Why I Decided Not to Travel This Year7 min read

by Darcie
young woman with flowers

Last year, I had the privilege of traveling on three separate occasions, twice abroad and once domestically.

The first trip began in Spain to fulfill an international requirement for my master’s program. My classmates, professors, and I enjoyed tapas and sangria in Barcelona then took the train to Madrid for two weeks of classes. I spent the middle weekend in Granada.

[Retiro Park, Madrid]

[Retiro Park, Madrid]

[Granada]

[Granada]

After classes ended, I flew to Portugal to meet up with a college friend and her husband who were spending six months traveling abroad.

[Cascais, Portugal]

[Lagos, Portugal]

The second trip was to Hawaii (the big island and Kauai) with my dad for our very first father-daughter trip.

[Waimea Canyon, Kauai]

[Na Pali Coast, Kauai]

The third and final trip was Paris and London with parents over the Christmas holiday.

[Paris]

[London]

Each of these trips was special to me for a different reason, which is probably another post entirely.

But in short, the first trip to Spain and Portugal was special because I was able to get to know several girls from my master’s program much better and am now very good friends with two of them.

The second trip to Hawaii was especially meaningful because it was the first father-daughter trip for my dad and me. This was the first time he’d ever went into depth about his childhood, career, musical inspirations, and the adventures we had together like snorkeling with manta rays and hiking around active volcanoes were very meaningful for the both of us.

The third trip to Paris and London was lovely because it was over the Christmas holiday, so the cities were decked out in Christmas decor. And I spent it with my parents, who are two of my favorite people on the planet.

So, you might be thinking, if these trips were so special, why are you taking a break from traveling right now? In order to answer that, let me back up.

As a child, my parents, sister, and I traveled a lot domestically.

We regularly travelled to Florida in the winter to visit my grandparents and took many road trips to national parks around the country. We also flew to California and Arizona to escape the frigid Wisconsin winters on several occasions. I remember enjoying these vacations like most children do.

But I think my love of travel really started to blossom when I spent six weeks in Europe after college. I backpacked through about fifteen countries with a friend. It was full of language barriers, countless miles logged by foot, confusion navigating public transportation, and some less than ideal sleeping arrangements at hostels. I could go on, but you probably get the idea.

By the time I came home, I was exhausted and in need of a vacation to recover. Nevertheless, I had caught the travel bug. The trip challenged me to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. I made tons of new friends along the way. I learned about cultures and traditions so different from my own and got to experience them firsthand.

In the decade that followed, I made travel a priority and, to date, have been to forty countries. This achievement is nothing short of a privilege.

I know how fortunate I am to have had the time and means to travel.

The trips I took last year were no exceptions. I connected with family and friends, ate amazing food, and savored the cultural immersion experience.

But then, during the trip to Paris and London, some days I just felt weary. Another museum. Another day of walking a million miles. Another day of confusion as I tried to navigate the subway system. Another day of struggling through the language barrier.

By the end of our seven days there, I was exhausted and ready to go home. As you might have guessed, this was very unlike me. And I didn’t understand why I felt that way.

But after some quiet self-reflection, chatting with my mom and Logan, and writing this article, I came up with four reasons why I decided to take a year off from traveling.

My house is truly my home.

Two years ago, I bought a Spanish-style bungalow in North Park, San Diego. Anyone who knows California real estate understands that this is a no small feat. I feel very fortunate to have been able to buy this home.

Previously, I’d owned a condo, but I didn’t connect with the property as much as I have with my current house, and I didn’t have the resources then to invest in the decor the way I would have liked. But this house is my sanctuary.

Though I love to be outside, I consider myself a homebody.

The fact that I have been able to create a space that embodies my personal style and visual aesthetic and is filled with cozy furniture and calming colors is a treasure.

I am in a good place professionally.

Logan once said to me that he struggles to go on vacation because he loses momentum in his business. I get that. I remember having moments in Hawaii when I wished to be back home so I could be working on my novel.

I love to write and sometimes feel like I’m not moving forward when I’m not writing. I know that I have to take time recharge, but when I’m not working to move my career forward in some way, I can feel restless and agitated.

There’s so much to do and see in my own backyard.

My family and I never went camping when I was a child. But Logan’s family did, which has led to talk about planning a camping trip together. We have discussed how we will bring Piper, hike, cook by the fire, and sleep under the stars. There is so much beauty within driving distance to where we live that we would be fools not to avail ourselves of the opportunities to go on adventures in our backyard.

I’ve seen the sights; now I want to live like a local.

Aside from traveling to Bali, where I lived for 3 months in 2015, I haven’t spent more than a few days to a week in any given destination. When time is limited, I’ve found that I don’t spend as much time wandering, sitting in cafes, and observing the locals as I would like.

I’m usually checking off must-see boxes, racing through museums, and snapping photos in front of monuments so I can look back on the experience in years to come.

I’m not saying I’ll never take a short trip (1-2 weeks) again…

In fact, I’m about as positive as one can be about future events that I will. But I would like to leave open the option for being able to return to places I’ve already been and stay a while.

I don’t know if and when the circumstances might arise where this would be possible, but I’m putting it out there.

So, seven months into my year off, how do I feel?

Recently, I told Logan that I was feeling a bit of ennui. Typically I can’t identify the cause when I feel this way. But this time, I decided that at least part of the reason I was feeling this way was because I didn’t have anything to look forward to.

Sure, I had upcoming plans with Logan and friends, but it struck me that maybe what was missing was that feeling of looking forward to a trip. And that makes sense, as there is scientific evidence that looking forward to events is good for our well-being.

Nevertheless, my mind wasn’t changed about traveling this year.

What I realized is that I need is to get out of my routine. That’s what travel does. It yanks me out of my norm and tosses me into a foreign environment. But I’m learning that I don’t have to fly off to an exotic locale in order to experience something new. I can do that right here, in my own city.

Last weekend, Logan and I made a point to go to the beach. We pay the sunshine tax in San Diego, so we should be getting our money’s worth. 😉

When I told him that I want us to do more local activities, we bought tickets to two upcoming concerts (Paramore and Foster the PeopleBreaking Benjamin).

I also put planning a camping trip on our to-do list.

It’s been a year of experimentation for sure, and I’m still learning. However,

uncertainty creates space for growth, if you accept the challenge.

Have you ever felt travel fatigue? If, so why do you think it happens? And how do you cope? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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