Balm for travel burnout

By Chloe Palang

 

A COLLEAGUE exhausted from flight eagerly entered his hotel room but was met with something ironic.

By his bed lay a bookmark that quoted Samuel Johnson: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

Skimming in the basement of Any Amount of Books

He scoffed, a little embarrassed but chose to retire nonetheless.

In my industry, this was truth simply observed. Traveling to make a living ironically takes “living” away from traveling.

But there is hope for the faint hearted. Here are some of the things I do to avoid the travel burn out:

Modern Book Centre in Trivandrum, India
Francis Edwards Antiquarian Booksellers

1. Seek non-instagrammable moments.

An article I once read explained the necessity in “opening yourself to serendipity”: Change routine, meet new people, find strange places.

I find that the best experiences I’ve had during a layover, were the ones too sudden and random for a photo.

In a cafe in London, I spoke to two war veterans, who bantered rather comically about whether Petra was better than Machu Pichu. I certainly didn’t need to mark this endearing moment in my newsfeed.

Barnes and Noble, New York
My selected book bargains

2. What drives you

If there is one thing I can unknowingly spend hours on, it would be a bookshop. And I take this love with me to the places I visit. The smell, the look, the feel, the need and the satisfaction in a bookshop beats exhaustion any day. The book bargains in India, will forever impress me. From the mall to the streets, books are a common sight in India.

The Modern Bookshop in Trivandrum sells brand new books in a simple yet heavily stacked space. The chaos is a beautiful thing.

The quaint antiquarian bookshops in London were a pleasant surprise as well. Located just a few blocks away from touristy Leicester Square, in Charing Cross, are two of the most cozy and interesting vintage bookshops I have ever been to. Francis Edwards Antiquarian Booksellers and Any Amount of Books were located just a shop away from each other.

Hopping from one to the next and back again to compare selections was a fulfilling experience. I cannot afford their vintage collections but their “basement bargains” took “low” prices to a whole new “level” (see what I did there). The basement was sanctuary. Books priced from £16 (P1,090) were down to £3 (P204.39)! Here, I was alive. I was 20 hours awake with no thought of rest, because this to me, was true relaxation.

Posters in the Basement
Inside the basement of Francis Edwards Antiquarian Booksellers

3. Record your insight

CS Lewis once said, “What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience.” What we perceive with our senses is not the end of travel. Travel extends far beyond a mere photo in your 2019 album. There is a story and a lesson waiting to be immortalized.

Record them through a diary, a photo caption or a blog and you will be surprised at the stories you accumulate throughout the years. Allow a throwback to bring in fondness as well as wisdom.

Shakespeare and Co., Paris
Minding nothing and no one at Any Amount of Books
Leading to And 3-steps basement

Sometimes I ask myself, is there truly space for travel burn out? It seems quite privileged to tire of travel, and yet we do tire of travel — from one city to the next, one island to the next, one province to the next. So we battle the burn out and take in the moments slowly, rejecting complacency and familiarity with a passion, because this day is and will be unlike any other day in our lives.

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