Opinion

Travel Burnout

Within the last several months or so, I’ve felt a sort of inner conflict. The longer I spend in Asia, the more it begins to feel like home. Simultaneously, however, the more time that I spend in this crazy continent, the more frustrated I become with it.

They say that even the most experienced of travellers gets homesick from time to time.

That said, I’m not sure that I would describe what I am feeling as ‘homesick.’ It isn’t my home town or family that I long for. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly miss my loved ones, but this feeling that I have been harbouring isn’t the result of simply missing my home.

It’s the more simple things that I have come to miss.

I long for a duvet. A thick, white duvet and fluffy pillows that I can snuggle into. I dream of hot showers. Of that feeling of actually being clean when you finish your shower as opposed to just marginally less filthy than you were 5 minutes ago. I have found myself romanticising a room where the walls actually reach all the way up to the ceiling, and where I don’t see rats chewing on my wiring.

I want to walk down the street and not see mountains of litter on the pavements. I want to go to a restaurant where the servers actually seem pleased to see me. I want to go into a hair salon and not be laughed at because my hair isn’t like Asian hair.

I don’t think that I’m reaching for the stars with these desires.

Moving to Cambodia and creating a life here is the greatest decision I’ve ever made.

Learning to live a simple life with only a 12 kilo rucksack to my name has done me the world of good. Embracing a culture so different to my own, from the language, to the food, to the way I spend my days, is something that I will be eternally glad that I did, and don’t get me wrong, I certainly won’t be leaving Cambodia behind for good any time soon, but for right now, I need to get out of Asia.

I need to experience Western civilisation again, if only for a few weeks.

I want to be rid of all the ailments that plague me in Asia, from the constant UTIs, to the worms that embed themselves into my feet and make their way to my intestines, to the head lice that are never very far away.

I need to find myself intellectually again, and I know that that makes me sound like the most pretentious idiot ever, but it’s true.

When I’m in Asia, I lose sight of myself somehow. I get drawn into the small town mentality of my village, where we would all rather talk about each other* than about anything that even remotely challenges us, and where we are so caught up in our little bubble that is island life that we forget that there is actually a real world out there.

I want to drink a bottle of wine and put the world to rights rather than lose at yet another game of beer pong. I want to read the books that always seem so far away when I travel, and I want to actually be motivated enough to make real money from my business.

I need time to regroup and reconsider what’s really important to me.

Most of all, I need a morning without the roosters waking me up at 6am.

*Okay, so we probably talk more about our dogs than other people, but you get my drift.

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