If you take a look at my Instagram, it’s easy to think I spend all my time lazing on beautiful beaches, swimming in stunning waterfalls and eating amazing foods. And I do spend a good portion of my time doing that, hell I’m a lucky girl! But there’s no denying that there is a stressful side to travelling that many don’t realise and when you’re going it solo the pressure is even greater to organise and cope with every last detail without having anyone else to pick up the slack. Now I must admit, I thrive on organising everything myself, but even I have had my moments when I wished someone would deal with all the paperwork, booking flights and buses, making sure I’m where I need to be in plenty of time. It gets exhausting, particularly when you are travelling in places like Asia where you are constantly moving between places. During my five months in Asia I had plenty of stressful situations to deal with, from getting hopelessly lost to being robbed, even bus crashes. It wasn’t all bad, and I dealt with every single one of these situations on my own – I’m very proud of that because it is an achievement in itself. But over the last year I’ve found several ways of coping when things get too much and I need to clear my head.
Break it down
When everything is getting kind of crazy and you’re feeling swamped with organising travel from one side of the country to another – stop, take a break and break it down. Make a to-do list with everything from packing and booking flights/buses, to visas and snacks. That way you can tick things off your list one-by-one until it’s all done without worrying you’ll forget something in the hubbub.
Pick the perfect soundtrack
Set a few hours aside one day to organise a few playlists on your phone or iPod – trust me you’ll be grateful later on. Download all our favourite tunes whether they’re fresh out or old classics, now organise playlists for different occasions. Make sure you have a chilled out one for calming you down when you get frustrated, a zen one for sending you to sleep and drowning out transport noises as you sleep, a loud dance one for when you’re exhausted but you have to stay awake to catch an interconnecting flight, and a nice reggae one for the ferry rides as the sun is setting – you are on holiday after all. Trust me it makes a huge difference to your mood and mindset when travelling.
Slow it down
Whichever country you might be in, if you don’t speak the language and are surrounded by people who are speaking Thai, Cambodian or even Spanish, at breakneck speeds, it can be intimidating and frustrating. Don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down and explain again if you don’t understand, it can make all the difference to your journey if you misunderstand a “shortcut”.
Sleep whenever and wherever
I’ve had to take all kinds of crazy journeys since travelling – the worst was a 50 hour bus ride with a crash in the middle. My best advice to you, train your body to sleep whenever you want it to. It’s easy to use deep breathing techniques and meditation to calm yourself and lull yourself into a sleep. Whether it’s a deep one or a light one, it will make a difference to you when you’re travelling for such a long time. Not only does sleeping through the journey make you more alert when you arrive, it also makes the journey seem to go faster.
Give yourself a day off
Travelling between places every few days or weeks is exhausting and sometimes the moving around and repacking gets a bit too much. When it does, you shouldn’t feel bad for taking a day off from travelling. Have a day where you stay in bed and watch Netflix, or go for a massage, or go and eat pizza instead of the local food. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need to recharge your batteries for the next round.
Another alternative when you’re feeling like organising is too much effort, why not team up with other travellers? There are more solo travellers than groups or couples, and so many of them must understand exactly how you’re feeling. Why not pair off, or form a small group for a stretch of the journey? I did this several times and it was great because we all took it in turns to organise something and contribute to the group in different ways. The extra support can really help to give you the drive to organise for yourself again the you break free.
Feeling like you need a break from it all? If you ask me, the best way is to find a little piece of heaven to separate yourself from the stresses of life. I travelled to Italy years ago and have been longing to go back ever since, so how dreamy would it be to stay in one of these luxury villas owned by Scent of Sicily? There are a huge range of properties on offer, many feature their own private pool and are just metres from the beach. For those who thrive on the arts and culture of a new country, there are a collection of historical villas that offer a taste of times gone by and the secrets that lurk in the past. While for those who fancy bathing the style and architectural elegant of Sicily, head the west of the country to experience the enchanting Baroque buildings of Marsala. And for those who prefer wild landscapes, secluded accommodation in a more traditional style, look no further than the Pantelleria collection. If you’re in need of some travelling zen, why not check out these stunning villas for the perfect, relaxing getaway.
How do you find your travelling zen when you’re on the move? What helps you chill out when travelling gets a bit much?