More of an issue, though, is that we abruptly hit ‘travel burnout’ at the beginning of July.
When Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Too Much
We arrived in the Adirondacks with the plan of staying four nights and doing a lot of exploring, as we usually do. And then we’d head over to Montreal for three nights to begin our exciting summer adventures in Canada.
We got set up in our peaceful, private, wooded campsite. And suddenly, all I wanted to do was sit in my chair and stare at the trees.
I looked at Eric and said, “What do you think about staying here for a week and bailing on Montreal?” He didn’t even have to answer. His look of relief said it all.
At that moment, I wanted to stay at that campsite the entire summer, or maybe for the rest of my life. (It was a nice campsite, but it wasn’t THAT nice.) But that’s simply because we needed a break from traveling: the continual movement, the planning, and living in the perpetual unknown of new experiences and locales.
Oddly enough, all of those things are the exact same things we usually enjoy about this lifestyle.
Despite traveling fulltime for six-and-a-half years, there’s still so much we want to see and do. When we’re close to places that interest us, we want to go there. When we’re in a locale and there’s a beautiful hike, bike trail, lake to kayak, cool town, interesting museum or intriguing restaurant, we want to experience it.
Short and Sweet Adirondack Hikes: Click on any photo for a larger image
But sometimes, too much of a good thing can really be too much.
A Different Year For Us
We’ve made a conscious effort over the years to slow down our travels. Three years ago, I wrote a post about slowing down. Rereading that post, I’m happy to see that we’ve learned from our experiences. We stay places longer, we travel fewer miles, and we allow for spaciousness in our days instead of staying on the go constantly.
But this summer we found ourselves faced with a new challenge. For the past six summers of our fulltime journey, we’ve headed back to the west coast for our volunteer position on Lopez Island, followed by a month or more in our hometown in southern Oregon. That has provided us with a place to land, to regroup, and to enjoy the ease of familiar places and long-time friends.
This year, staying on the east coast, we were looking at nine solid months of travel—mostly in brand new territory—staying nowhere for more than a week, and in many places, less. Adding to it all was the daily task of dealing with my parents’ situation. When I look back on it, I’m not surprised we were feeling burned out.
Signs Of Travel Burnout
There are three clear signs that we’re overextending ourselves: 1) One or both of us is unreasonably crabby. 2) There are mountains of travel brochures and maps that we haven’t had time to sort through and recycle. 3) Underwear is in short supply. We each have two weeks of underwear on board…if we run out and haven’t had time to do laundry, we’re doing too much.
Other signs of travel burnout: Feeling exhausted instead of excited by the task of planning our travels and making reservations. Having trouble motivating to get out of my pajamas, even in the most beautiful locale and on the most perfect day. Feeling annoyed by circling in yet another unknown grocery store, trying to find the damned red curry paste. And then discovering the store doesn’t carry red curry paste.
The grateful part of me always knows that this opportunity that we have to travel is an incredible gift.
The Answer For Us: Plan A ‘Normal Life’ Vacation
I have one more thing to add to my list for happily thriving in a lifestyle of fulltime travel. We need to plan ‘vacations’ in the midst of our travels. That means staying somewhere, once or twice a year, where we can relax and live a ‘normal’ life for a couple of weeks or a month. It’s remarkably soul-soothing to be in a place where the grocery store is familiar, and you can find the red curry paste. You may not care about this in the first year or two of traveling, but everyone I know who is in this lifestyle for the long haul eventually comes to the same conclusion.
Short and Sweet Adirondack Kayak Trips: Click on any photo for a larger image
Exploring A Smidgen Of The Adirondacks
So, we bailed on visiting Montreal, with the hope that we’ll make it back this way again in our travels. (Oh, how it pains me to think that we might NOT be back this way…but that’s the price of sanity.)
We kept our explorations of the Adirondacks simple and close to home. We hiked a couple of beautiful short trails, did a couple of short relaxing kayak trips, visited a nearby wildlife refuge, and explored nearby small towns. This is a lovely area, and it looks exactly like what I imagined the Adirondacks should look like, stuffed moose and all.
About the RV Park
We settled into the North Pole Resorts for a relaxing week-long stay. It’s not inexpensive, but at that point, we probably would have paid twice the amount for the opportunity to just chill out for a week. There are two sections at the resort: We opted for the ‘100 Acre Woods Area,’ a beautiful, forested, state park-like campground area, far from the miniature golf RV area. We loved it and would happily stay there again. After a relaxing week, we were excited about moving on to our summer adventures in Canada.
Even though we have a “home base” to go back to and chill when we need it, we find that we stop for longer periods at familiar places for exactly the reasons you talked about. I know where the “red curry paste” is here in Hilton Head, or Moab, or Tucson, or Santa Fe, or Boulder City or Borrego Springs or Denver. We travel and explore in between those lovely, familiar places and that seems to help us balance while traveling. Sitting in one spot, staring at the trees in your pajamas (with clean underwear on) is a good thing!
LOL!!! I like the simplicity of your style, Sue. And I also like the places you’ve chosen as ‘familiar’ places…you’ve chosen some of our favorites! But I must ask, have you found a decent grocery store in Borrego Springs? The last time we were there, we only found a rather sad little store. I do recall the farmers’ market as being wonderful!
I said I knew where to find the “red chili paste” in all our favorite places….When we’re in Borrego Springs, the necessary supplies are located quite a distance away….but I do know where they are!
If anyone knows where to find the “good stuff,” it’s YOU! :-)
Been there, done that – several times…. So we keep just nine days of underwear. :)
It is easy to get burned out on travel. It’s also Very important that we stay active and engaged while we age. So we keep on moving and having new experiences.
After nine years on the road, we’re almost ready to put down new roots and have been on the lookout for new living situations/environments. We’ll still travel, but from a fixed home base or bases.
R & K
Have you considered a one-month long excursion via bus and train in Europe somewhere? Something different . . . looking forward to your analysis of Quebec City! Wasn’t exactly what I was expecting . . . .
Terri, I’d love to return to Europe. I lived there for a year back in the 90s. A trip to Europe would definitely change things up for us! But I’d have to adjust to not having my big rolling suitcase (aka our trailer), LOL!
R & K: Hahaha!! Nine days of underwear! That’s a great idea! Laundry ALWAYS forces us to take some time off.
We’re very interested to see where you guys decide to put down some roots (even though we know it will only be a landing spot in-between adventures for you).
Travel burn-out is real for most of us and seems to really set in around that 5 year mark, in my opinion anyway. My husband all along has preferred returning to familiar places and staying for longer periods of time. Me? I’d be on the go more, but lately, I too have lost interest in packed filled days. Thank you for sharing your insights. It affirms that we’re not alone in feeling burned-out.
Ingrid, I find it really helpful to know that we’re not alone when we feel burned-out on traveling. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s invariably because we’re doing too much. As soon as we take some downtime, our enthusiasm for the journey returns. I agree with you that it’s much better to not pack too much into a day!
Less can be more! keep enjoying life.
You said it perfectly, John! So many times in life, less really is more. We’ll be in Florida in December and are wishing you guys could come and visit again. :-)
We have found volunteering a great way to settle in for a while. We are looking forward to Hill Country at LBJ State park. It only took a few months of stationary living in a house to know that wasn’t really a plan for us.
Good thing you listened to your bodies and rested up.
Thanks, Deb. We needed a break! As you said, we always find our summers of volunteering on Lopez Island to be a great way to settle in. So you’re going to be volunteering at LBJ State Park—that sounds fantastic! We absolutely love the Hill Country.
Boy, do we ever get it! Even though we’ve just completed our first year of life on the road, we’ve already decided that we prefer longer stays. Just spending May until September with a move every 1-7 day schedule was enough to let us know that the “cover a lot of ground in a short period of time” mode of travel would be the exception for us, not the rule. It’s hard to really get to know a place in a short period of time. It’s exhausting constantly planning, setting up and packing up. And it’s almost impossible to keep up with content creation when you’re always focused on moving. We had an AMAZING time everywhere we visited this past summer and are so glad that we got to see so much. But, we left almost every place thinking we wish we’d had time to (fill in the blank) AND we wish we’d had time to relax and absorb the experience. We’re currently in the midst of a stationary 2 month stay on the island where we met y’all and are considering extending it further. (The weather is awesome here right now.) What we’ve learned: Full Time RV Life doesn’t mean you have to move all of the time. It means you have the flexibility to move whenever you want to. :)
You are absolutely right, Stacie. About every single thing you said. I hope people read the comments here because it’s so helpful for anyone considering fulltime RVing, or folks who already are fulltiming and are feeling burned out—and are maybe even feeling bad about feeling burned out when they’re “living the dream”!
I’ve wondered how in the world you and Tom manage to produce all of the terrific content that you do. There is no way that I can keep up (obviously) and I create much less than you do. I wish we were going to be in Galveston while you’re there…enjoy that beautiful weather and the luxury of staying put in such a great place for two months!
“Travel burnout”…. what’s that? LOL…
Ahhh, you know I know exactly what you mean. I still find it amazing how much you guys do. Even when you’re taking a break from doing too much, you still do a lot. Our week this week, which has been highlighted by such stressful projects as: “getting dressed,” and “leaving the campsite” is the kind of week (nee, month!) you need. You should strive to be more lazy, Laurel. You can do it. I believe in you!!
In all honesty, you’re absolutely right about the “normal life” vacations. I can’t begin to tell you how much less stressed we are knowing we’ve got a nice break coming up. Just the very notion of going to the same grocery store more than once is positively dreamy.
I’m glad you took a break and listened to your inner voice when you needed to. It can be hard to do, but it makes a huge difference.
I live in a beautiful wooded area with lots of wonderful hiking, gardening, sweet friends and great things to do. And I look forward to those days that I sit around in my pajamas and just look out the windows at the trees.
Life can throw us a bunch of curves. Our parents, sisters, kids, our own health and all the joy,struggle and sadness that comes with that kind of love. I’m so grateful to have a day and sometimes a week to come home to myself. I think that’s universal! I’m glad you found your way there.
I love you guys. Thanks for bein you.
Oh Cyn, you live in paradise! And thanks for the reminder that we all need time to ‘come home’ to ourselves. That is a beautiful way to put it. Thinking of you in your pj’s looking out the window at your gorgeous gardens inspires me to do the same.
I hope that we get to see you guys somewhere soon. We love you and miss you both!
LOL…you always put things in perspective, Laura! I love your prescription for me. So you’re not gonna judge when we’re in Florida meeting up for happy hour and I’m still in my pj’s, right? Heck, I think we should totally plan a pajama happy hour! It would make life so easy!
Honestly, it is really hard for both Eric and me to take a break, but sometimes we just have to tell ourselves “NO” so that we can regroup. I’m so glad for you that you have such a fabulous break coming up in the spring!
If there is anyone reading this blog who has yet to launch into full-time RV living, pay attention!! You can try to “do it all” but no one can do it all well, and then where are we? Not only does perpetual motion exhaust us physically, it can quickly eat into a budget, causing more stress. When I find myself feeling a little bored a day or two of a stay, then I know we did it right for us.
I was going to echo what Laura said, that your slowing down still always looks busy to me! There is nothing wrong with staring at trees. Or going without underwear every now and then. But that’s a different post😄
Joodie, it seems that we’re generally either doing something we want to be doing or something that has to be done (like 8 loads of laundry, or a major grocery shop). Maybe that’s a sign that we need to slow down a bit more, right? I’m going to take up staring at trees on a regular basis. :-)
You guys have done it right in your travels from the beginning, staying places long enough that you’re ready to move on. We do love our travels, but this year has shown us that we really do need those times when we’re settled in one place for a month or two every so often.
I suspect the stress of dealing with your parents has added a lot to your need to stop and rest for a little while. We learned on our most recent 2-month trip that we really enjoyed our longer stays and there were several spots where we would have been happy to settle in for a month, rather than a week. the North Pole park looks lovely… adding it to my list! I’m eager to hear your thoughts on Quebec City. We lived in Ottawa when I was a baby, but I haven’t been back and would love to spend some time exploring that area.
You’re right, Les—my parents’ situation was especially difficult from April through September, when we finally got them moved into an assisted living facility. Those many months definitely took a toll on us. Our travels are very soul-nourishing, but it also helped us a lot to take some breaks and rest.
We absolutely loved Quebec City. It was like traveling to France, but without having to fly there, LOL.
Perfect way to describe it, Laurel! We’ve had it happen also. On Montreal: If I had to choose between that and Quebec City (we’ve been to both multiple times), I’d say you made the right choice.
It appears we’re in good company with the experience of travel burnout, Jim. :-) We figured that since we needed to choose, Quebec City sounded more intriguing. I’m glad to hear that you think we made a good choice. We loved it!
Even non full-timers can get that Travel Burnout thing. Geez, I can sometimes even get it at home if life is throwing me a lot of curves as seems to be happening more lately. So I sit and look at the trees out my window, or the fireplace, or cruise stupid facebook stuff. Or go to bed at 7 because it is dark and cold. Sometimes it is even harder to try to go slow when you are not full time, because there is still a schedule and a timetable to follow, things to do, places to see, rivers to kayak. Funniest of all, is that no matter if we are on the road 3 days, or 3 weeks, or 3 months, I will get travel burnout just before the end and then I just want to be home…in my home bed, with all the familiar stuff where I need it in the grocery store I am used to. I do hope life has simplified a bit for you and that things are even a little bit more manageable than they have been for a time. big hugs to both of you
Sue, that is such a good observation—you’re absolutely right, burnout can happen when we’re stationary as well. I suppose it’s just a sign that whatever we’re doing, we need to take a break. It’s just so odd to think that we need a vacation from what people generally assume is a perpetual vacation (traveling fulltime)! But it’s true.
Thank you so much for your good wishes. We will be in Florida in a couple of weeks to see my folks and to begin the long process of dealing with the mountain of stuff that awaits us there. Hugs to you three, too!
OH, you forgot to mention the blog burn out! Everyone has that feeling, but each time we arrived in Arizona, we feel at home and in a relax mode. You know traveling in the east coast is really exhausting! I was glad we did it on our second year of RVing and the constant planning and doing something was still a novelty.
We are winding down for sure and can’t wait to find our piece of heaven in Arizona.
Oh yeah…blog burnout! MonaLiza, you know I’m obviously ridiculously far behind in our blog, but anytime I feel like giving up, I reflect on how happy I am that I have a journal of our adventures. As long as I don’t put pressure on myself to keep up, I’m fine. It definitely inspires me when I know that other people are reading and when they are kind enough to comment. And by the way, you are doing a stellar job at keeping up your blog!
You know, we were a bit apprehensive about traveling on the east coast because we expected it to be much more difficult than traveling in the west. But surprisingly, it hasn’t been. I’m going to talk about that in a future post, haha!
Such a beautiful area – and I agree what you shared looks like I would expect it too :-)) One of the many great things of this life is the ability and freedom to make the changes in our plans that feed the needs of our souls at the time. Sometimes I look at my planned calendar and know just by looking that half way through that route I’ll be yelling “uncle!”. Time to lengthen our stay time and shorten our miles. As much as we’re looking forward to getting back on the road, I admit we’re both thoroughly enjoying our stationary time here in Tombstone!
Jodee, you know exactly what I mean—everything in the Adirondacks looked just like I imagined, from the architecture to the decor to the landscape. It’s so beautiful!
It’s a really good skill for fulltimers to know when to shorten the miles and lengthen a stay. I’m so glad you guys are enjoying being stationary for a bit. I hope you’re having time to relax along with getting all those projects done! Enjoy celebrating the holidays in your new home. :-)
Now you can understand why after eight years on the road we (I) was thinking we needed find a new home town. For eight years we never stayed anywhere longer than a month (except once for two months in the same FL park and once for two months in PA). We were in constant travel motion. Now we never moved too quickly and always had just living days with nothing on the agenda, almost always staying places a week or two. But I was constantly planning where to stay and what to see. John was constantly planning where to go and how to get there. We had lots of time to really see our country and much of Canada and then we found ourselves with everything major checked off our list. Staying in one place (Lopez Island) for many months can help keep you on the road longer. You are doing a wonderful job exploring the areas you are seeing. You must be exhausted after you whirlwind DC tour. We toured DC over 25 years, the proper pace…haha! But you did hit the big highlights and Eric’s photos were spectacular!! Enjoy the rest of your travels to Florida!!
Pam, I completely understand why you wanted to have a home base. It seems like you have a perfect balance now. We’re not ready to return to a home base yet, but after this last year, we know that we need to be stationary somewhere for a month a couple of times throughout the year. The situation with my parents definitely made things much more challenging for us this year. Nonetheless, we had a fabulous spring/summer/fall of adventures!
We still have times when we do too much…like our recent four days in Washington DC where we didn’t stop AT ALL. It would have been good to visit over 25 years—that’s a more reasonable pace, LOL. But now we’re kicking back in Williamsburg, moving at a very relaxed pace.
Really enjoyed your comments on burnout….isn’t our body’s way of telling us to enjoy the moment, savor the view around us. Life has a funny way of reminding us to chill and when we do we discover what is really important. Your ‘book club’ adventure. I certainly would love it when my time comes…..can’t wait for the next post….
Julie, you’re right—burnout is definitely a way of our bodies (and our minds and spirits) letting us know that we need to chill out. I suppose it’s all about balance. Not always easy to say “no” to the siren song of adventures, but sometimes it’s essential. I don’t know how you guys keep up your pace of so much travel, including international travel! I imagine sitting on your beautiful deck overlooking your gardens helps.
I’m late to the comments party, obviously, but I couldn’t agree more with your description of the challenges of constant motion and the symptoms of travel fatigue. (Not finding things in the grocery store is probably my #1 pet peeve.) We’ve found that travel days are our biggest drag, between the stress of driving the rig and the frequent hassle of arriving to a difficult site that makes it unusually hard to park and level. All that stress means that we don’t do much on travel days other than relocate and possibly hit the visitor center. We’ve cut down on these wasted days by staying put longer — staying 10 days means only 3 wasted travel days per month! We’d rather do a longer drive when we travel (did 350 miles today!) and then stay in one place much longer.
Your normal schedule of long visits to familiar places in the summer (Lopez Isl, Oregon) and in the winter (Apalachicola) is another great way to recharge and stay enthused about traveling to new places. I can definitely see the appeal of having a regular rotation of favorite places to visit, where you already know the lay of the land and know you enjoy spending time. I expect our travels will evolve into even longer visits to favorite places, but for now everywhere we go is brand new, so long stays are the only way we can cope.
Shannon, we’ve also found on travel days that there’s not much time (or energy) for more than taking down, traveling, and setting up again. It makes sense to drive farther so that you can stay places longer! I’d like to travel shorter distances and stay places longer, LOL.
I think it is ideal to have a rotation of favorite places to settle down for a month or two in this full time traveling lifestyle. But it doesn’t always work out—we couldn’t be on Lopez this summer and be in the Maritimes at the same time, obviously. And Apalachicola isn’t exactly going to be a rest for us this winter, as you can imagine. But we’re looking forward to a good long break somewhere soon.
Hola! I can relate to the need to slow down (you know that already). Great post! Always making me laugh (about the underwear) even with a sweet message at the core. Love you both! xoxo
Hola my dearest Amanda! I was glad we had that conversation about slowing down…I needed it, too! I’m so happy I make you laugh. You know humor helps keep me sane. I love you, we love you, and we miss you always!! And we hope you’re having a glorious break right now. oxoxo
Oh, this couldn’t hit me at a better, or worse, time. After 22 months of non-stop going, usually 3-7 nights, I am feeling exhausted. We have kayaks, bicycles, hiking boots and poles and use them all as much as possible. My husband needs less sleep and he’s energized by people. Me, no.
And most everywhere is new to us. Often, I’m heartbroken to leave, I haven’t seen enough. Sitting at the bar is the RV park version of a restaurant vs a motel, you meet so many nice people. And they always tell you about the most wonderful waterfall, or festival, or whatever, on your way out of town. And I haven’t researched where we’re headed.
In addition to the usual housekeeping, we have had 3 big repairs in the last 2 months.
I really love doing this, it’s a privilege. We had 3 months of beautiful spring this year and at least 3 weeks of prime fall color.
We went to Ontario, Quebec, and on east to the Maritimes this summer. I know we had some great hiking in Ontario (but I can’t remember the details). I agree missing Ontario is better than missing the rest. For one thing, the people we met, in general, were so absolutely lovely the further you got from Ontario.
After Christmas at my brother’s house, I want to go to Padre Island, or somewhere like that, for 2 months, I don’t want to move at all.
I do hope and pray your parents are doing as well as can be expected.
Oh, Nancy—I cannot imagine traveling for 22 months non-stop! And it sounds as though you two stay at least as busy as we do. As you said, on top of daily life, there’s always something else thrown into the mix, like those three big repairs you mentioned. I wish we had known you were also in the Maritimes this summer—it would have been fun to meet up.
I completely understand why you want to go to Padre Island (or somewhere even more remote, haha) and do nothing for two months. I hope you get to do that! Please let me know. :-) Thank you so much for the good wishes and prayers for my folks. They’re adjusting to their new living situation…not making it easy on us, but adjusting. We’ll be seeing them soon.
Ahhh sweetie….know that if you’re burnt out Eric is broasted and curling at the edges … so bravo on the stop and have a pj day or week for that matter .. nothing wrong with staring at trees either … big teachers these standing tall ones! ie…keeping some space between you, drinking constantly, standing in the rain and bowing to the wind, putting on new growth, shedding leaves…glory, glory to the sun etc.
Knowing you are weeks and miles past your blog I send my lovelightlaughter to you as you approach re-entry to your Florida “home” mired in memory and chockablock full of too much to deal with … might I suggest you keep to a strict schedule…I know coming from me the queen of unscheduled … schedule the walks in nature, the yoga, and most importantly the “happy” hours….all to be held AWAY from the house in question ..the question? (as in, nothing a few sticks of dynamite wouldn’t take care of!) Remember you taught me to put the fun stuff on the to do list so find that little bar where everyone knows your name even if it’s a crab shack or a special tree with a bench just so it’s AWAY.
I wish I could promise we’d see you there for a couple weeks and projects in January but it’s not in the plan or scheme stage yet…will keep you posted. I’m wanting to write more this year and thinking letters so send me a post office box so I can send you a letter… remember them? Love…light…laughter even when it hurts, Diana
Oh, Diana! You make me laugh and you make me feel SO loved!! Your advice comes at just the right time. It would be all too easy for me to lose myself in the enormity of the task that awaits us in Florida. I’ve already started having nightmares about it. :-(
Thank you for reminding me to schedule R&R in our days there, and to get away from the house. If there is any way for you guys to come spend some time with us (no projects! just fun!) you know there’s a place on the bay in Apalachicola waiting for you…
Sending much love to you two from the two of us! We miss you guys.
Have you thought about volunteering in Texas? We looked at the Pedernales Falls birdblinds. It looked like an interesting position for a month or two. There are probably other similar opportunities at other state parks.
Deb, we’ve seen several places in Texas that we thought would be fun for volunteering, including the Sauer-Beckmann Farm. :-) We’ll check into the Perdanales Falls bird blinds…that sounds perfect for us!
For the past few years, our ‘volunteer’ position during the winters has been helping my folks in Florida. But since their situation has changed, we may be able to do something different now. I’m glad you guys have found so many great positions that you’ve enjoyed this past year!
Laurel I can oh so relate to this post about travel burnout. Yes, it definitely happens to us as well, especially when we try to do too much. We definitely try to stay longer in fewer places rather than shorter in more places. The very process of getting from one place to another and dealing with yet more logistics is always tiring, and the more time on the road, the more tiring it gets.
We are just about to head home to Hoi An and we are both very excited to get back to being in one place after two months of travel to visit family in the U.S. ~ wonderful as it is, it’s tiring. Especially in the cold of winter and the fact that I was sick almost five weeks, the total time that we were there… sigh. One of the benefits of the R.V. nomadic lifestyle is you don’t need to pack a suitcase and you can still sleep in the same bed each night.
We can’t see and do it all. Sounds like a perfect decision to skip Montreal. When you do get there, make sure you get to the Botanic gardens and I think I remember a lovely butterfly park…
Great post, terrific photos.
Peta, I can only imagine how challenging it must be to coordinate your international travel and lifestyle. You both seem to be remarkably flexible and adaptable!
As you said, one of the benefits of fulltime RVing is that we have our little ‘home’ with us wherever we go. It definitely makes a nomadic lifestyle much easier to have the familiarity of our bed, good food, and all that we need for a comfortable life on the road.
I hope you had a wonderful homecoming to Hoi An, and I hope you’re feeling much better now.