Digital Nomad Tips
The Difference Between Vacationing And Long-Term Travel
It’s easy to see traveling as glamorous, going to all these amazing destinations, having life-changing adventures, making new friends…these are all the parts I love most about traveling, yet it’s not all travel is.
It’s rare to hear people talk about the dark side of long-term travel, how exhausting it can be – physically and emotionally. No one talks about how traveling long-term makes you miss out on birthdays, family gatherings, weddings, and anniversaries.
When you go on a vacation you’re typically out of your bubble for a week or two.
You get out of your comfort zone, see new places, make new friends, and perhaps have crazy adventures….and then you fly home and get back to your normal life. You go back to your family and friends. To your job and the house where you feel safe. You go back in your warm bubble with new memories and stories that inspire you to live more.
With long-term travel it becomes your routine. You go through these same experiences, perhaps more intensely as time and fear passes, but you don’t get to go back home to recharge and appreciate what you just experienced. Instead you have intense experiences, form intense connections, see incredible places, and then you leave. Say goodbye to your new friends, and head to the next dreamy place to do it all over again.
Only this time you’re emotionally drained. And with each passing trip you fall further. You don’t get a break to think about everything you just experienced or to recover from the “breakup.” You just told these people your whole life story, shared so much together in such a short time, and now they’re gone!
So for those considering the digital nomad lifestyle, here’s my advice:
Everything in moderation.
It’s an amazing thing getting to see country after country and exploring the world, however, it can also be exhausting! Taking time to just relax and have a lazy day even while traveling is important. Take your time, listen to your body, heart, and mind, and take time to recharge when needed.
Traveler’s Block Is Real
When traveling non-stop it felt like I got stuck in a rut about once a month. We just couldn’t figure things out. Be it where to go next, for how long, where we will stay, or finding the best route to leave (or a mixture of all of them) we just couldn’t make things work. Over the course of about a week, we would spend all of our time scrambling through Airbnb, Hotels.com, and Skyscanner, trying to put the pieces together. For some reason things just wouldn’t line up and we couldn’t make a final decision. Getting traveler’s block ends up eating a lot of your travel time.
I am not sure why “traveler’s block” happens, but it is much like “writer’s block” in that you just get stuck. We experienced traveler’s block about 5 times in our 6 months of travel. That is a lot considering the stress it puts on us and the amount of time spent trying to figure things out. We wasted whole trips trying to figure out the next step. For example, we were trying to figure out where to go next after Thailand and ended up spending our entire 3 nights/4 days in Krabi looking at flights on Skyscanner. Now, I love planning trips, but when this planning takes away from the current trip I am in, we have an issue. There has to be a better way.
What I have learned from my experiences of traveler’s block and travel planning is that you can’t change things unless you change your approach. This is the same for most situations where you feel ‘stuck’ or can’t find a solution. Sometimes the best thing you can do is step back from the problem and re-think your strategy. Doing this really helps your mind clear up and brings on a different perspective. How I apply this to traveler’s block and travel planning is by simply putting a halt on research. It’s easy to get sucked into flight deals on Skyscanner and trying to find the perfect Airbnb. When you go too deep into your research you end up losing sight of what you really want.
The best approach when facing traveler’s block is to stop what you’re doing and really think about what you want. For me, it helps to write down exactly what I am looking for/ hoping to get out of the trip I’m planning. I also factor in budget, and what makes more sense to visit next from my current location. The following is the process I am applying to planning trips and that has really helped with traveler’s block.
10 Easy Steps To Plan The Perfect Trip
- Make a list of destinations you are interested in seeing
- Check Skyscanner deals – from your airport of choice to “everywhere”
- See how high the destinations you want to see rank (the higher on the list, the least expensive it is to fly there)
- Narrow down your list to the top 2 destinations on Skyscanner
- Research possible areas to stay in for each destination (check for close proximity to sightseeing, cafes, nightlife, beach, etc.)
- Make a list of things you want for lodging (hotel or airbnb?, full apartment or private room?, has wifi, kitchen, washer/dryer, is modern etc.)
- Search Airbnb or Hotels.com for places that match your desired location and amenities. Do this for both destinations on your list.
- Narrow down your search to the perfect lodging for each destination (can be 2-3 per destination so that they don’t get booked before you book your flight!)
- Figure out which of the possible itineraries for the 2 destinations you like best, and which trip makes more sense for your budget.
- Book your favorite! First book the flight to lock in the dates/price, then book your hotel room/Airbnb apartment. Enjoy your trip!
Following these 10 easy steps has been a game changer for me. Getting organized and planning in this order helps take the stress away. It is a much more efficient way of planning a trip and wastes less time than staring blankly at a screen hoping all the pieces will somehow come together.