A year ago around this time I was more than halfway through seven months abroad l and was losing it: a little bit of sanity, a couple of suitcase wheels, and any illusions I ever had that months of travel was easy.
I was pretty broken on a plane at this point, but wanted to be honest about the experience so I wrote it down. For any of you considering serious international travel, here’s how I described it.
“Sorry, I Come with Baggage”
What is it that makes travel so exhausting?
I knew traveling for longer than I ever had before would be hard, but not this hard. Even having traveled tons before, nothing could have prepared me for this. Luckily today is day one of the yoga detox part of my trip, so here’s to hoping I can catch my breath before heading back to the states.
Every now and then I try to pinpoint what it is that’s breaking me down, until I realize it’s just all of it. It’s the lack of consistent sleep. Drastic climate changes. Inconsistent nutrition. Sleeping arrangements. Ability to communicate. And above all, the shit.
By which of course I mean the 2, now 3 bags I’m carting around everywhere I go. I’ve tried to throw out as much as possible, pawn it off on others, but I cannot for the life of me get the past six months of my life down to 20 kilos. Some airlines don’t care, some weigh everything you’ve got and rejoice in charging for each additional kilo. It drives me crazy and occasionally brings me to tears but that’s flying for you.
And even if flying goes smoothly, getting the luggage from point A to point B is always a feat. Sometimes we end up walking 30 minutes across cobblestone streets with two broken wheels, or for two hours up stairs on a mountainside trying to find the Airbnb. While a great workout, it’s not exactly ideal.
The weight of it all is both physically and emotionally exhausting. It was fine when I was in Australia and had a home, but now that I’ve been truly abroad for a month I feel it. That sense of not just being far from home and carrying your entire life, but not knowing where home truly is.
I have a room in someone else’s home in Napa I’ll stay in while I look for something else, but I lived there for less time than I lived in Australia. And the childhood home is great but not when my sister’s there too since we now share a twin bed because my room’s being used by a family friend.
The last true home I had was in Boston 10 months ago. So for those of you not great at math, that’s a lot of time spent living out of suitcases.
By no means am I complaining though! I’m out here living an absolute dream, and could not be more thankful for this opportunity. It’s just hitting me like a ton of bricks every so often so it’s worth mentioning in case you’re considering doing something like this in the future.
Be prepared to be pushed to your breaking point and then some. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, and venturing around the world is no exception.
Oh and for the love of God pack light.