I’m currently between jobs and taking a few weeks to bounce around New Zealand. Today is an off-day. Which usually falls on the same day I need to do my laundry. Its been over a week, I’m at the bottom end of my underwear reserves.
In my first few weeks travelling I learned a really valuable lesson about taking a step back from everything. It was in Ghent, Belgium. After close to a dozen late nights mixed in with around 12 straight days of sightseeing, I was getting to be fairly tired and miserable. Not wanting to waste a day, I arrived in the city and forced myself to check out a local market before checking into the hostel and taking a power nap. When I woke up I made my plans for the next day- some sightseeing, checking out some local pubs, another day in paradise really. For some reason I wasn’t excited though.
I went down to the hostel bar, saw how empty the place was and decided to scrap all my plans. The next day I did absolutely nothing. I lounged about and hardly had to chat with a soul as the hostel was pretty deserted (off season). It felt amazing, and the day after I dove into my planned itinerary with newfound energy.
A recovery day may not be essential on a 2, or even 3 week trip. But I like to take a day in every ten or so to do diddly all. Long term travel can be draining. It’s important to take time to cook familiar food for yourself, get some laundry done, nap, watch movies, or read a book. You might be able to go-go-go for a few weeks straight, but if you take a day off every once in a while you appreciate the days on so much more.
Today is a gorgeous sunny day in New Zealand, I’m staying inside for most of it though. The swell was rolling in OK so I took a quick surf this morning in leu of a coffee, and now I’m bouncing around between the hostel couch, a cafe, and the library. I’m taking some time to just chill- dealing with e-mails, updating my budget, blogging, sketching, or just staring into the ocean. I went to bed early last night cause I was so stoked for my rest day.
If you’re travelling long term, or setting up a month long trip, don’t forget about your off-days. It’s a travellers recalibration- getting back to 0. You start out the next day with enthusiasm, energy, and all clean socks.