Being away can be exhausting. Breaking out of your routine, sleeping in new beds and trying to cram in as much as you can.
When my partner and I travelled for two-and-a-bit years, there were definitely times when we were tired, homesick and fed up, but we quickly worked out a few techniques to make the trip more enjoyable.
With a ten-day break, there’s never enough time to see everything, but when you’ve got years on the road, you can afford to go more slowly.
We tried to spend a month in each country – generally the maximum on most tourist visas – and split the country up between three or four destinations. Sometimes that was far too long, but most times it felt just right.
If you want to have a day doing nothing, do it. You’ll feel better for it in the long run
Natalia Lusinski, also known as Nomadic Natalia, is a remote journalist who has been living abroad for more than three years.
She finds that getting involved with local culture, and not just flying through a place, helps her feel more settled.
“A digital nomad’s life often revolves around uncertainty — new cities or countries, new friends, new jobs — which is why throwing some certainty, and coping strategies, into the mix is important.”
“I join and try new types of Meetup groups — like a Sunday morning hiking one in Prague (even though I am not a morning person) and an early-morning Saturday coffee one in Stockholm. I get to know more locals and local activities — after all, there’s always a new adventure to discover and uncovering them makes things exciting again if I feel I’m in a travel rut.”
“Do activities that remind you why you are where you are and things unique to that place. When you do things like this that you love, it’ll quickly remind you why you are there and to make the most of it.”
Do different things
Being overseas certainly tests your relationship. For many failed couples, it was the first holiday – ten days or so with just each other’s company – that caused the split.
While travel never caused us to question our relationship, it did highlight that too much time together wasn’t always healthy. When you travel somewhere new, there’s an expectation that you’ll do everything together.
But after taking the same flights, going on the same tours, eating at the same places and going back to the same cramped room, you realise it’s nice to be able to ask someone how their day was without already knowing every exact detail.
So we started exploring places apart. I wanted to go snowshoeing in Banff while she wanted to stay in the warm. I wanted to see the 9/11 Memorial in New York but she wanted to relax and read a book.
Although it felt odd at times not to be doing something together, we quickly learnt that taking away the pressure to do something and letting a hostel friend step in was a positive.
Take mini breaks
From seeing different attractions, we soon developed into seeing different cities. By being apart for a few days, we got to miss each other which is something that had disappeared from our relationship now that we had constant contact.
While we were in Barcelona, my partner wanted to grab a cheap flight to London to see a friend and hit the shops. Being from the UK, I preferred to stay in Spain for a few extra days.
Another time, we both went to the same airport but boarded different flights. I went to Gdansk for a few days and enjoyed some aimless strolls in the early morning while she went to Budapest and stayed up late in the ruin bars. We met up in Warsaw full of stories and desperate to see each other.
Taking small holidays isn’t just for couples, it’s for solo travellers too. James Cave, a travel writer who’s been on the road for more than eight years, finds that small breaks help him too.
James writes the travel blog Portugalist, which means spending many months of the year travelling around Portugal and in his spare time he travels the rest of the world.
He said, “I began travelling as a digital nomad in 2012, but it was years before I took a holiday and only then because I was reaching a point of burnout. To my friends and family back home, and maybe even to myself, I was already on holidays. I was abroad, wasn’t I?”
“But being abroad doesn’t always mean being on holidays. That’s definitely true when you’re a digital nomad, maybe even more so: that luxury of being able to work from anywhere means you can end up working all the time.”
“Ironically, having spent years travelling the world in search of something that didn’t exist back home, I’ve come to see the beauty of that two-week beach holiday.”
“It doesn’t have to be a beach holiday, of course, but it should be something that’s similarly laid-back, and that leaves you refreshed and recharged in a way that long term travel often doesn’t.”
While travel is a great way to make new friends, sometimes you just want to have a natter with someone who’s known you for a while.
When you’re roaming round the world, your choice of destinations is endless. However, for people taking annual leave they have a much smaller window to travel in.
Speak to friends and family about their holiday plans and see if you can meet up along the way. We coordinated holidays in America, Europe and Asia with people we already knew.
If you’re homesick, go home
After spending a good chunk of time on the road, my partner missed home. There were people she hadn’t seen in a while, places she missed and customs she wanted to be part of again.
So while in Southeast Asia, we booked a holiday back home. We spent time with family, walked in our favourite parks and caught up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while.
We jetted off to Malaysia again and continued our journey together. My partner felt better for spending time at home with family which meant she could better enjoy being away again.
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