Why I Can’t Travel Like I Used To

A couple weeks ago I wrote a pretty popular article about the benefits of slow travel: how moving less actually allows you to see things in more depth and detail. I then proceeded to completely ignore my own advice and blow through the rest of Colombia. 8 destinations in 20 days, a whirlwind effort to see as much of the country as possible before my visa expired.


It was frankly, really stressful. There were overnight buses, slapdash city tours and rain, oh so much rain. When you add in that Mike and I are also trying to run our two businesses off unreliable wifi, things started to turn ugly. We started to snap at each other over the stupidest things: we were just so tired, frustrated and overworked, particularly at the end. There just wasn’t enough time to do everything we needed, everything we wanted, and to also breathe normally.

And ice cream, there has to be time for ice cream

It was a bit of a wake up call: things are different now. A couple of years ago I could have breezed through a whole long list of places without a problem, this is no longer the case. My overflowing inbox and aching back tell me that while traveling slow used to be a luxury, it’s now a necessity.

When you come down to it, it’s mostly about the work. I’m not just backpacking around, seeing the sights, I’m now working from the road. Business has been good (November was my highest earning month to date!), but with success comes, well a lot more work. Writing, administration, conference calls, working on side projects, these all take up a lot of time. And since I’m a travel blogger dating (and traveling with) another travel blogger there is always something that desperately needs to get done.

It turns out the work/life balance thing is a toughie, even when you don’t have a boss. In a way it’s worse, because if I get behind with work I pretty much have to lock myself in my hostel room and ignore all the beautiful attractions I came all the way down here to see. I’m tired of being so busy I have to skip the coffee plantations of Salento or the day trip to the countryside. I also don’t like worrying about work when I’m supposed to be out enjoying myself. I mean, there’s no use doing this crazy roadshow if it isn’t fun right?

So, Mike and I talked it over and here is the new plan: We’re turning over a new leaf. We’re going to do Ecuador slow. Like, really slow. We’ve already been in Quito for 5 days and we’re planning to stay at least 4 more. We’ll spend a week here, a week there, snailing our way across the country. We want to find the right pace that works for us: One that lets us get our work done, see everything we’d like to, and still have a bit of downtime for nappingor watching Dexter. We want to put our luggage down once in awhile.

It’s funny, I’ve been living and working on the road for over a year now, but I think I’m only just now starting to realize what that means. I love my job and I want to keep on loving it. I want to travel and work, and somehow enjoy both. Apparently that means traveling deeper and well, slower.

Oh god, am I a grown up now?

42 thoughts on “Why I Can’t Travel Like I Used To”

  1. My boyfriend and I learned this awhile back. We agree that you definitely have to stay long to enjoy a place or else you’ll come back home feeling a bit empty. Unfortunately, a lack of vacation time from work does not allow us to stay that long in a city. Sometimes, we can only go for a weekend which leaves us thinking we didn’t really get to know the place. We can’t wait until we have more vacation hours!

  2. We could have written this post- it is EXACTLY what we’re feeling like at the moment. – we sped through Laos in 3 weeks, trying to see as much as possible, but working at the same time. It’s just too stressful in the long run, and we need to slow down – or we won’t be successful… We wrote about how hard it is to balance travel & work, but it is not impossible to do both – we just feel we have much less of a social life & much less downtime than in our life before travel 😀

  3. Hi Steph, it sounds like you’re getting a little travel weary not old. It sounds ridiculous to people who are juggling mega responsibilities but it happens. Although not many travel addicts feel they can admit it. When it happened to me, about nine months into my trip, I took a break in Sydney and house sat for six weeks. It was nice to feel part of a community again (I mean one that stayed in one place), I actually got into ( dare I say?) a routine for a short spell. When I left, I felt refreshed and ready to take on NZ and South America with the same gusto I had when I left the UK . You gotta do what works for you, but don’t be afraid to take a break somewhere. They’ll be plenty to do and write about there too.

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