don’t have a huge pity party (no one likes those), but talk to someone you trust about it. Someone you know can make you feel all better. For me, I was messaging with my lovely Anthony, who wrote words that were oh-so true: You’ve got to have the funk to have the fun. That was the start of my recovery.

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

Sometimes you just need to change your perspective.

2. Change your scenery

Nothing can quite snap you out of a rut like waking up somewhere new. There’s just a feeling of possibility that wasn’t there before. It can revitalize you. Abby and I had been seaside of nearly two weeks, so the mountains was a nice change of pace. And totally different and beautiful scenery.

3. Get comfortable

I was tired. I was hot. I wanted to not drip sweat every night after I had showered. Abby and I found an adorable hostel in the hillside town of Veliko Tarnovo. It had gorgeous air-con and a remote so we could make it as cool as we liked. That first night, we both slept with thick blankets on us. In the dead of summer. It was awesome. Naturally, the next day, the remote disappeared from our room. I can still remember the cool air kissing my face that blissful night.

4. Stay put

Even after Abby left VK, I stayed. And stayed. And stayed.

5. Relax

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

How can you not relax with a view like this?

When I was back in the solo realm of travel and feeling better, I treated myself to doing absolutely nothing. I would wake up in the morning, pad  upstairs to the kitchen and enjoy the complimentary breakfast, then head outside to the little balcony overlooking the ravine of green trees across the street. I would chat with the hostel owner, the other guests, and just ease into my morning. Then, when I got hot, I would go to the room, open my computer and write. Not because I felt I had to, but because it felt good. And, I would read. Then, a little nap in the cool room. At night, I would go with the other travelers to dinner, then back to my room for some more reading and then sleep. I did this for three days.

6. Don’t plan until you have to

On the third day of doing nearly nothing, I decided I was almost ready to head out and continue with my trip. Almost. I pondered my next steps. I spent a good deal of time looking at the giant colorful map of Eastern Europe on the wall in the common room. I consulted my guide book. I did research.

10 Ways to Kick Travel Fatigue's Ass

Take off your shoes, kick your feet in the H20 and BREATHE. Deeply.

7. Go somewhere you really want to go

Not somewhere along the way. I was planning on going to Budva, Montenegro. The long route would take me through a few cities of interest along the way. So, I had to make some decisions. Head to Sophia, Bulgaria? Stop in Belgrade, Serbia for a few nights? Finally, I let my heart win this one instead of my mind, which was saying “heya, Buddy, go to all three cities because you can!” I was craving the sun and the Adriatic. I knew deep down that the sea would help me feel better. So, instead of doing the stops for a few nights in these cities, I plowed through them, getting me to my ultimate goal — Budva.

8. Get out of your shell

When I arrived to Montenegro, I was exhausted. But, there was the Adriatic. The sea I had spoken of for almost a year to anyone who would listen. Just knowing it was there made me smile. And, put me in a better mood. The first day of being in Budva, I sat outside, under grape vines, and was social. I met a group of other solo travelers and we instantly formed a bond.

9. Remember what it is like to Adventure

When I was with these new friends, we planned a day trip together to the gorgeous little sea town of Sveti Stefan. Well, one guy planned it. The rest of us nodded our heads in agreement and walked down to the bus stop with him. It was so warming to be with other people again, to go somewhere. Then, the next day, myself and one of the guys from the group took our adventuring even further and got on another bus and headed to the stunning town of Kotor. It was not planned. It was fun. It brought a smile to my face. It had been a long time since I had done day trips instead of moving, moving, moving.

10. Find some new, non-Travel Fatigue-y friends

After Montenegro, I decided to go to Sarajevo. Another game-time decision. But, it ended up changing the entire rest of my trip … and my life today. When I was in Sarajevo, I met Katie. We spent a few days together in Sarajevo, and then met up with each other a few days later in Mostar. We planned a trip to Croatia together. When I was in Mostar, I met Dave. Together, the three of us embarked on a week-plus adventure, spending time in Brela, Split and our island paradise of Solta together. The two of them were blissfully happy in their adventures. They woke up every day and embraced their trip, and in turn, made me embrace mine. [Katie came to visit me in Las Vegas in June, and I am visiting her in September in Thailand … see … meet friends!!]

Have you experienced Travel Fatigue? Where were you? How did you overcome its grasp?

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Escape of the Week: Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar

Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar, also known as Mısır Çarşısı, is one of those attractions visitors should put on their itineraries. Built in the 1660’s, the bazaar is one of those places which simply mesmerizes.

It’s crowded. The people inside stroll from each business, stopping to sample the Turkish Delights, to capture the images of the pops of color on display in the form of magenta and gold spices, dried flowers, stacks of homemade soaps, tea leaves and more. They chat with the shop owners and try to get a good deal on their purchases. Often times, the crowd spills to the outside of the bazaar, too, where even more stands await offering juicy figs, hanging displays of various Turkish spices, fresh-caught fish and more.

Getting lost physically in the bazaar isn’t easy (unlike the Grand Bazaar down the road), but it is easy to get swept away in the colors, the atmosphere, and the sweets and spices on display.

I know I did. Twice.

This photo comes from the Spice Bazaar.

(And here’s a post I wrote about Turkish tourist spots for your additional reading pleasure)

 

Destinations Turkey

Escape of the Week: A Turkish Camel

Turkey has some serious bus stops. Like, serious. These huge facilities greet thousands of visitors a day and come complete with restaurants, shops, pay-to-pee squat toilets, and more. They even wash the buses quickly when passengers disembark to stretch their legs.

On the first day of my Fez Bus Tour through Turkey, we stopped between Istanbul and Canakkale to give the bus driver a rest AKA spend money on food and random Turkish trinkets. At this particular bus stop, which was surrounded by endless sunflower fields, there were some animals kept behind awful white bars, on display for everyone.

I loathe animals being treated with anything but love and respect, so was pretty peeved when I saw a camel and an ostrich contained in small spaces. I walked up to the camel and was immediately touched by its friendly demeanor and beauty. I guess after seeing so many people each day, it was pretty domesticated.

Of course, when the camel popped its nose out towards my face, batting it’s long-lashed eyes, I had to snap a picture.

Destinations Turkey

The Adventures of D — A Retrospect

Oh, my little blog. It’s been around since before I decided to take my career break and travel. It’s been around since I one sleepless October night in Atlanta when, around midnight, the words to the start of my story I wanted to share just popped into my head. Then, I was up. Out of bed. Laptop open. WordPress blog created.

And the rest is history.

Now, nearly two years later, I certainly have shared. At times, I’ve shared too much. At times, I haven’t shared enough.

Regardless, this ride has been the highlight of my life, taking me through moments, through happy, through sad, that have left me wanting more … and ready to start the next chapter in “The Adventures of D.”

So, when Jason from Jason’s Travels, asked if he could nominate me for this fun little project, My 7 Links, put on by Trip Base, of course I said “yes.” I mean … I get to relive some of my favorite posts!

Without further adieu, My 7 Links:

The Most Beautiful Post:

I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers

It’s not a beautiful photo essay. But it is an example of the beauty and generosity that still exists in this world. It is also one of the many reasons I fell in love with Croatia.

The Most Popular Post:

How to barter like a pro

I spent a good amount of time in Turkey during my trip, where negotiating is a part of the package. It constantly awed me that people could go in to a restaurant and negotiate the cost of their meal. While that wasn’t for me so much, it was fun to go back and forth with the shopkeepers at the Grand Bazaar and elsewhere.

The Most Controversial Post:

My 30-Life-Crisis … Solved?

It wasn’t controversial in the sense it started a heated debate, but to my family and friends, this post was controversial because I was throwing away a comfortable life for the unknown. I was … LIVING instead of deciding to just go through the motions.

The Most Helpful Post:

Airport Sleeping 101

Oh, the beauty of backpacking and being on a budget. There were a few times when I had stop-overs that, while they were 12 or so hours, were overnight. Rather then haul my 40 kilo backpack and my tired self to a hostel in the city, I opted to just crash out on the floor … or a bench … in the airport. This post gives tips on how to make the best of airport sleeping.

The Post Whose Success Surprised Me:

Dude, don’t be a Hostel Dick

Yes, it’s meant to be funny. I just didn’t realize this post with these tips would be one of my most popular posts of all time. In all seriousness though, every backpacker who stays in hostels should read this.

The Post That Didn’t Get the Attention I Feel it Deserved:

The Best of … Madrid

It’s got some pretty good tips in the post and in the comments for anyone headed to Madrid.

The Post I Am Most Proud Of:

Love, Life and Loss … on the Road

By far, this was the hardest post I have ever written. It took every ounce of me to pull myself together to write this.

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And now comes the fun part. Here are the five bloggers I want to do this on their site, too. These folks are some of the best out there! Be sure to check their sites for the My 7 Links project soon!

Adam from The Travels of Adam

Anna from Frill Seeker Diary

Candice from Candice Does the World

Lindsay AKA Hogga from The Traveller

Margo from The Travel Belles

30 Life Crisis Africa Americas Blog Croatia Morocco Rwanda Spain Travel Travel Tips Turkey

The Jungle Princess joins the Adventure

The first time I met Abby was in Las Vegas about four years ago. She was an editor and I was a publicist, so we had a few lunches and swam in some of the same circles of the Las Vegas social scene.

I never imagined the next time I would see her would be in Istanbul.

But, it was.

She and I had stayed in close contact the past year … sharing our thoughts about travel, our mutual support of the travel blogging world, and had talked about possibly doing a meet-up somewhere in my adventures.

When she found out her time living in Costa Rica was coming to a close, she messaged me asking where I was.

And, then everything came together.

Three weeks later, she was jetting from her pueblo to the bustling city of Istanbul.

The night Abby arrived in Istanbul also happened to be Chris’ last night of his travels.

“We’ve got to celebrate your last night,” I announced to Chris.

So, Claire, Chris and I headed to Sultanahmed to find a shisha bar and get some drinks. Our first stop was The Sultan Hostel, where Claire was staying, for some large Effes, and then on to Top Deck to enjoy some shisha.

I didn’t think we would be out late.

But, we were.

As we sipped on way too sugar-y alcoholic concoctions, the three of us laughed the night away.

“I think Abby’s hotel is nearby …” I said, and then asked Sasha, the owner of the bar, where her hotel was.

“It’s right there,” he said, pointing around the corner. He grabbed me and guided me to the hotel, where I quickly penned a note to Abby, telling her to drop her bags and come and meet me … even if it meant she had to jump from three flights to a cab to a hotel at 1 a.m.

We sat on the outdoor cushions for another hour, each time a cab pulled up I would crane my neck to see if it was Abby arriving.

Then, a white van pulled up on the street and a girl with long, wavy light hair got out, I immediately knew.

Abby!

I jumped the rail and bounded to her.

“Hi!!” I squealed, grabbing her, so happy to see a familiar face and to have a friend from home in Turkey.

We ran to her room, dropped her bags, and then went back to Top Deck for a few more cocktails, closing the place down early in the morning.

For the next few days, Abby and I would grab our laptops, do some writing and then tour the city, hitting the Grand Bazaar and wandering, eating and drinking wine.

I had been in Istanbul nearly two weeks total by the time we headed to Bulgaria … I was ready to go and be somewhere new and to create new (and happy) memories.

We teetered on where we would go after Istanbul, deciding on Sunny Beach, which was rated as one of Bulgaria’s top beach destinations.

At 7 a.m. on a Friday morning, after two days of wandering Istanbul together, we met in the rug shop below Harmony, loaded our belongings into a cab and headed to the bus station (a massive cluster unlike anything I had ever seen before), and boarded a bus to Sunny Beach, Bulgaria.

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Downpours

Chris had it all planned out.

We would take the ferry to a little town, then a bus to another little town and then – BAM! – Black Sea.

I hadn’t been to the Black Sea yet and was excited to check it off of my list of “Seas I Have Swam In.”

Claire met Claire and I at Harmony in the morning and we headed down to the Bosphours to catch the ferry.

“Oooh, there’s Asia, there’s Europe,” I said as we straddled the middle in the water. “This is so neat!”

The three of us stood outside on the boat’s deck for the entire boat trip, snapping photos from time to time and enjoying the breeze on our faces.

Once we got off the boat, we stopped in the town for lunch. A mouthwatering sampling of fresh-caught fish washed down with ice cold Effes.

Then, we caught the bus to the beach.

It was packed, so Chris and I sat on the stairs in the back of the bus, holding on for dear life as it sped through the windy roads.

Death by bus. Not nearly as glamorous as death by paragliding.

Once a seat opened up, I abandoned the step for a safer resting place.

When we finally made it to the beach town, I was ready to close my eyes and enjoy the sun.

But first, I had to get in the water.

Like the Mediterranean, it was too warm to be refreshing.

And it was dirty.

Trash lined the beach, bottles floated in the water. It wasn’t a peaceful and serene place to unwind, but it was a beach so it suited my needs of sun and water.

Claire, Chris and I hung out in the Black Sea for a little and then I retreated back to our towels to take a nap.

I laid there, closed my eyes and breathed in.

The Black Sea.

That’s three seas in three weeks.

Not bad, D.

I woke up to dark skies. A serious storm was brewing.

Time to go.

We got back on the bus and headed to town.

“Here, this is the last stop,” we were informed by another passenger. So, we exited the bus.

As soon as we did, the sky opened on us. A downpour topped off with claps of thunder and flashes of lightening.

“Wait,” I said, spinning around. “This isn’t where we got on.”

And, it wasn’t.

Thanks, ill-informed bus person.

The shops, the streets, none of it looked familiar as I squinted at the scenery before us.

“Where are we?”

The three of us stood in the rain, clothes sticking to us, trying to figure out where we were and how to get back to the stop we knew so we could take another bus back to Istanbul.

“Let’s go this way,” Chris instructed, so we waded through puddles and began walking.

I couldn’t help but laugh. I had wanted a good thunderstorm. And, I had gotten one. It was just poor timing.

After about 10 minutes of rain soaking our bodies and wandering towards what we hoped was a bus stop, a bus passed us and stopped, letting us hop on as we rode 30 seconds to the bus stop we needed to get to.

“We were going the right way,” Chris said, smiling.

I looked at our group. Soaked to the bone.

We dried off a little bit on the hour ride back to Istanbul. But, as soon as we got off the bus in Taksim, there was another storm and once again, we were soaked.

It wasn’t until after dinner (Pizza Hut awesomeness), did the rain finally stop and we finally dried off.

We got back to our hostel tan and dry. And, after all, isn’t that what I wanted?

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A love affair with Air-Con

I lived in the desert for four summers. The sweltering hot, Las Vegas desert.

When people would tell me it was worse on the East Coast, that at least it was not humid, I would always retort: “You may not think it is bad, but try blowing a hair dryer on your face non-stop for a summer. Then, tell me the desert heat is bareable.”

The only way I survived those brutal summers in Las Vegas was with my trusty, beloved air-con. I stayed inside until the sun crept low into the sky (and even then, outside was hothothot). If I had to go outside, it would only be to get me from Point A to Point B. Both of which blasted me with a cool shot of artificially cool air the moment I stepped inside.

Sweet, cool air.

After returning from the cooler Goreme in the Cappidocia region of Turkey, I was blasted with heat. The uncomfortable kind where sweat pours out of the body and pools.

I arrived back to Harmony Hostel (Canan, the girl who runs the hostel had e-mailed me earlier in the week telling me Harmony was my “second home, please come back,” so I did).

Chris, one of favorite Aussies and Romanian travel buddy, greeted me upstairs as soon as I arrived back following a 10 hour bus ride from Cappidocia to Istanbul.

It was so good to see him. A familiar face from the start of my travels.

“Hi,” he said, going to hug me.

I stepped back a bit.

“Chris, I am disgusting,” I said, covered in sweat.

He hugged me anyway.

We caught up that night, over a beer and some lentil soup (why I had hot soup is beyond me), then I retreated to my bed.

Holy shit. There was absolutely no air.

I laid down.

Stifling heat. Dripping sweat. I can’t sleep like this.

The last time I stayed at Harmony, I had a fan blowing in my face, making the summer heat bearable. But this time, no fan. No breeze. Just stale, hostel air creeping into every pore of my body, boiling water within me and oozing it out.

I tossed. I turned. I used the top sheet to wipe off the wet. I woke up at 7 a.m. when the sun came up and the heat, once again, blistered into the room.

I climbed up to the rooftop terrace, hoping to catch a break.

Instead, I was greeted with a big, blue backpack and three messages from Scotty on my Facebook.

Essentially, he was leaving Turkey and heading for greener pastures. He left his pack at my hostel and asked me to keep an eye on it, saying he would be by soon to come and hang out with me.

An hour later, I was greeted to his smiling face and big, blue eyes.

“Hi honey!” We both cooed. Granted, we had just seen each other last night, but we were so groggy, so tired, so achy from the bus ride … it seemed like light years since the evening before.

We sat online for an hour, trying to figure out when he would leave Istanbul and where he would go in the meantime.

“I just want a shower and cool,” I informed him.

“Come with me!” He said, eyes sparkling. “I’m getting a hotel room with air-con and a shower!!”

Sold.

We went and talked to Chris, who was taking it easy that day, and I was lured quickly to his hotel, a tram ride and a walk away.

During that 10 minute walk, carrying his day pack, I broke out once again in dripping sweat.

Gross.

We finally arrived to his room and the first thing we did was turn on the air-con.

“You shower, I am going to sort out my plane ticket out of here,” he instructed.

He didn’t have to tell me twice.

I got in the shower and just let the cold water rush over me, cooling me back to a normal temperature.

Then, Claire met me in the room and we both basked in the cool breeze the air-con was emitting, eventually both passing out for a catnap.

The next night in the hostel wasn’t so bad. I had an entire day to cool down. And then, the following night, Canan informed me I was sleeping in her room — with air-con. And, to make things even better, the next three nights, I was moved to a different room, where I took control of the AC remote and slept cool … sometimes too cool … but blissfully happy in my non-sweaty state.

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