About two weeks ago, I broke out in a crazed laughter as I checked my morning email. Not that it’s uncommon or anything these days given the crazy amounts of mass link exchange requests and requests from people who want to offer me content free of charge that reach my inbox.
No, this email asked me something along the lines of:
Brooke, can you tell me how you are able to travel so long without working?
To which I replied in my mind’s sassy voice:
Honey, I’m always working!
Remote working is probably the biggest reason why I don’t see everything when I travel.
As a blogger on the road, juggling the two roles can be tiring and time consuming — and that’s just when dealing with one blog.
Instead, I’m working on Brooke vs. the World and Her Packing List; writing posts for OneTravel, GoBackpacking, and Viator; sending off the occasional FTU newsletter; updating social networks including Pinterest, FB, and Twitter; responding to emails (they never end!); and trying hard to think of new projects.
The actual amount of work might not seem like much, but damn. These articles don’t write themselves. Sometimes, it’s just the act of writing and posting that require the time — and after sightseeing, flying, training, walking, etc., you just can’t focus quite like is needed.
And then there’s the case of the Internet just not working.
Money, however, is needed. In order to travel as much as I do (like for 3.5 months now), I have to keep on working… at least a little bit.
Even then, it is imperative to choose how much time you can afford to spend on what — travel versus work.
I have the belief that travel should be fun more often than not.
No, it’s never all fun (unless you’re hanging around that resort kicking back free drinks all day). Travel days often suck the life out of you, sightseeing makes your feet tired, extreme weather (or in my case, mildly extreme weather) can be uncomfortable, and so on. Besides all the jive that must be done for work, especially on this trip, Pat and I have the motto that if we’re not enjoying ourselves, then it’s time to move on to something else.
Why waste time on activities we don’t like? We can easily do that in normal life in Sydney!
Instead, we change gears. If sightseeing is getting old, we break off to a cafe, park, or pub and do some good ol’ people watching.
I don’t believe in being a “tick off the list” traveler.
Some people love it. They go from dawn to dusk looking at this and that. I can’t.
For one, the unfortunate truth of attraction lists is that many of the “attractions” are nothing more than landmarks — not really something that would be of interest to any normal person. Like the time we went to Bolgar from Kazan. We walked for an hour in search of the mosque, one of the 2 listed attractions, and it was seriously not worth it… if what we found was even the mosque.
To balance out the work, fun, travel motto — we have to pick and choose activities we actually want to spend our precious time on. Not just lists. Not just because something is there. A statue is generally not important to me (there are hundreds of statues across former Soviet countries) unless it is incredibly special to look at, has a crazy story behind it, or was created by some famous artist.
Doing too much in too little time leads to information overload.
And that, too, makes you (well, me) more likely to not appreciate what is being heard, read, or looked at. This is also known as travel burnout.
Like in Moscow when Pat and I did 2 separate walking tours (after already taking a whirlwind city bus tour), which took us over 4 hours — 4 hours straight of good, hard information and historical anecdotes. Our guide was constantly throwing out comments like, “Remember when I mentioned earlier about… ?”
Going on for the other walking tours in the same day would have just been too much info to fully digest and appreciate.
Packing it in, or moving too fast, has a way of making me sick, literally.
This Silk Roadistan tour has been extremely frustrating for me. I thought I was a mildly healthy individual, but the past 3.5 months have led me to think otherwise.
I am currently taking my second round of antibiotics in 3 months, this time for a nose infection (that I blame ultimately on using a Chinese nasal spray. It felt like Tiger Balm in the nose and worked like magic, but I then suffered from a bleeding nose for a couple weeks after!). I had a chest infection, got a mild case of food poisoning, and then got another cold at the end of the Trans-Mongolian train trip. I. am. awesome.
I’ve always naturally gravitated to exploring a single location for longer periods of time, and I have a feeling it is because of my body’s natural need for stability.
And that is why I…
…pick and choose, stay put for longer, and sometimes miss out. But at the same time, I am able to see and experience some amazing things on the road, and not go broke in the process. It’s a trade-off, but not really a bad one if you ask me.
What’s your travel style?