Lost That Travel Feeling: What To Do When Travel Makes You Go “Meh”

October 2, 2011


I have a confession to make.

You see.

Well.

I don’t know how to say this.

But.

The thing is…

Umm.

Okay. I’ll just come right out with it:

Idon’tfeelliketravelinganymore.

Phew, I said it!

What’s that? You didn’t understand me?

Okay, fine. I’ll type a little more slowly this time:

I. Don’t. Feel. Like. Traveling. Anymore.

(Please, don’t hate me.)

It’s just that I’ve kind of lost that travel feeling – you know, the one that makes you impulse buy airplane tickets at midnight on a Tuesday even though you’re not entirely sure you’ll be able to get the time off of work… and you’re not entirely sure which country Muko-Muko Airport is located in. (But, hey, with airports named Muko-Muko, you’re pretty sure it’s going to be a fun country!)

You know the feeling, right?

It’s the one that gives you butterflies in your stomach the day before a big trip.

The one that makes you walk around a new town with a ridiculous grin on your face like you’re in love… or like you’re a total lunatic. (And you’re pretty sure, given the looks the locals have been shooting at you, everyone in town is placing their bets on lunatic.)

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t really had that travel feeling for some time now.

I think my enthusiasm for travel petered out somewhere around February when I first moved to China. In the past eight months, I’ve managed only a handful of trips outside of Wuxi despite having more than enough vacation time and, you know, the fact that I’m actually making cash-money these days.

Not that I’m saying it’s China’s fault.

Okay, maybe it is China’s fault – a little.

No offense to China or anything, but China certainly does have a way of making it difficult to stay in love with travel.

Don’t get me wrong. I like living here. The food is delicious, the people are friendly, and the grocery stores are amazing. I mean, have I mentioned the fact that you can  fish for your dinner in the grocery stores here? Not that I want to fish for my dinner, but it’s nice to know that I have that option, you know?

Plus, no one cares if you wear pajamas in public.

And, well, there’s my couch. Have I mentioned my couch before?

But traveling in China is a totally different ball game than living here. Traveling hasn’t been quite so easy for me – especially given my lack of Mandarin skills and my love for personal space.

Seeing as I work in China, my only time to travel has been during the weekends, national holidays and breaks from school – which also happens to be the exact same time that everybody else in China is traveling. And, there’s like a lot of people in China. And when they’re all traveling at once, well, let’s just say, things can get pretty cramped pretty quickly.

Last semester, I went to Shanghai on a national holiday weekend, during which I spent most of my time involuntarily body surfing through train stations. I’m pretty sure I crushed a few of my vital organs. (Good thing I have more than one kidney… and absolutely no plans to use my uterus!)

Color me crazy, but I have no desire to do that again.

Admittedly, I’ve never been the super gung-ho, global nomad type traveler anyway — no matter where I’ve lived. I hated living out of my luggage the year that I did it, and I sorely missed owning a couch.

Instead, I’ve always preferred the expat lifestyle – the one that lets me travel around in my free time without giving up my couch, my cable television and my collection of shoes.

In Japan, I went away almost every chance that I got. I had my travel agent on speed dial, and I participated in more than a few late-night plane ticket impulse buys. I even went to the States for a long weekend. (Ahem, twice. Because, uh, isn’t that how you want to spend your three-day weekend? On a plane for approximately thirty hours?)

But these days it seems like I can’t even muster up the enthusiasm to take the hour-long train ride to Shanghai.

This upcoming week, I have the entire week off for the National Day holidays, but I’m not planning on going anywhere… aside from, maybe, the mall. (This, by the way, is daunting enough in itself as it involves me flinging myself into a crowded public bus in the hopes that both of my kidneys will stay intact.)

I’ve been pretty reluctant to confess how I’ve been feeling over the past year, to be honest – especially to all of you out there.  After all, what kind of travel blogger admits she doesn’t want to travel anymore? That’s kind of like a mommy blogger saying, “Yeah, umm, about this baby thing? Not so much.”

Sure, I’ve felt travel burnout before.

But this has felt different.

It hasn’t felt like burnout.

It’s felt like a breakup.

But it’s not one of those fast and easy breakups.

This is one of those long, drawn out breakups — you know, the kind that take months.

At first, he stops laughing at your jokes and telling you that you look pretty. Then he stops calling you, but he’ll still pick up the phone when you call him. But then he stops answering your calls. And after a few days of that, you’re all like, “Whatever. I could do better than him. But maybe I’ll just try to call him one more time in case he lost my number or was kidnapped by Mongolian street bandits.”

And, when you do eventually get a hold of him, he comes up with some lame excuse for not calling you (that doesn’t even include street bandits).

And then about a week or so later, he finally tells you he doesn’t think things are going to work out between the two of you.

And you’re all like, “Fine. I don’t need you.”

Well, at least that’s what you were totally going to say.

You know, if you weren’t crying.

Yeah, it’s been kind of like that.

Except I’ve been the one avoiding the phone calls and saying I didn’t think things were going to work out between us, and travel was the one crying on the phone.

At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. (I mean, do I just hang up the phone or wait for travel to stop crying? Or do I say something stupid like, “It’s not you, travel. It’s me.” Even though we’re both pretty sure that it’s totally you.)

But, over the past eight months, I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve even been enjoying my time off from traveling — even if I’m a little ashamed to admit it.

So what should you do when you’ve lost that travel feeling?

Open up your relationship
I think one of the reasons why I’ve lost my enthusiasm for traveling is, well, because I’m tired of doing it on my own, to be honest. In Japan, I used to travel a lot with friends, but after I left Japan I spent almost a year going solo.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some solo traveling. (Mostly because it means I can eat a chocolate bar and a tube of Pringles for breakfast, and no one needs to be the wiser.)

But, frankly, solo travel can also be really exhausting.

I’m tired of figuring out where to go and where to stay and how long to stay there.

I’m tired of haggling with taxi drivers by myself and getting lost by myself and then swearing at myself for walking ten miles in flip-flops by myself because the distance looked totally walk-able on my map.

I’m tired of sitting in restaurants pretending to be mesmerized by the label on my beer bottle while everyone else in the entire restaurant is mesmerized by the people they are with… actual real-live people, that is… and not, say, the imaginary people they’ve made up in their head.

Most of the trips that I have taken around China have been with other people. I met up with friends in Beijing and Shanghai last semester. And, then this summer, I met a friend in Xi’an, and traveled with her to Shanghai.

It’s been nice to have other people around to travel with — to help me with decisions and to haggle with taxi drivers. Or, you know, just to keep me company while we both stare at the labels on our beer bottles (because we’re too tired to talk to each other after walking ten miles in flip flops).

Maybe my problem is not that I don’t feel like traveling anymore.

Maybe it’s just that I don’t feel like traveling on my own anymore.

Maybe I just need to see other people… actual real-live people, that is… and not, say, the imaginary people in my head.

Cultivate your other interests
In the five years before I moved to Japan, I hardly ever left the United States. In fact, other than a few trips I had to take for work and a couple family pilgrimages to the Midwest, I hardly even left New York State.

You see, back in those days, I only had a measly two weeks of vacation time. (This was long before I came to my senses and decided to be a teacher so I could spend my summer the way it’s meant to be spent – doing absolutely nothing.)

I was also pretty much poor all the time as I had this pesky habit of working in the arts. What little money I did make was spent on happy hour drinks and ridiculous shoes.

My passport expired.

My luggage grew mold.

My pair of sensible travel shoes got buried underneath my collection of ridiculous shoes.

Sure, I missed traveling, but I can’t say I really thought about it much.

I was too busy doing other stuff.

I performed with an improv comedy group. I went to a lot of local events and festivals. I took classes. I ran a lot, joined the gym and took up biking. I meticulously organized all my CDs (by alphabet and genre because that’s just how I roll). I made soup. I hung out with my family and friends. I even dated boys – real ones and not just imaginary ones. (Okay, so I dated the imaginary ones, too. But, I also dated human boys. Seriously. I swear.)

And, even though I wasn’t traveling, I was still really happy.

And, you know what, I am really happy now, too.

Since I haven’t been traveling much over the past eight months, I’ve had a lot of time to focus on the other things I enjoy doing. I’ve been writing and reading lots. I’ve started running again and recently joined a local gym. I’ve been making a lot of soup and testing out my baking skills in my new toaster oven. I’ve even been going out more, and not just hanging out on my couch all the time. (Seriously. I swear.)

Who knows? I may even start dating human boys again. (Although I’d sure hate to make the imaginary boyfriend jealous; he does get ever so envious of the humans.)

Don’t force it
After my trip to Xi’an with my friend this summer, I thought maybe my little travel slump was done with. I had enjoyed my time in Xi’an, saw lots of things, and, for the first time in a long time, I was excited to be on the road again.

And I almost didn’t even miss my couch.

With only a few more weeks left to my summer vacation, I booked a trip to Hangzhou. The day before the trip, I felt the same pre-trip butterflies I used to feel. When I arrived in Hangzhou, I spent my first afternoon walking through the sun-filled parks with a ridiculous grin on my face. On my second night in town, after gorging myself on fried dumplings and cake, I sat in a local park and thought about how happy I was to be traveling again.

“It’s back,” I thought to myself, “The travel feeling is back!”

But it didn’t last long.

By the next day, I was ready go home.

So I did.

I could have made myself stay longer. I might have even enjoyed myself. After all, there were fried dumplings to be had!

But I didn’t want to risk it.

You see, you just can’t make someone love you.

Heck, you can’t even make someone kind of like you.

(And don’t even try to make someone call you back by leaving twenty-six messages in their voicemail asking them why they haven’t called you. Trust me on this one, okay?)

But you also can’t make yourself love someone or something that you don’t – even if you used to.

I don’t know if it’s truly over between travel and me.

I hope not.

I hope all we need is a little break right now.

I hope that one day soon I’ll get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about travel again.

And I hope when that day comes, travel will have me back.

Because it’s not you, travel.

It’s me.

(And this time, I totally mean it.)

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I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On October 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm Theodora said:

    I think you just dumped travel for China.
    Theodora recently posted..Learning Mandarin: Week 1

  2. On October 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm Sarah said:

    “You’ve lost that travel feeling. Woah-ohhhh that travel feeling. You’ve lost that travel feeling and now it’s gone gone gone woah-oh-oh-oh….oh-oh-oh.”

    That’s totally what you were going for with that blog title, right??

    I’m no relationship expert, but don’t “people” (whoever those people are…I have no idea) say that distance makes the heart grow fonder?
    Maybe a serious break IS in order.

    No calling.
    No texting. (This means no drunk texting, too)
    No asking mutual friends how travel is doing.

    And once enough time has passed, you’ll get travel back.
    And it will be waaaay better than it ever was before.
    Sarah recently posted..The Time I got all Templed Out in Thailand (But then again, I was probably just really hungry)

    • On October 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm Sally said:

      I’ve actually been singing that song all day (I even Googled the lyrics to make sure I was singing it correctly).
      I think you make some good points. We just need a break. And then when we get back together it will be just like old times. (But, seriously, no drunk texting? REALLY? Come on, just a few drunk texts?)

  3. On October 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm Monica @ Total Travel Bug said:

    I think this is totally normal. Your travel feeling will come back.

    I lost it for a while in Borneo: http://www.totaltravelbug.com/2011/04/tired-with-travel-is-this-normal.html
    I just wanted to laze around and be uncultural for a while.

    Btw, I now have ‘You’ve lost that travel feeling and now it’s gone gone gone woah-oh-oh-oh….oh-oh-oh’ stuck in my head!
    Monica @ Total Travel Bug recently posted..Total Travel Bug is Moving!

    • On October 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm Sally said:

      Mwahahaha. My evil plan has worked! (I’ve had the same song stuck in my head all day and I’m just trying to share the misery… err, love. 🙂 )

  4. On October 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm Shannon said:

    who said expats had to travel? Or even travel every holiday off time?

    You aren’t the only blogger I’ve seen confess their not traveling sins 😛

    Maybe you need a little company to stay with you a couple days (another expat or another traveler) just to hang out, etc.
    Shannon recently posted..This site wants to be seen! You can too!

    • On October 3, 2011 at 3:27 am Sally said:

      Well, no one says I HAVE to travel, but I do have this niggling little internal voice that’s telling me that I’ll regret not seeing more of China when I have to leave. (But I usually manager to shut her up with bad reality TV.)
      Oh, and I’ve been trying to lure visitors to Wuxi. How I have tried! I did have one friend come last semester and it was great. But I haven’t had much luck since then. It seems the promise of seeing the third largest lake in China (and ME!) is not as big of an attraction as you’d think. 🙂

  5. On October 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm Mira said:

    I blame couches!!

    Since I’ve moved to China and become stationary (flat, couch, also: wardrobe…with wooden hangers and everything!!) I can’t get myself to organise any sort of trip! Nor can I even be bothered to explore Ningbo a little more! (I do, however, enjoy going to the supermarkets and shops to see what other junk I can buy now that I have more than a backpack to fill – yey!!)

    I do miss it a little bit but what worries me the most is that I might one day look back on my time in China and regret not having used my weekends and holidays more just because I was too frickin lazy to organise myself!

    But then again… there’s a really comfy couch smack in the middle of my living room…
    Mira recently posted..How Not To Have A Nervous Breakdown Whilst Swimming in China.

    • On October 3, 2011 at 3:24 am Sally said:

      Mira,
      Where is Ningbo? Is it far from Wuxi? Because I feel like we have a lot in common and we should really hang out…. you know, if we both weren’t too lazy to get off our couches. 🙂

      • On October 3, 2011 at 8:43 am Mira said:

        I was just going to Get Directions from Ningbo to Wuxi on Google Maps but something must have triggered the Great Firewall of China because it won’t let me. I could get the Lonely Planet but that would involve getting up from aforementioned couch. Ningbo is in Zhejiang on the coast, east of Hangzhou…. and you’re near Suzhou, right? Does Wuxi boast any other attractions apart from you and your magnificent couch?
        Mira recently posted..Why I Love China #4

        • On October 3, 2011 at 10:04 am Sally said:

          Wuxi is home to CHINA’S THIRD LARGEST LAKE! I can’t believe you haven’t heard of this fine attraction. Honestly. Everyone in China is talking about it. We’re about 15 min from Suzhou on the fast train or about an hour away from Shanghai. So if you’re ever in the neighborhood, let me know! I may even let you visit my couch. 🙂

          • On October 5, 2011 at 3:53 am Mira said:

            uhm… so i’m going to Suzhou this afternoon. coincidentally some mates are going for a a bit of gardening-revelling and a lot of drinking (i hope) so i’m going to hop on a train in the very near future. I have no idea what our … uhm… THEIR plan is but maybe you would like to join us? i know you just wrote a big post on NOT travelling but suzhou is basically in the neighbourhood!

          • On October 5, 2011 at 4:03 am Sally said:

            Hmmm…. maybe what I need to shake me out of my travel slump is the promise of booze and garden-reveling? (Well, mostly booze). How long are you in Suzhou? Can you email me? (unbravegirl at gmail.com).

  6. On October 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm Nora said:

    This happened to me years ago during an extended stay in a little hut on a gorgeous beach in Thailand. Something I tried that worked:
    * Reboot. Buy a roundtrip ticket to ‘home- home’, stay a month, and try to include a visit or stay with family, as this will make it even more likely you’ll get back on that plane raring to go. Contrast is everything, and the return ticket assuages ‘I’m quitting’ travel guilt.

    Loved the post!
    Nora recently posted..Travel Photo: Finding Your Travel Magic #7

    • On October 3, 2011 at 3:22 am Sally said:

      Good suggestions, Nora. Unfortunately, with work I can’t go home-home until my contract is up. Until then I’ll be settled into my couch-home. 🙂

  7. On October 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm Alouise said:

    I don’t get to travel a lot, and I’ve never travelled long-term, so I don’t much experience with the falling out of love with travel. Right now for me travel is that cute guy you have a crush on and want to talk to but can’t get up the nerve to, without the aid of alcohol and/or some persistent friends. I do read a lot of travel blogs (those who can’t travel, read about it, right?) and I’ve discovered this meh phrase with travel is pretty common. I can actually totally relate to wanting to stay at home and just be lazy. As much as I love to travel, I can also be a home body. Sometimes all you want to do is veg out on your couch, and watch reruns of crappy reality television. But I also know how easy it is to be complacent, and fall into a routine that you never intended. Maybe you need to take a break for a few weeks or months, and then take a trip somewhere that you’ve wanted to go to. Life is pretty cyclic, you’re out of love with travel today, but I’m sure you’ll fall back in love (or at least fall back in like) with travel again.
    Alouise recently posted..The Restricted Travel Blues

  8. On October 3, 2011 at 12:23 am Gerard ~ GQ trippin said:

    I love being able to go out in PJ’s! So much that an informercial for pajama jeans almost sold me. =P
    Gerard ~ GQ trippin recently posted..traveling couples’ {digital} dinner party

    • On October 3, 2011 at 3:19 am Sally said:

      I saw that commercial when I was at home and I was totally ready to buy them. They’re PAJAMAS THAT LOOK LIKE JEANS! I mean, how much better can fashion possibly get?

  9. On October 3, 2011 at 1:21 am SAM said:

    The positive of any breakup is enjoying the alone time and as you already mentioned, enjoying some fave things that sometimes get sacrificed to relationship (travel) priorities. People tend to forget when you’re living as an expat you’re already experiencing a lot of different things just in day to day life. Soak it in! When we were recently on a 3 month stay overseas, we did a number if trips but I tried my best to also savor just living like a local in a whole new culture. It’s not always easy though…both internal and external pressure make us think we need to see as much as possible. “If I had a quarter” for every ? about where else we were going, what all we planned to see and suggestions on where else to go…

    So
    SAM recently posted..A Surreal Adventure Nearby

    • On October 3, 2011 at 3:18 am Sally said:

      Oh yeah, the QUESTIONS. That’s when I truly feel like travel & I are broken up. When I started telling people that I had a week off for the National Day holidays this week everyone asked me “So where are you going?” And I’m like, “Umm, well, you see… travel and I aren’t doing so well these days. We’re just kind of staying together for the blog.” 🙂

  10. On October 3, 2011 at 1:29 am SAM said:

    Not easy commenting via iPhone sometimes:-). Anyway, thanks for a great post! Helps to hear someone else struggle with loving travel but sometimes wanting to stay put (yeah couches!!!). All the travel planning and adventures can be tiring-everyone has to find their right mix, right timing, etc.
    SAM recently posted..A Surreal Adventure Nearby

  11. On October 3, 2011 at 1:50 am MaryAnne said:

    Heretic! Heretiiiiiiiiiiiic! And here I thought you were a travel blogger! Like me! Oh, wait, it’s 10am and I’m still in my pjs in bed and I have no plans to do anything today except go out for lunch and maybe bake a cake…just as I did yesterday.

    And you know how our whole Datong holiday plans fell apart for this week? Can’t say I’m really upset about it. We both kind of just shrugged our shoulders and went back home, disappointed only because we’d wasted our Saturday out at the airport rather than at home drinking coffee and being lazy.

    But still, heretic! Apostate! Heretiiiiiic! Apostaaaaaaaaaaate!
    MaryAnne recently posted..How Not to Travel in China During the October National Holiday

  12. On October 3, 2011 at 5:43 am Steve said:

    To combat the “I want to stay at home” phase I gave away my couch. Only later did I realize that I’m not a full time traveler, and now I have no where to sit. It was really a short sighted move on my part.
    I hope you and travel can work things out. There really should be some kind of support group for you nomadic types.
    Steve recently posted..Five Places We Probably Shouldn’t Have Taken Our Kids

    • On October 3, 2011 at 5:56 am Sally said:

      You GAVE AWAY YOUR COUCH??? Gah! How could you?
      Yes, we really should have a support system. It could be like Weight Watchers — we’d get points for each time we left our couch. You’d be earning mad points right now seeing as you don’t even own a couch. 🙂

  13. On October 3, 2011 at 5:57 am Ceri said:

    Okay, first of all: “Mostly because it means I can eat a chocolate bar and a tube of Pringles for breakfast” –

    Uhhhhh, since when is this not normal?

    Second of all, no-one’s going to hate you for this. I always loved reading about the fact that you have your own “slow” brand of travelling and get into the expat lifestyle rather than drift through places – Not only do you get to really explore the culture around you but you have the freedom to tell us all about your couch and the local foods/potato chips, etc. 😉

    Plus, selfishly, I think I enjoy hearing about this time of ‘slow’ travelling because it’s exactly the kind of thing I’m about to do. I’m about to work as a teacher for a year or two in Mexico before moving on and doing the same elsewhere … And that’ll be how I explore the countries around the world. 🙂

    If you’re feeling the lack of company, I couldn’t urge you more to come over to Mexico when you’re done with China. Come teach English with me and live out there and I’ll keep you company. 🙂 (In a non-psycho killer kind of way)
    Ceri recently posted..Rediscovering Friends

    • On October 3, 2011 at 6:12 am Sally said:

      Ceri, I would love, love, LOVE to go to Mexico next. It is definitely on my must-go-and-sit-on-a-couch-there destinations! And, of course, it would be awesome to have company. (In a a non-psycho killer kind of way, of course. 🙂 )

  14. On October 3, 2011 at 6:20 am Alex said:

    So, I really want to comment on all this musing-travel-breakup stuff, but first I have to get this out of the way:

    You took WEEKEND TRIPS to the US from Japan?! TWO of them?!?!

    Details please.
    Alex recently posted..Getting Witty in Istanbul

    • On October 3, 2011 at 6:28 am Sally said:

      Wow, I’m surprised you’re the first person to comment on that. Apparently everyone else thinks that kind of behavior is normal… or they think I’m just wacko enough to do random stuff like that so they just don’t question it.
      The first time I went was to attend a good friend’s wedding in New Orleans. (I do not recommend following up 24 hours of travel with 12 hurricanes and dancing on the bar. Especially if you want to be able to be even somewhat lucid during the wedding the next day.) The second time I went was for a boy. (Also not recommended: travel 12 hours to meet up with a guy that you only kind of know but think you kind of like… and then spend the weekend a crying, jet-lagged mess. That really didn’t work out so well for me. Or him.)
      Let’s just say it’s a good thing I don’t live close enough to an international airport AND I don’t have enough income these days to make those kind of trips anymore.

  15. On October 3, 2011 at 9:27 am Christy said:

    Thank you for helping to forgive myself for also not really digging traveling anymore, for almost identical reasons. I am back in China! Teaching at a Uni is Nanjing….which I think is seriously close to Wuxi. Would love to meet up with you sometime!

    • On October 3, 2011 at 10:01 am Sally said:

      You’re back? Yay! Nanjing is SUPER close to me — only about an hour away by fast train. I keep on meaning to go visit there (but, uh, you know it’s been hard… getting off this couch stuff). When I do eventually get off my couch, we should meet up!

  16. On October 3, 2011 at 9:47 am Adam @ SitDownDisco said:

    Before you got to the point about needing someone to travel with, I was about to say exactly that. I’ve been fed up with travel a few times and it’s new people to travel with that spice things up for me. And not just random people. I mean people you have a deep connection with. Maybe it’s time to get married? Bwhahahah
    Adam @ SitDownDisco recently posted..Learning Indonesian Progress Report – Culture

    • On October 3, 2011 at 10:00 am Sally said:

      Ooo, I don’t know if I could travel with anyone I was married to. I used to travel a lot with a close group of friends in Japan. It was great because we’d spend the weekend together (during which they’d have to put up with me being grumpy in the morning and I’d have to put up with them being chirpy in the morning) and then after the weekend was over we’d all go our separate ways before we killed each other. I need travel partners like that again!

  17. On October 3, 2011 at 10:42 am Jaime said:

    I’ve only been on the road 7 months and I have felt this way a few time already. I agree with you TRAVELING SOLO IS EXHAUSTING. I too hate getting lost alone, having to deal with everything alone, having to plan everything alone and getting lost alone. I think getting lost is what pisses me off the most especially when I have my backpack on. That is when I curse and ask myself why am I doing this when I know at home I could be in my comfy bed doing nothing. I too love doing nothing it’s just who I am I did nothing at home on my free time & now I do nothing on my free time while I am traveling. Some times I feel guilty but others I don’t. I think you need a long good break from travel. Maybe after your time is up in China you can go home for a few months and trust me then you will wanna be back on the road in no time. Maybe this time you can go to Brazil and fall in love with a Brazilian man all over again… I mean travel all over again. For me all I needed was something amazing to happen and I fell back in love with it. I will be writing about it soon on my blog. As for now enjoy doing nothing & ignore travel. Oh & please tweet me this song everyone is tlaking about that I have never heard. Thanks!
    Jaime recently posted..Music Monday – Live Your Life

    • On October 3, 2011 at 1:59 pm Sally said:

      I think it’s definitely easier to feel guilty about not doing stuff while you’re living abroad than it is if you’re just at home. At home, I don’t really have to justify sitting on my couch all day. But, living in China, I feel like I should be out doing “cultural stuff.” But I still don’t feel guilty enough to get off my couch. 🙂

  18. On October 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm Rhonda said:

    I’m sure you’ll change your mind when you go back to the states and deal with some serious reverse culture shock. I understand the whole getting tired of traveling by yourself thing (and trying to look mysterious and cultured in a corner of the restaurant instead of pathetic and alone) but like any relationship worth fighting for, solo travel will have its ups and downs.:) Good luck with finding that “loving feeling” again.

    • On October 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm Sally said:

      I still like living abroad, and don’t have any plans to go back to the States permanently so no need to worry about reverse culture shock… at least not yet! In fact, at the rate I’m going I’m a little worried I may never leave China. I’ve enjoyed settling in here & having my own place again, just the thought of packing up and leaving gives me the heebie jeebies (plus I’d have to leave my couch — gah!).

  19. On October 4, 2011 at 3:25 am Ruth said:

    Totally get you on this one! I’ve been in HCMC for six months now and…haven’t even left the city once in all that time. So kudos that at least you’ve still been trying and now you know what’s not working. So maybe a threesome is the way forward, when you’re ready, because travel needs more attention than some people can give.

    Also, China is enormous. I’m not sure if even fast travellers could really see it all in their breaks from work, so don’t guilt yourself! Maybe aim to get to know a region or two by taking the odd trip, with friends, when you feel like it. And when someone asks why you don’t know about all of China, make them feel bad for asking a stupid question because China is huge, of course you don’t know/haven’t been to the whole country.
    Ruth recently posted..A little confession – I’m still suffering travel burnout

    • On October 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm Sally said:

      Ruth,
      Sounds like you’re feeling the same thing as me. I still like living abroad & I’m actually really happy where I am right now — I just have no desire to pick up and go… well… anywhere. I do have plans to hit a few places around the area, but it would be lovely to have friends to do it with (mostly so they can push me off my couch!). Best of luck with your own travel burnout!

  20. On October 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm Heather said:

    *jumps up and down waving arms*

    If and when that travel feeling comes back — or if you’re keen to partner up with someone before it returns — I’d love to chat about it. No, we’ve never met. And no, I don’t have the finances just now to take off again. But we’ve talked about me hopping on a plane to come see you several times (wishful thinking but still!).

    I’ve always preferred solo travel (with of course meeting people along the way) but for some reason I have some future trips in mind that I can’t imagine doing alone. I guess I want to share the experience with someone AND avoid some of the things you mentioned — getting lost alone, facing touts alone, getting ripped off alone.

    So does this mean after the contract finishes up you’re coming home for a bit? Or all TBD?
    Heather recently posted..What’s Next: Writing Projects

    • On October 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm Sally said:

      Wahoo! That would be AWESOME. My contract is up in January & hopefully I’ll be feeling willing to travel again — pencil that into your schedule, okay? 🙂

  21. On October 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm Heather said:

    I’ve committed to being in my current PT job for the academic year but have no set plans once May rolls around!
    Heather recently posted..What’s Next: Writing Projects

    • On October 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm Sally said:

      Well, if I stay another semester here (which I’m tempted to do… there is my COUCH to consider), that means I’d have to be in China until June. Maybe we could meet up then. Any desire to go see the Great Wall? I really want to go but I think I’m going to need someone with a cattle prod to force me up those steps! 🙂

      • On October 5, 2011 at 1:46 am Valerie Hamer said:

        I can be a jaded travel cynic, but believe me when I say the Great Wall takes your breath away.

        Why not get in touch with Beijing Sideways and take their trip out there? You get to travel in a sidecar – they have a driver for the attached motorbike! You get to see a part of it few people do. (I wrote a brief piece on the company, but you can easily find them via Google.)

        • On October 5, 2011 at 3:06 am Sally said:

          I have always wanted to see the Great Wall, so I know I’ll get their eventually… but I think it’s going to take a lot more resting up on my couch before I get enough enthusiasm to battle the crowds!
          Thanks for the tip on the tour company. Sounds amazing (and totally scary!). I’ll have to check them out.

  22. On October 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm Heather said:

    Quite possibly :-)! Let’s keep in touch via email!!
    Heather recently posted..What’s Next: Writing Projects

  23. On October 5, 2011 at 2:24 am Steph said:

    You are right- solo travel can be really exhausting sometimes. Add to that China- the most exhausting place ever, and it’s amazing you ever make it out your front door!

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much though- just enjoy being an expat and eating amazing chinese food and travel will come back on it’s own eventually/
    Steph recently posted..How to Boost Your Travel Karma

    • On October 5, 2011 at 3:05 am Sally said:

      It’s funny because before moving to China I had heard lots of horror stories about how hard China is from other travelers, but when I first got here I was like, “What’s the big deal? It’s easy!” But living here is so much different from traveling here. I’ve found living here to be relatively easy (especially since I live on a college campus & didn’t have to worry about finding a place to live or commuting and what-not). But traveling is not nearly such a breeze. Plus, I think China is really geared for traveling in groups — especially when it comes to eating out where most of the meals are served family-style. Now all I have to do is convince friends to come visit me & travel with me and then maybe I’ll get off my couch… because I certainly don’t feel like doing it on my own!

  24. On October 5, 2011 at 2:47 am Ken C. said:

    Wow…a serious subject, as “travel” [and all it entails] is a measure of our passion for adventure, and our basic curiosity about the world around us.

    Perhaps you’re temporarily satiated [like Thanksgiving Dinner after the pumpkin pie]? Some rest & relaxation, with a change of scenery or activity might be helpful.

    You are spot-on regarding the workload of solo traveling; it’s a full-time job, and fundamentally changes the nature of the journey you’re on. I tend to obsess about small details, so I make a poor solo traveler. I also avoid large tour groups [too much waiting & too many compromises]. For me, the the manageable logistics of 2 to 5 compatible people is the group-size sweet spot.

    Your unique situation & constraints [wanting to see more of China, but only able to travel during Chinese holidays, & the language barrier] may just be a “bridge too far.” So, no need to fret…this will pass. Fortunately, you can still write.

    • On October 5, 2011 at 3:00 am Sally said:

      You just HAD to bring up Thanksgiving Dinner and pumpkin pie, didn’t you? I think one of the reasons why I’ve been so happy & content where I am right now is because of the weather — autumn has been super lovely in Wuxi (we even have blue skies! blue! really!). But, man, all this gorgeous fall weather does make me miss pumpkin pie. I may be forced to conjure something up in my toaster oven. This could get interesting.

  25. On October 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm choi kum fook said:

    Miss Sally, almost everything appears both, positive and negative. Do your travel solo and with company alternately, you will probably feel better! Or you just relax for certain period and activate again, keeping your body mentally and physically balance! I hope you can try it.

  26. On October 7, 2011 at 4:20 am Cindy said:

    Loving your blog so far, as well as the awesome websites you post on facebook. Looking forward to reading more, in the mean time, have you considered/done South Korea? Might be a popular destination, but is amazing!

  27. On October 7, 2011 at 4:43 am Cindy said:

    sorry, internet slow…

  28. On October 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm Lynne Diligent said:

    I love your posts, but I think this feeling has come about because you are moving into a new stage of your life.

    If you aren’t enjoying traveling right now, it doesn’t mean you have to force yourself, even to have something to write in this blog. I think your blog readers would find whatever you choose to write about interesting, and it doesn’t have to always be about traveling. What I enjoy about your blog is expressing your feelings which are often the same as ours, but you do it so much better! It also helps us to see that you go through what we go through, too.

    I think we all go through stages in life. I used to do a lot of traveling and don’t do much any more, and can relate to your post about having lost interest. We all need something new from time-to-time and perhaps you need something new, too, but just haven’t yet found what it is. Relax, take-it-easy, and when the time is right, it will come to you.

    Best regards,
    Lynne Diligent
    interculturalmeanderings.wordpress.com
    Lynne Diligent recently posted..Why These People Will Never Be Hired By an American Company

    • On October 10, 2011 at 5:52 am Sally said:

      Thanks for your comment, Lynne. I think sometimes I do feel a little pressure to keep traveling or moving to keep myself “blog-worthy.” Which is funny seeing as I don’t write that much about traveling on my blog. Really I should probably just spend more time with my couch as that’s what I end up writing about anyways! 🙂

  29. On October 9, 2011 at 12:51 am Lessa said:

    I think we all hit an age where we just feel less active and nothing seems as appealing as relaxing

    • On October 10, 2011 at 5:50 am Sally said:

      I think for me it’s more like a phase and not an “age” (mostly because the word “age” makes me feel old. 🙂 ) Oddly, after writing this (and spending my vacation week on my couch), I started to get kind of antsy and think about traveling again soon. Maybe I just needed to write everything I was feeling down to get it out of my system?

  30. On October 11, 2011 at 2:13 am Megan said:

    Dude, I get it. Since I’ve been back in the US, I’ve visited San Francisco, DC, Boston, and England (OKAY, that’s not in the US), and you know what I’ve seen? Yeah, nothing. And I feel about zero guilt about it. It gets exhausting. Even with people, it gets exhausting. Give me a couch and some potato chips any damn day.

    • On October 11, 2011 at 4:48 am Sally said:

      You know what you should feel guilty about? NOT UPDATING YOUR BLOG. Ha, ha… just kidding… (kind of). No, but, really, we do miss you on the Interwebz. Plus, I feel like you must be trying out many amazing American potato chip flavors that you’re not telling us about. You have a calling, my friend. Don’t ignore it.
      Okay, I’ll stop making you feel guilty… for now. Go back to enjoying your potato chips. 🙂

  31. On October 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad said:

    I can understand how you feel. For the last month of my travel, I’ve traveled slowly, just because I’ve been lazy, but I kept going. Saying to myself I need to see more places. But finally I reached a limit, taking now at least a few weeks off from traveling in Thailand (of all places), so I got myself an apartment with a couch (I can totally understand where you are coming with the couch thing) and a big TV. Next year I’ll focus on the expat living again 🙂
    Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad recently posted..Bowling in Luang Prabang

  32. On October 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm Jen said:

    There is no shame in wanting a break from travelling. Sometimes you can see TOO many amazing sights too close together, so much so that nothing seems amazing anymore… the amazing things seem to be chilling with a hot water bottle and a cup of tea! Give yourself a bit of time off and you’ll find the bug creeps back up on you, if you force it you will resent it!
    xx
    Jen recently posted..The Train Market Incident

  33. On October 16, 2011 at 10:30 am Sasha said:

    I never thought I’d loose the love of travelling and not want to travel and then I kept travelling by myself and the novelty wore off. Even now as I type I’m sitting in Bangkok where I should be having the time of my life (despite the monsoonal downpour) and yet all I want to do is be back in Shanghai on my couch watching Vampire Diaries. These days I find I’ve actually started yearning to travel with people whereas before I was completely ok with doing it alone. Maybe I just spend so much time travelling with myself and realised I was my own boring travel buddy! I figure why go travelling if I’m just going to hang out with myself, I can do that all from the comfort of my couch without the cost besides the chocolate cake I would be eating!
    Sasha recently posted..And just like that the travel blogging spark fizzled out…

  34. On October 21, 2011 at 2:15 am Kyle said:

    You know, reading your post, it sounds like China is a fun but challenging place to live. So your day to day life is already more exciting. I think for me, a lot of times what I want from travel is a challenge. But, for example, when I first moved to Chile, life here was a challenge, and I definitely didn’t travel as much. So I feel you.

    And you’re right. Don’t force it. If you feel like traveling for a day, travel for a day! And if you don’t want to go at all, don’t. The travel industry has created quite the pressure to go to more places, see more, do more, but you don’t have to live up to that.
    Kyle recently posted..Good Reads

  35. On October 22, 2011 at 2:40 am NLM said:

    Yeah—just relax and let yourself be where you are. It all works out; trust me. Hang in there,
    Nancy
    NLM recently posted..So Much Time, So Little to Do

  36. On October 28, 2011 at 3:21 am Kelsey said:

    I really love this post, and I support you wholeheartedly.

    I too am a travel blogger whose enjoyment of travel has….shifted. I used to enjoy doing the solo globetrotting thing, but after traveling with Marc this summer and on our long weekends, I’ve realized that I enjoy traveling with people more than traveling solo. Is there still a time and place for solo travel in my life? Sure. But, it isn’t the dominant paradigm.

    Like you, I’ve chosen to cultivate other interests. I am much more involved in the reenacting community than I used to be, and I’m starting to get into swing dancing and other hobbies. In fact, my blog was pretty neglected until recently because I was too busy with my non-work life to have time to write about it! It’s a good situation to be in.

    I think a lot of travel bloggers tend to look down their noses at “traitors” like us, but I like to think that we have more perspective than those folks.

  37. On November 10, 2011 at 3:20 am Cameron said:

    Nice post. I think that I have a little bit of a different take on it than everyone else. Yeah maybe you need a break and maybe some time at home will make you want to travel again. I don’t know.

    My thoughts? Living in the states and not traveling is just fitting in with the culture. Excepting the lack of time off and money issues, I think Americans don’t travel a lot, at least not internationally, because they don’t need to. Whatever it is that you want to do you can do in the States. Want to go to the beach? How about Florida? Or southern California? Or Hawaii? Want to go skiing? Colorado. Want some culture? New York. Does that make sense?

    As for Japan, it’s the opposite. Japan is a society obsessed with travel. Travel is a main topic of conversation with your students, friends, colleagues, neighbors. Every time you turn on the T.V. or open a newspaper there are ads for both domestic and overseas travel. Sit on the train and you are bombarded with images of tourist destinations. Japan is a country that everyone wants to get out of (or at least go somewhere else within it) for a while. Going to Japan and then promptly leaving is just ‘doing as the Romans do’.

    As for last-minute, turn-around trips to the U.S. from Japan? Been there. Done that. Way more than once. In fact, I’m probably going to do exactly that for Thanksgiving at the end of the month.

    • On November 10, 2011 at 10:03 am Sally said:

      I guess I should clarify — I don’t really consider traveling and living in a foreign country to be the same thing. While I don’t really feel the travel bug so much anymore, that doesn’t mean I’m giving up living abroad. If anything, I’ve enjoyed settling into my life in China so much that the whole idea of packing up and moving back to the States is just exhausting to me!
      As for Americans not traveling, I know it’s true that we’re not a travely bunch. I’ve seen all the statistics. Heck, I didn’t leave the country until I was 18 (and even then I wouldn’t have left without my roommate pressuring me into doing so — travel just wasn’t anything anyone I knew did). But, the funny thing is that I’ve never had a problem finding other Americans overseas. In fact, over the past five years I’ve lived, worked & volunteered abroad (and 2 years before that) and most of my fellow colleagues, volunteers and expats have all been Americans. So, yeah, I agree, we’re not a travely bunch. We don’t backpack through Europe or bum across Asia all that often. Instead we go abroad, get jobs, find a couch and settle in. Which I honestly think is the best way to travel (even if it’s not very travely).
      Have a good Thanksgiving at home! Enjoy some pumpkin pie for me. 🙂

  38. On December 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm Nina Mills said:

    Going to Japan and then promptly leaving is just ‘doing as the Romans do’. Come teach English with me and live out there and I’ll keep you company. If you’re feeling the lack of company, I couldn’t urge you more to come over to Mexico when you’re done with China.

  39. On October 5, 2015 at 10:28 am Pristine said:

    Omg I live in China right now and I feel exactly as you do/did in this blog!! I’m so glad to see I’m not the only one. I’m currently trying to find of places nearby to travel to, but I REALLY don’t want to. I only want to due to the fact that I’m on this side of the world and want to take the opportunity to see what’s around. At this point, I’m just saying to myself, “I’ll just go in the future” when my boyfriend or family can come with

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