When I landed in Korea, I decided to take my time with travelling and settle down for a week or so to get work done. To not travel. It was hard. It was like getting an instant rehab, sitting in dimly lit hostel rooms didn’t add to my mood, I turned grumpy and the workaholic in me took over. I had replaced one obsession with another. And before I knew it, I only left the house to stock up on food – pasta and instant noodles to be exact because everything else would require more work and would detain me from my obsession of staring at computer screens.
When You Take Time with Travelling for too Long
When I realised that a plane would take me away within four days, I repeated my travel mania. Ticking off boxes, running up and down hills, through military zones, visiting random villages near the North Korean border and eating all the non spicy Korean food I could get my hands on. I would never learn. Before I left New Zealand for Australia, I nearly had a physical break down on a mountain in Queenstown, I was dangerously exhausted and could barely move. Before I left Melbourne to travel the country, I was going on a quick Melbourne museum spree and before I left Sydney for Japan, I had to chase down computer stores on a Sunday to repair a virus damage on my computer.
So was it worth it all? I certainly have photos to show for. I have a story to tell. But if you look closer (and you can’t because I don’t take close up selfies), you would see how pale my face looked, how my hands were slightly shaking and how my shoulder muscles had turned into a hard knot. And still people kept telling me it’s a once in a life time thing and well worth it. I say, take the best of both worlds and slow down with the sightseeing and travelling, with the travel recommendation giving and taking.
Why You Should Fika Your Travels
Here’s an interesting concept for you that I love about Sweden. Have you ever heard of ‘fika’? It’s essentially a social coffee break that commonly takes place twice a day – around 10am and 2pm. It’s done whether you are at or off work. You grab your fresh cup of coffee, a piece of cake and just have a chat. It’s simple but effective. Still, it took me four months until I could finally embrace and appreciate it. It made all the difference, I was less tense, I got to know people better, I learnt Swedish and found out cool local hot spots (yes, I know, dangerous for my addiction).
That’s all there is to it. Do what YOU want to see, take frequent breaks – not only to restore your energy levels but also to process and appreciate where you are and what you have seen. Talk with people about it, look at your day’s photos, take a nap, have a massage… whatever makes you happy. After all, a holiday is meant to refocus and refresh your mind. It doesn’t have to be exotic and you don’t have to become a master at tripadvisor lists or facebook quizzes. Take the ‘1000 places to see before you die’ as a source for inspiration, not a travel bible (here’s an affiliate link
if you wanna buy it).
And if you still want some little extra help to reduce the stress and stay on track, I actually put together a printable travel planner (it’s free), which you can download when you click the image below (plus you get access to a library full of free travel downloads, such as packing lists, guides and more).