Quito, Ecuador – Getting over Travel Burnout

It’s been over 4 months now that I have been living out of a backpack/ roller.
I’ve been to 4 countries, 27 destinations with 5 flights, 16 long distance buses, and 2 cars.

Yes, I’m having the time of my life! and I’m ecstatic!

But the thing is, after 4 months, I was starting to lose that feeling.

The enthusiasm, the “I’m on top of the world!” euphoria feeling, the want communicate in Spanish with the locals, the want know about everyone’s story and ask questions about everything. I still had it to a certain degree, but i can feel myself losing it.
Things were starting to annoy me a bit more. I would notice the not so nice about the culture and people, becoming less patient with other traveler and not so helpful locals. I reflected back a lot back home and remember how easy I had it.

Have I taken in too much excitement for one trip?
Have the getting to new places and experiencing new things become repetitive?
Was I tired? or even worse, was I bored?

The past few weeks, I’ve had these feelings and have been slowly digesting and trying to make sense of what was going on.
I talked to a lot of traveler and even searched online and concluded that I have gotten the case of a “Travel Burn out”.

Yup, there really is such a thing. And yup, I know how luxurious that sounds to those that don’t get to travel this much.

Travel Bun out, Travel Slump, Travel Tiredness.
Believe it or not, it is a thing.

It happens after you’ve been on the road for a while, and packing, unpacking, getting to know a place, adjusting and leaving, meeting new people, connecting and saying good bye. Then doing the same routine in the next place. It does get exhausting.There’s a lot of work involved.
Researching where to go, how to get there, the routes, the cost, the maps. Figuring out where the local go-to spots are, the supermarket is, the laundry is and where the not to go spots are.Greetings at the hostels of who you are, where you’ve been and where you are going.

All these things were so exciting to me, but when you do it for 27 locations, it is undeniably exhausting.

For the past few weeks, I was still moving forward, but a part of me wanted to stay in my room, read a book or watch a movie by myself. I wanted to not go eat out but rather cook something simple and comforting. I wanted to connect with friends that I knew already and not go out of my way to introduce myself. I wanted to avoid new conversations in Spanish, but stick to the Spanish intros that I already had mastered through constant repetition. I was missing home more, and thinking about friends and family. Missing an environment that people know you already and not be a representative of your own country and culture.

I realised this this and I needed to get myself out.

And in Quito, I think I got it.

One of the bigger factors was finding a comfortable stay.
And Boutiquito Design Hostel in Quito was just what I needed.

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It was clean, homey yet luxurious not often found in hostel budgets. (dorm: $12)

The hostel provided a beautifully designed atmosphere, clean white sheets, big pillows, good pressure hot showers, clean and equiptment-full kitchen, even a movie room, enough lounge space so people can have their own space, an outdoor space and yes, super hi-speed wi-fi. In addition, it had a breathtaking view overlooking the mountains of Quito giving you space and tranquillity.

I was tired of the constant change and taking in too much new things, so I tried getting myself into a routine.
Kind of ironic that you travel to get your self out of your routine, but I needed a routine to feel secure and to connect myself to meaningful things and taking control where I can.

Routine building:

  • Running in the morning – getting up early and clearing my head. Seeing locals get up and exercise made me feel like I was part of the community. Also a good way to seek out new places and parks.

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  • Cooking – Being able to control what you eat, rather than ordering from a menu you don’t know what you will get was comforting. I missed some home food and that wasn’t easy to find treating myself to a nice healthy meal made me feel in control and doing good for my body.

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  • Living like a local – Getting to know the neighbourhood and going to the same supermarkets and bakeries everyday. I also limited my activities to 1 or 2 touristic things a day and enjoyed more things like going to the park to read a book or getting coffee at a local cafe. Spending quality time without being overly excited with the new.

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  • A spa – I treated myself to a hot spring in Cuenca and sweated out the stress away. It’s been a while since a dip in hot water and boy did it feel good.

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Feeling comfort:

  • Reconnecting with friends from home – Catching up and speaking Japanese with my friend from Japan on her way to Galapagos was great. Made me miss home more, but it was nice to joke around and not feel like a foreigner for once.

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  • Travel buddies – 2 girls from Holland I met in Peru, we ended up meeting up 4 times through my trip. It was comforting to do a “catch up” like friends back home and not start from “Hi. I’m Rieko and I’m from Japan”. I felt like they were friends I’d known for a long time and just simple girl talk or deep life talks really made a difference.

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  • Connecting back home – Preparing post cards and gifts for my loved ones made me think and connect with them, imagining how they would react when they get it made me feel good.
  • Feedback from friends – encouragements from friends on what a courageous and outrageous things I was doing reminded me of that yeah, this is awesome and i am awesome.

Feeling in control:

  • Catching up on my to-dos & research – There’s a million things to research but never enough time when you are traveling. You are always distracted by the excitement or people and can’t sit down to plan. Boutiquito gave me the space, the time and the fast wi-fi to plan my trip for the next two months and what a relief it is to actually have a plan!
  • Photo organisation and blogging – Blogging is so painfully slow with slow wi-fi so this was great to get things done swiftly re-organize, re-think and blog the trip!
  • Financials – A dark cloud constantly in the back of your head, how much your are spending and how much you have left to afford the things you want to do. Getting a grasp was shocking and concerning but needed to be done.

In addition, the sunny days in Quito brighten my mood and got me in a productive mode.

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I’m not sure if I am over my burnout yet, but I feel more relaxed and more in-control and feeling good and ready for the next journey ahead.

Now, off to the country side of Cotopaxi for a few days of nature!

2 thoughts on “Quito, Ecuador – Getting over Travel Burnout

  1. What a perfect summery of that moment every traveler will reach sooner or later! And the funny thing is…I did the same thing right next door to the Boutiquito Hostal. Guapulo is just perfect to recover from the travel burn out 😉
    Warm regards from Popayán!

    Like

    1. Hey Alex! Yay! You read my blog!
      Ya, traveling just gets exhausting sometimes. But after Quito and Galapagos, I think I’m pretty recovered and excited for the road ahead! You’re already in Popayan! Pretty quick! I’m in Cali now and headed to Medellin soon. Hope our paths will cross again! Safe travels and keep in touch!

      Like

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