I wanted to share some things I’ve learnt that will make me a better traveller. The last few months in Bali have been a very different type of travelling when compared to my previous destinations; Australia and New Zealand. A slower pace of life, more of a ‘holiday’ feel at times and the small matter of four walls as opposed to four wheels! Tomorrow I fly to Singapore for a few days and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the last couple of months before welcoming the next stage in our adventure. I’m not completely content with how I’ve managed my time here which, although frustrating, has taught me a fair amount too that I’m confident will make me a better traveller.
Accepting that long term travel is draining
I wrote very recently about the travel slump I seemed to have hit and the negative impact it was having on my mental health. I was apprehensive to share; it’s tough enough when you’re beating yourself up about not making the most of every last moment without having strangers on the internet berate you for it too. Thankfully, the response was overwhelmingly positive and for every person it resonated with, another reminded me to take it easy. Long term travel is draining. At home I work hard to ensure my schedule includes time off and I know my own mind and body and thus plan my week – business and social – accordingly. Travel life is no different and I’ll definitely be allowing myself proper Netflix in my Pants sessions from now onwards.
Stop saying “we’ve got loads of time!”
Yes, it’s true, you do. However as it turns out there’s only so many times you can ‘save’ a trip somewhere or a certain activity for a later date before you run out of time altogether. I’ve been really, really guilty of that in Bali and I’m quite pissed off at myself for it. There were places I wanted to visit that were a bit further a flung and thus essentially more effort to go to that I put off for ‘later’. As a result, I’m leaving having not actually seen and done everything I’d arrived hoping to and my only excuse is my own laziness and procrastination. It’s not the end of the world, I know I’ll definitely be back in the not-too-distant future but it’s definitely a mistake I hope to learn from.
Do a little often
Which brings me to my next point. I think part of the mistake I made in putting things off (things I genuinely wanted to do!) was assuming it had to be part of a big, tiring day out. “I’ll save that temple for next week and combine it with 3 other stops in the area!” Actually, when you’re travelling long term it’s far more realistic to do a little, often. I could have woken up and gone to one temple, then spent the rest of my day lounging in the sunshine. I’d have ticked everything off my list without compromising any time to just relax.
Routine is still important
Routine is currently non-existent in my life and it’s something I’m definitely going to work hard on. Yes, one of the joys of travelling is not having to set an alarm in the morning but I’ve slipped into some bad habits that I know are negatively impacting both my physical and mental health. I’m going to bed way too late, I’m waking up too late and then feeling frustrated at myself and exercise is virtually non-existent. My diet has been really poor too because all the local convenience shops in Bali stock little more than Pringles, biscuits and weird versions of English chocolate. Maltito, anyone? I’ve got nobody to blame but myself and it’s hardly the end of the world but it does mean I’m often feeling tired and unenergised.
I’ve still had a brilliant time in Bali. I’m leaving as an advanced certified scuba diver, I had one of my best friends come and visit for a week, I had the opportunity to experience ‘real Bali’ and learn from the locals. Rather than a negative post, this is simply one of reflection. I love the first of any month because I’m one of those annoying people obsessed with continual goal setting and self-awareness. The next stage of my travels are, once again, going to take a dramatically different turn as I join a tour group for a month. Hopefully I’ll be able to report back in a month as an even better traveller. With less eye bags.
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