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How to avoid going stir crazy in between trips

How to avoid going stir crazy in between trips

I was recently asked by a reader if I had any tips for staying motivated in-between trips.

As all of you fellow travel addicts would know, that timeframe in-between trips can seem painfully long. We would all love to travel way more than we do.

It might look as though travel bloggers have the glamorous job of travelling all the time and sipping cocktails by the pool when we’re not blogging about it, but this, my friends, is so far from the truth.

I, along with 95% of other travel bloggers, do not travel 24/7. I make travel a high priority, but the frequency of my trips is still defined by:

  • My husband’s annual leave (he currently gets 3 weeks per year, of which we utilise 99% on travel)
  • Long weekends and other weekend trips
  • An occasional hiatus (about once every 2 years or so) where we take a few months off to travel in between jobs

As you can see, we probably stretch our travels out to an average of around 6-8 weeks in a year. That leaves 10 months of time when we’re not travelling.

So, in those seemingly endless months in-between our trips, how do we stay motivated? And how do we avoid going stir crazy?

Here are 5 methods I use to keep my sanity in-between trips.

2013 Europe Trip Map

The trip map from our 2013/2014 backpacking trip through Europe

1. Coast off your last trip

Arriving back home after a trip can be super depressing. Oh, how I hate that realisation that it’s time to get back to reality.

One method I’ve used to combat post-travel blues is by using memoirs. I’ll create and print out a map (like the one above) or print some photos from my trip and then stick them on the wall, or I’ll bring back some minimalistic souvenirs to keep the memories going.

If you’re a blogger, you can also write about your trip, or try inspiring others to travel by sharing some of the things you learnt and some of the experiences you had. Reliving the good times you had on your trip can help lift your mood.

Travel inspiration

The desk space in my apartment, including travel maps and photo inspiration

2. Get inspired for your next trip

I spend a ridiculous amount of time daydreaming, planning, and organising my next trip. I’ve found that doing this creates a sense of excitement, which in my opinion is nearly as good as taking the trip itself.

The best way I’ve found to be inspired and excited for my next trip is to create visuals. I make trip maps (you can make one by downloading a blank map off the internet and drawing your trip on it), and I also print out images of my future destinations then stick them on my wall.

Winter in New York City

It’s winter in New York and I’m stuck here for a while

3. Keep yourself occupied

One way to make time go faster in-between trips is to distract yourself. You might just need to get your mind off the fact that you’re not travelling, so find something that will keep you occupied in the meantime.

I’m currently stuck in New York City for a few months in-between trips, so I’m using that time to grow my blog. Concentrating on these things keeps me busy and distracts me from thinking about travel.

Your distraction could be work, blogging, hobbies, even an exercise routine – anything that will allow your mind to concentrate on something else.

Mt Cook, New Zealand

Go somewhere. Anywhere.

4. Fit in some mini trips

Robert and I love doing this over long weekends, or really wherever we can spare a day or two. We organise little getaways out of the city to do something different than we normally would in our daily routine.

We try to keep these mini trips fairly cheap so that we can spend the majority of our travel budget on bigger trips, but it works like a charm. Our weekend trips to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington DC each satisfied our wanderlust for a few weeks!

Your mini trip could be a weekend trip to a nearby city, a day of hiking in a national park, or just wandering around an area that you haven’t explored before.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

My spontaneous trip to New Zealand in 2011

5. Travel now instead of later

Back when I was working in a super stressful job, there were times where I was absolutely miserable and I just felt like I needed to get away.

So one time, I did. I calculated how much money and annual leave I had saved up, and then I booked tickets for a 10-day trip to New Zealand just three weeks in advance. I told my boss that I was taking leave, and then I left.

It was easy, because the consequences of leaving (ie. pissing off my boss and spending all my savings) were less painful than sitting still in that job that was stressing me out.

Travelling now instead of later might not seem possible, but believe me – most of the time it is. Don’t worry about the consequences. If you feel like you need to travel, then just do it. What’s the worst that could happen?