Sometimes I Don’t Love Travel

There, I said it.

Right now I’m sitting in my guesthouse in Vang Vieng, one of the party capitals of South East Asia. It’s famous for riverbed tubing and riverbank drinking. I tried to go tubing yesterday, but thanks to a really low water level and some crooked tuk tuk drivers I wasn’t very succesful. I don’t really feel like partying. I don’t really feel like doing anything but sitting in my room, eating chocolate croissants and writing. It seems like such a waste of time, I could be doing this at home.

I’m not supposed to feel like this. I’m a travel blogger for pete’s sake! I LOVE travel! I’m like a travel evangelist. But I’m sure that even Pat Robertson has an off day. Right now, I’m really just not feeling it.

If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know that I planned this trip for forever. I saved up for two years. TWO YEARS. For two years I lived at home, and worked a boring job and pinned all my motivations, and hopes, and dreams on this adventure.

And now I’m on this trip, living and breathing it. I’m close to 6 months in, and while I have a lot of great stories and photos to share, I’d be lying if I said it’s exactly what I’d hoped it would be. It’s rained. A lot. I’ve had issues going on at home that have been stressful. And I miss my boyfriend, more than I really should.

Then I reach a place like Vang Vieng. A place that a lot of people adore, but that frankly isn’t me. I’m not comfortable here. Hordes of young backpackers day drinking into oblivion and watching Family Guy re-runs. Not that I have anything against either of those things, it’s just not my mood right now. I feel dull. And old.

Karina Henriette

I’m still glad to be travelling, but sometimes I look around and thing that everyone is having more fun than me. Or that I’m not fully taking advantage of the oppurtunities I have. Sometimes, like today, I just feel really burnt out.

Then I start to feel terribly guilty. I’m out here, living the dream, living MY dream of writing and working and travelling. Everyone I meet tells me “you’re so lucky,” and “I wish I coul do that.” I know I AM lucky, so why am I sitting alone in my room throwing myself a pity party?

It felt really good just to admit this, because it’s not something I see many travel bloggers mentioning. Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect that a lot of you long-term travelers feel the same way- even if nobody wants to talk about it.

I think that when you are travelling long term, it is just impossible to keep up that enthusiam and adrenaline that you might have on a shorter trip. Day to day living can get you down no matter where you are.

I guess it’s probably not supposed to be easy.

So I’m givin my permission to blow off Vang Vieng. It is MY trip after all. And it’s not like the place hasn’t been thoroughly blogged about already by other people. I’ll save my energy for other adventures in places I’m better suited to.

The Flip Side (PLEASE READ):

It’s funny what a difference a day can make. After I finished writing this yesterday, I met up with a friend and did actually head down to the parties on the river. You know what? It was a lot of fun. I drank and danced and, while I didn’t get as crazy as a lot of the people out there, I still had a good time And while I’m still not wild about Vang Vieng, I guess now I at least understand what all the fuss is about.

So why am I still posting this whiny pity party rant? I wanted to share my thoughts with you guys, because I think that low points are an inherent part of travel, even if we travel bloggers like to gloss over them with stories about the awesome stuff.

I think that there’s a certain danger in reading travel blogs, in that when you identify so much with a person on certain levels, you start to let their experiences and opinions influence your own. I read a LOT of travel blogs, and when I see someone else really enjoying somewhere I didn’t or couldn’t, I start to question what MY problem is.

Facebook and flickr, and twitter and blogs are all such excellent ways os sharing your experiences, but I can’t be the only person who ends up comparing her experiences and wondering what else she could have done?

It’s always useful to remind myself that we are all different people with different experiences and opinions. Maybe Kate over at Adventurous Kate loved it here, but (while I admire her energy), I’m not her, and it’s okay that it didn’t ring true for me.

Not only is that OK, it’s preferable. We’re not all supposed to like the same stuff. Vang Vieng isn’t my thing, but loved Koh Samui, and lots of people hate it there. You don’t want your trip to be a carbon copy of someone elses anyways. That’s the joy of travel: it’s in the unpredictable.

I think that down days are a normal part of travelling and all you can do is take a deep breath and remind yourself that tomorrow is, of course, another day.

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81 thoughts on “Sometimes I Don’t Love Travel”

  1. Hey there! I just randomly found your blog and have been reading a few posts that interest me. I travelled solo through Central America for a year and then taught English and travelled in Eastern Europe for 6 months before coming back home to Canada. I think it was around the 6 months in that I started to have the ‘blah’ days too. I can recall more than 1 or 2 days sitting in my room watching movies and eating chocolate. You know, we do these things at home so why not do them on the road?
    Also, for others who are maybe thinking of doing something like this – I find the change of people every few days is what becomes hard. After a few months of travelling I found a host family to live with in exchange for volunteering at the local eco-center. I had 3 meals a day and my own room and taught English classes Monday-Thursday evenings. It was a fantastic way to feel at ‘home’ in my new country and I still had long weekends and holidays to travel around. I’d highly recommend something like this if you’re feeling a little lost.

  2. Thank you for re-posting this on Twitter! I’ve been travelling solo for four months now and totally understand how you feel. Solo travel can be extremely rewarding, you learn so much about yourself and the world. Yet I also have down days, and miss the comforts of people who know me.

    Today I’m having a day writing, editing photos and watching crappy films in my hotel room. It’s days like these which refresh me and implant the spirit in me to continue travelling.

  3. Thank you so much for this post! I have just started working for a year as a volunteer in Da Nang, Vietnam and have been feeling really down about the whole thing and just wanting to go home. It is really good to hear that other people out there have crappy times as well it is a refreshing and reassuring change from the travel is awesome all the time style of blogs. Your post has really helped me put that smile back on my face and remember why I came here and all the amazing things I plan to do over the year. Thank you reading this post has really made a difference in my day 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness! This post really helped me because I’ve been feeling this grumbly “I am so *&^ing sick of living out of a suitcase” feeling these last few days, and this was great to read.

    As for Vang Vieng, I found it a little isolating myself; anywhere with millions of Australians and Brits drinking booze by the bucket (literally) and seeming to want to get as drunk as humanly possible really makes me want to stay in my room. But I’m glad you made it out on the river!

  5. I can completely relate to this!

    Right now I’m 12 months into my travels; currently in Melbourne.

    I saved up for my trip here but knew that I also wanted to work when I got here. I’ve been really lucky to find some fantastic jobs, and I should really count myself lucky that I found good jobs which have helped me fund my travels when I’m not working and I should feel lucky that I have the opportunity to travel when so many other people don’t have the same opportunity but sometimes……I lose my passion for it.

    Which sounds TERRIBLE. I write a travel blog so, what, I don’t like to travel anymore?! That’s silly!

    It’s nice to know that someone else feels the same. Glad to hear that you ended up finishing your day on a good note!

    Happy traveling


    1. I think that over the course of a year it’s just impossible to be psyched ALL the time. It’s totally normal.

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