I was in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. A city, not unlike many others in Bolivia. But one that I still manage to hate to this day due a series of rather unfortunate events and a general melancholy that I just couldn't manage to shake.
It started with a stomach parasite that knocked me down the first day there and kept me trapped between the toilet, and what I soon to be discovered, very buggy bed. So I lay, trapped in my itchy, torturous bed, feeling my stomach tear itself up from the inside while my two traveling companions lay in equally horrible states in the beds next to me.
The room began to turn into a jail cell. Cold cement walls, no windows, none of us were in a state to get food, water, or medicines. So we lay there. I doped myself up on sleep meds and just hoped and prayed that eventually, one time, when I woke up I would be okay.
4 days later I managed to crawl out of bed, get some water and eat a few crackers. By day 5 we were finally well enough to get the f**k out of that hostel.
Unfortunately with this whole mess, I was left feeling tired, tired of traveling and the illness and the struggling. And I was seriously tired of the god forsaken city that was Santa Cruz. I had hit my slump.
So how do you shake the travelin' blues?
|Monkeys! The ultimate anti-depressant|
Though my first instincts just told me to book a plane ticket home, I didn't listen. I had been miserable at home, but I was far from miserable here, just slightly...put out. So, step one. Find out what is making you unhappy. No doubt you're traveling because it makes you love life, so if you find yourself suddenly miserable, ask yourself, why?
When you know what it is. Change it. Obviously the illness and the bed bugs were a huge part of my slump but I also began to realize I really, really did not like cities. And I had been spending a whole lot of time in them lately. So I got out, headed into a small organic farm in the jungle. And felt 10x better.
If you're sick of the people you're traveling with, fly solo for a while. If you're tired of traveling alone, hook up with a group. Don't like party hostels? Then move to a quieter one. You get the idea. You're completely in charge of your situation. If you don't like it, change it.
If all else fails, and traveling is just beginning to seem as much of a drag as your old 9-5. Then look at the world with new eyes again. Talk to new travelers, they still see everything with that sheer amazement that you may have lost, or go see something beautiful, incredible. Remind yourself why you travel in the first place.
In the end, you'll know if or when it's time to settle for a while. Just don't give up because things get a bit trickier, a bit harder. Nothing good ever comes easy.