I’ve developed a strange habit as of late.
Sometime in the middle of the night, at least once a week, I sit upright in bed in a complete panic. It takes a minute for me to adjust my eyes, study my surroundings, and answer the question that woke me with such a start:
“Where the F$%# am I?”
Call it an unknown hazard of the profession. Given that I often change beds every few nights, I suppose it is natural that I may forget where I am from time to time. In mid-night desperation, I weave through my rolodex of recent destinations until I land on the one that seems most appropriate, at which point I am usually able to will myself back to sleep. (Pete goes entirely unaffected, however, and barely stirs as I am momentarily terror-stricken beside him.)
I recently thought I had rid myself of this habit, as it only occurred to me twice during our extended stay in Turkey. My mind apparently adjusted to the fact that I had settled somewhat, and the panic was shed. But now it is back in full force as we have been moving a bit faster through eastern Canada, and have no plans for consistent rest in the next few months.
But that’s okay, I have accepted this affliction. One anxious moment of fear every few days is an easy price to pay for this nomadic lifestyle we live and love. And in a few months I can hope to alleviate it again.
It has taken us awhile (FOUR YEARS), but we’ve finally figured out a travel cycle that works to reduce the terror, mitigates travel fatigue, yet allows us to feed our insatiable travel bug at regular intervals.
~2 months on, ~2 months off.
With regards to house-sitting, that is. Even though it is definitely our favourite way to travel as it allows us to really get to know the foreign area we are living in, it can be limiting. We can’t always come and go as we please, and there is the added burden of pet care, etc. – it is like living in our own home, and carries all the same responsibilities.
We still do love it as house-sitting also provides a welcome period of rest for us. It allows us to catch up on work for this blog and other things, let’s us relax and feel “at home”. And yes, it stops the panicking for a short while.
So now that we’ve just had our “2 months on” in Turkey, we’re working through our itinerary for our “2 months off” (although it is looking more like 3 at this point, we are very excited to be on-the-move again)! We’ve just spent a week in Toronto, and are exploring a few spots in Québec before we move on out of Canada again. (Where to next? You’ll just have to read Wednesday’s post to find out.)
It’s not a hard and fast rule, we’ll sprinkle in some short house-sits here and there, or else build some extra exploration to time of sitting still, but we finally, FINALLY, seem to have found a travel cycle that works for us.
I have exactly the same issues as you guys and will undoubtedly limit my travel to give “”rest periods” but like you we have been to Greece for months, Italy on a housesit then Wales to gather ourselves and onto India followed by Nepal…I think we know the feeling…and there is soooo much writing to be caught up with. Have a good relax 🙂
It can be overwhelming to travel so fast – downtime is needed! We’re off the “relax” time now, so have two fast months to go! 🙂
We haven’t stayed anywhere longer than 11 days in the last five months and I’m definitely forgetting where I am when I wake up more & more!
We used to say “3 months fast, 1 month rest” but next year we’re planning on slowing down wayyyy more. We’ve been at it 4 years, too, but it takes a while to get the hang of this digital nomad thing! 🙂
And we all have our own level of tolerance! And even though we are on a period of “fast” right now, we’re throwing in 9 or 10 day stays in places as well, just to calm ourselves down! 🙂
I have never travelled long term but I can understand the issue. Even on shorter trips I always build rest days into my itinerary.
it is a real dilemma as you want to make the mist of your travel time, but making yourself exhausted is not sustainable either…
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That’s the problem! During rest times, even though dog tired, we still feel guilty for not making the most of every minute!
I’m not nomadic but sometimes go in stints of a lot of back-to-back travel. I’ll shoot straight up in bed not knowing where I am. I recently had it happen when I arrived home after two long and exhausting months on the road. I woke up my first morning at home by shooting straight up and gasping for breath as I tried to place where I was in the dark room. Heart racing, I realized I was actually home and sighed a huge sigh of relief.
I can only imagine how it must be for you.
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Yup, try doing that much more often. 🙂 But, like I said, small price to pay!
I’ve had that before only I shot up awake, wondered why I felt like I was swinging in a hammock and then remember I was on a dive boat! Talk about a head trip haha
I’m glad you’ve decided on a ‘pattern’ for your travels; I think that’s a pretty good mix up! Hopefully it will help with your panic 🙂
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Haha! I haven’t slept on a boat in awhile, but I can imagine that would be an easy place to induce panic given the movement!
I’ve had that crazy, wake in the middle of the night, where the hell am I, nightmare, wakemare happen twice, thankfully only twice. I feel for you.
That said, I can hardly wait for Wednesday to see what’s next. 🙂
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Woot! I can’t wait either! This summer is going to be pretty spectacular. 🙂
Agree! That general schedule works well for Brian and I as well.
And you figured it out one year into it! I will be coming to you for advice from now on…
I don’t have the panic situations or confusion, but I have found the same that we need a break between sits to travel and explore.
Maybe it’s a female thing – Pete feels nothing of my panic-pain either (unless I happen to smack him in my flailing process). 🙂
I haven’t done four years of traveling, but I can definitely understand burning out while traveling. I did that on my year long RTW, at some point I just had to take a break! And if… ummm when I do my next long trip, I’ll definitely take a few month breaks every now and then.
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The idea of 2 months off, 2 months on is my ideal travel goal. I live in an awesome place, but the itch to be moving gets really strong after a few months. Something to work toward!
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Sounds like a very sustainable plan where you get the best of both worlds. I know a house sit coming up in Munich in August for a couple of weeks if you happen to be in Europe 🙂
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I can relate well to this post. Audrey and I found out the hard way that we couldn’t keep up the pace of our earlier backpacking days while trying to maintain a business. Near the end of our three month whirlwind tour of SE Asia we both became ill for several weeks. During our final few days in Hanoi we literally had no motivation to go out and explore. We knew at that exact moment it was time for a base and a new strategy when we do hit the road again; traveling slower and basing ourselves more often is our new plan of attack.
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You and Audrey are two of those people that Pete and I look at and go: GAWD, how do they do it? 🙂 It is a tough slug, and I’m glad you guys will be slowing it down. Travel becomes much more enjoyable when you’re not exhausted all the time!
Wow, I know exactly what you mean by forgetting where you are and being tired of travel! My boyfriend and I have been nonstop nomadic for the past several years, also did a house sit (for 5 months!!), but mostly we achieve our slow travel through the Workaway volunteer program, which I highly recommend! Have used it 4 times and made some lifelong friends and got to really truly understand the local community and culture. I’m actually writing about these kinds of experiences on my travel blog–now that I actually have TIME to write since we aren’t on the move–for now! It’s so important to find a base, and collect yourself and revive until you’re feeling restless all over again! It’s a cycle i guess, but i think it’s a cycle that will continue to morph over time…Have a lovely time in Poland, and I can recommend a tiny town called Miedzychod if you are near Poznan.
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