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Wanderlust and the Problem with Staying in One Place for Too Long

I’ve been hoping that not too many of you will have noticed, but I’ve got a slight case of writer’s block. Since starting this blog I’ve only had it briefly once before, but that was down to too much travel (my coast-to-coast US trip) and exhaustion from having too much to write about and too many photos to choose from. I soon snapped out of it.

        This time it’s a bit more worrying. Recently I haven’t been travelling nearly as much as I’d like, and it’s affecting other parts of my life too. Does anyone else find this? Since starting a new job in September, my business travel has extended as far as Dublin, Glasgow and Manchester, and that is not what I consider travel! For me, travel involves a culture very different from my own and a change of scenery, which those three cities do not provide. Previously I travelled lots with work (all over Europe, even to South Africa and of course I moved to Madrid for 6 months) and I travelled plenty in my own spare time too. But for almost four entire months from mid October 2014 to early February this year I didn’t leave the country once! And it’s had a serious impact on my general life satisfaction and even my productivity. I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like and to be honest I’m bored of London. I’ve been back in London seven whole months now and I’m just not that enamoured by the city any more. Which is a sorry state of affairs I can tell you!

        So instead of jumping to conclusions I tried to work out what else this “blip” could be attributed to. The British winter weather? Quite possibly, as I haven’t had a British summer since 2013, but then again summer in Spain last year was not to be sniffed at. My half marathon training? On Sunday 22nd March I ran the Hampton Court Half Marathon (and I made it to the finish line!) meaning I had spent much of the previous two months training and clocking up the miles along the Thames Path to get my body in shape for a 13.1 mile run. Training took up quite a lot of my time, so that could be it, although don’t they say that exercise gives you more energy, not less? Could it be Dry January that’s given me writer’s block? I personally loved Dry January and felt 100 times better and healthier because of it, but maybe alcohol is the essential ingredient that gives London its spark? Could it be my lack of free time as I fill my evenings with too many networking events, talks and panel debates on interesting topics, my RYA Day Skipper evening classes, exhibitions and the arts? Could it be the stress of a new job? Could it be a ‘quarter-life crisis’ as everyone around me appears to be growing up far too fast and buying houses or getting engaged (please slow down everyone – we’re only 25!)? Could it even be the loss of my long-standing Postcard of the Week series which had kept me to a very rigorous blogging schedule? It could be any one of those distractions but I think this “blip” actually comes back to itchy feet and my problem with staying in one place for too long.

        I find myself getting irritated by seeing other people check into airports on Facebook (and yes I’m well aware that I’m guilty of that myself too!), I find myself envying other travel bloggers who are racking up the airmiles faster than me and I no longer enjoy reading about travel as much as I did just a few months ago. I find myself daydreaming not just of regular travel for a week or long weekend, but of dropping everything and moving abroad again. Unlike a lot of travel bloggers, I’m not contemplating going on a digital-nomad-round-the-world-trip-funded-by-my-blog, as I honestly think it’s a little delusional… There are simply too many bloggers already doing that and revenue sources for bloggers are drying up. I’m glad that I have a separate career so that I’m not financially dependent on this blog and my ability to dodge writer’s block! But I do still dream of moving abroad, and because of that it’s getting harder and harder to be content with London.

        So what can I do to cure this case of wanderlust? Thank god I have three decent and exciting trips coming up over the next three months, which might help to keep me sane! This Friday I’m heading to Iceland with family friends to (hopefully) see the Northern Lights, then I’m spending 10 days in April in Tanzania and Zanzibar with my boyfriend, and in May I’m going sailing in Antigua for 10 days with my mother and sister. Three new countries for me on three different continents and I honestly cannot wait – I’m not sure which one excites me the most! But I’m also hoping they’ll get me back into the swing of blogging as I approach my 3-year blog anniversary this June.

        I’m aware that I’m behind on a number of posts I committed myself to in my ‘New Year New Blog‘ post, such as my monthly insights into different cultures, my good deeds series and I still haven’t written about the fantastic weekend in Copenhagen that my boyfriend treated me to in February. January didn’t hold any international travel for me, but I did escape home to Hampshire with uni friends and discovered Mottisfont Abbey, a stately home I’d never heard of before despite it being only a 10-minute drive from my house! So I’m still on track for my “one trip per month” goal, if I’m allowed to bend the rules a little for January. I promise publicly that I will get myself back on track, and who knows, maybe the answer is to re-instate those Postcards of the Week! It was actually a slightly painful moment in Copenhagen when I picked out my usual postcards, knowing that this time however they wouldn’t be making an appearance on my blog…

        I’m hoping that airing my feelings will be therapeutic and help me snap out of this “blip”. How do you cure your itchy feet and learn to love the place you live instead? Or do you think I should just listen to my heart and give up on London to move abroad? And if any other bloggers have experienced this too then please do commiserate!

37 Comments »

  1. Oh, I know how you feel! I think having itchy feet can be even worse when you live somewhere that’s a tourist destination in itself (London, New York), because you feel as if you shouldn’t be getting itchy feet in a place with so much to see and do. It’s definitely something I struggle with too. But if you’re a traveller, I don’t think it matters where you are – you’re always going to have a bad case of wanderlust 🙂 Your upcoming trips sound amazing – I’m especially jealous of Tanzania, it’s one place that’s up at the top of my travel wishlist!

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    • Exactly, I definitely used to be more content with casual weekends when I lived in Hampshire and there was less around to do and see – the equivalent casual weekend in London feels like I’m missing out on everything the city has to offer! But I don’t want to feel this wanderlust forever, I can’t carry on moving around forever! And I’m surprised at the number of people who say the same thing about Tanzania, it was never that high up on my list but I’m definitely excited now that it’s booked!

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  2. Some of this rings a bell! I didn’t travel abroad between the end of February and mid-October last year, and it sent my head into a spin. So long as you have something to focus on (even if that is long weekends outside London), then it helps. In your case you’ve got 3 awesome destinations to look forward too! 🙂 Oh, and winter definitely doesn’t help. I’m sure all will be fine once the clocks go forward at the end of March 🙂

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    • Goodness that’s a long time… I do agree that we all need something to focus on and look forward to, but I have a real problem with living in the present and appreciating the moment, so I’m not sure that’s the whole answer. It’s definitely a start though. Until I had the 3 trips booked I really was in a dark place! Glad to hear I’m not the only one though – sometime it feels it in a city like London where everyone and everything is such a whirlwind.

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  3. Hello Virginia. Like yourself, travelling had become a part of who i am. Over the last nine years i found out that travelling is my great passion while volunteering and Backpacking the world. The last three i tried to combine my passion of wonderlust with finding a carrière abroad. This is how i ended up as a host working for Thomas cook on the ballearic island of Mallorca for two seasons. Now, i found myself a new way of feed my wonderlust by start working for MSC cruises as an international guest service agent. This week in gonna hear which ship and route I’ll get. I can’t wait to sail the seas, meet people from all over the world and explore more destinations in this world! Life is Backpacking! 😎

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  4. Ohhh I feel you. Seriously, I’m always daydreaming about moving abroad and I’ve felt dissatisfied with London for a while (I still think it’s an amazing city, it’s completely my fault and not London’s), something I’m really trying to make a reality. I also get irritated by people checking in to places and uploading pictures, even though I do it myself when I am travelling! I really think and hope that Iceland will be the start to your writing block cure, as it’s such a beautiful country I honestly think it will spark inspiration. Also, SO jealous of Tanzania – me and my boyfriend are thinking of this for our next bigger trip so I’ll be very excited to read your blog posts on it.

    Your blog is one of my favourites so I hope you get your blogging mojo back 😉

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    • Oh Kirst that’s so sweet of you! And I don’t understand how some people spend 10+ years in London and still enjoy it, I really don’t! You more than most people have reason to move abroad so I realllly hope it works out, although it’ll be a pity for us lot if you do go. Fingers crossed Iceland will kickstart things, although the weather forecast is looking very snowy, so I’m really worried about not seeing the Northern Lights… Humph. Thanks for all your support!

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      • Aw thank you. I really hope it works out too though. Getting a bit impatient! Ohh that’s a shame, but even if you don’t see them, I hope you’re having an amazing time out there. Just gives you a good excuse to go back 😉

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  5. When we are feeling totally over where we live, we try to find something to do or explore that we have not seen before. Whether that is a new restaurant, a small garden, or an area of town it usually helps our itchy feet! Also the mindset that you are ‘traveling’ in your own city can help! But at the end of the day, we too are sooo ready to get on the road and travel in completely different cultures. Keep your head up and do not stress about not blogging- we all go through cycles and that is okay!

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    • I just hope I snap out of this cycle soon! I don’t want my blog to join the ranks of those millions of abandoned and neglected blogs! I should take a leaf out of your book and force myself to explore new parts of London, it’s a good idea. I find having a list of places to see helps – I found a great one for Madrid that I managed to do half of!

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  6. I feel ya on the writers block. For the first time ever I haven’t been motivated to write a post and that makes me so sad! At least you have some trips coming up soon to moticate you!

    thelifeofastudenttraveller.blogspot.co.uk

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  7. I guess it happens to everyone who has a blog. Sooner or later everyone faces that “block” and it can be related to 100 different reasons. Don’t panic, you are going to Iceland in a couple of days and you have wonderful trips already planned! 😀 It’s just a phase which is going to end very soon, you’ll see 😉
    As for staying in one place for too long… well, look at this: everyone dreams of living in London! 😀 Be positive and enjoy one of the most alive cities in the world 😀 You will have a lot of chances to go abroad again, I’m sure; and life is full of surprises, be patient and “dai tempo al tempo” 😉

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    • Thanks Annalisa, I really hope it’s just a phase. Regarding London, when you put it that way, now I just feel spoiled & guilty that I’m living in such a “great” city that so many people dream of, yet I’m not making the most of it! I love that Italian phrase, I don’t think I’d heard that one before. But at the same time I feel like I’m in a rush to enjoy being young before it’s all too late! I think I need to come back to Italy where life is all more relaxed, it’s not such a frenetic pace as in the UK. Aaaaahhhh I love Italy!

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      • oh no, I didn’t mean you were spoiled! What I meant was to consider the best side of each situation. I’m just like you and get bored very easily, so I perfectly understand how you feel.

        It would be great to see you in Italy again! Or (even better) organise a trip together when I come back in 5-6 months, as I will have 2 months off 😛 how does it sound?

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  8. Hm… I think I relate to this, I don’t blog anymore and would only start blogging again if I was living overseas. It sounds like to me that your blog is starting to become a chore and you’re a little bit over it? Maybe that’s presumptious of me but most blogs don’t go on forever – blogging involves constantly posting and sometimes they just naturally come to an end. Not saying you should stop blogging, your blog is one of the most gorgeous travel blogs I’ve ever come across! But if you feel it’s time to take a sabbatical or just finish this blog, and wait for inspiration for a whole new blog when it comes maybe it’s time to do that. I wrote a bit about this in my last blog entry: https://ohsacrebleu.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/a-new-year-a-new-blog-a-sorta-farewell/ Anyway my overall advice would be to not feel guilty if you just don’t want to do this blog anymore, or take a good sabbatical and take the ‘obligation’ feeling out of it. If you find yourself itching to get back into it after a few months, then it was meant to be! 🙂 Hope that helps!

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    • I know you’re right, and I don’t intend to be blogging right into my 70s and 80s! No chance. But I’m not sure when is the right moment to stop. As long as I’m still travelling I feel like it’s worth keeping the blog going, and ultimately I do enjoy it, I think I’d miss the creative outlet if I were to stop now. But some inspiration or a big life change is needed to reinvigorate my writing I think! Thanks for the help, it’s good to hear from someone who has stopped and is happy with it that way!

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  9. I’m with you! I am starting to get a bit stir-crazy as well. I haven’t left Canada since November and at times it feels like I’ve been trapped. But exploring your own country helps! I google things to do around Vancouver and British Columbia.They may not be big journeys but they still get me out and seeing something new!

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    • Yes I agree that it’s important to explore your own country as well. The problem with the UK is that so much of it is miserable to visit in the winter, and far nicer in summer, so having just gone through a whole winter I haven’t been out and about as much as I would in summer! I should just wear more layers and embrace the British rain!

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  10. It’s brave of you to admit to this, as so many bloggers just bang on about how great it is, how travel is all they live for, how they’ll put it above careers, friendships, all that! And, as you said, that’s just a little delusional at times! So as a reader, it’s fascinating to have an insight into the more realistic side of being a travel blogger and juggling it with a real life!

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    • I’m glad you agree, sometimes I have to let my real life shine through on my blog too, as it’s not realistic to portray an image that I only travel and do nothing else. Like everyone else, I have a real life outside of travel that I’m trying to juggle as well, and it’s not always the easiest thing to successfully co-ordinate and keep all aspects of my life in balance!

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  11. I can so relate to this! I just had a fabulous two-week trip to Thailand less than two months ago, but I haven’t planned out my next trip yet and it’s driving me crazy! Plus, we’ve got it pretty rough over here in the US where most people have only 2 or 3 weeks of vacation time. SO hard to find the time to travel as much as I’d like, but I’m doing my best to hunt down deals and take advantage of long weekends and national holidays. Such a struggle, but so worth it!

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  12. Hi Virginia, I think wherever you may be based you will always wish to travel somewhere else! Which is no bad thing……Personally I miss the weekly post card – I always looked for to it’s entertaining and insightful comment. I’m sure you could reinstate and find plenty to write about.

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  13. Hi Virginia, I’d like to see you re-instate your ‘postcard of the week’, because I think it’s still relevant. Have you seen the iphone app (not available on android sadly) where you can have a postcard made of one your own photos and they post it (yes, snail mail) to a person of your choice at their address? Great idea, I think.

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    • Yes I have seen that app! Maybe there’s a similar one for Android… I wish I’d come up with the idea first, it would have been a perfect fit for my blog. Maybe I’ll turn back to the postcards of the week at some point soon, I’ve got to acquire a few more first or I’ll run out again!

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  14. The pictures are amazing! Wish you all the best with your trips around the globe – try to collect as much as you can of what each place can offers you. Greetings, Man With Van Finsbury Park Ltd.

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