If you have been travelling for a long time, for weeks, months or maybe even years, sometimes you may feel a bit disconnected. People are creatures of habit and, regardless of your lifestyle, we seem to thrive on routine. But we travellers wander around a lot, seeking new adventures and experiences and this can lead to a sense of feeling aimless or lost at times. So how do you stay grounded on long term travel?
Learn new skills: Whether it be learning the local language of the country you’re visiting, trying out a new instrument, learning to surf, or doing cooking classes as you go, learning new skills keeps you occupied and often more engaged with the people around you. Also, by investing your time into something for an extended period of time, it will help form some kind of routine you might be missing from back home.
Read: Take advantage of the book exchanges as you go and read during all that spare time. Reading is never a waste of time and it gives you a topic of conversation with other travellers as you move along. Sharing your reading material also helps you feel like you are contributing to the next traveller’s well-being.
Keep in contact with friends and family back home: Especially when you are travelling by yourself, there will be times when you feel alone and helpless in a new country or new situation. Skyping or messaging loved ones will help you stay connected.
Look for opportunities to help others: Whether it be keeping another single traveller company, offering them the use of your camp stove if their gas bottle has run out, or running to save the towel hanging from the front of their car as they drive away, these small gestures help you bond with the travelling community. Plus, what goes around comes around.
Engage with people: This may seem obvious, but sometimes you may feel closed off from the people around you, either because of a language barrier, shyness or simply being too tired to communicate. Regardless, try to make an effort. Even just one tiny interaction might lead to the best new experience or friendship. There’s nothing to be lost by trying!
Be mindful with everything you do: Whether it be cooking, eating a meal, or having a conversation with someone at your hostel. Absorb the scents and sounds around you and remember that you are free with your time, when most people are tied up with one commitment or another.
Write a journal: This always helps me feel grounded, lets me reflect on experiences and is a great thing to look back on when you are back at work. It can give you purpose. Don’t forget to do some illustrations or stick in your tickets. Even the small things will bring back memories.
Go for a run or walk: That’s right! Get into your active wear and take a jog around the neighbourhood. Take your head phones out, listen to the sounds around you and take in the scenery. Not only will it bring you back to earth, you will feel energised from all those endorphins, plus get to explore a new area by foot. I always feel more connected to the place around me after going for a run.
And don’t forget, it won’t be like this forever, so enjoy this feeling of freedom while it lasts.