Monday 22 April 2024

Recharging and Reconnecting when Travelling

Abi shares her experiences while travelling during a study abroad, expressing a priority in making sure to take time to rest and recharge

- Abi

A side of travelling that is not so commonly spoken about or showcased across social media accounts is the effect of loneliness and exhaustion, particularly for solo travellers. It can be very easy to get caught up when jumping from place to place or travelling somewhere new or with new people. From personal experience, whilst all of these experiences can be exciting, they can also become very overwhelming, mentally draining or daunting for even experienced travellers. 

When talking about loneliness too, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are physically alone. It can sometimes just be a sort of disconnect from all that’s going on around you. 

One of the things that I have loved about my travelling experiences so far is the fact that no matter where you end up, there is almost always someone to meet. Whether that be in a hostel, on the way up a hiking trail or simply wandering around the local streets. Despite sometimes only being small interactions, every new person I meet has always helped me learn more about new cultures, given me new fun stories to share and/or taught me things about myself which I hadn’t necessarily come across before. 

Whilst I would say I love the outgoing and social side of travelling, I also place a big importance on having time to recharge away from all of the socialising and new interactions. Prioritising time to settle down after a long day of travelling or a busy day of activities can help me to stay present. I find it essential to make time for myself even when travelling with friends. It seems like an obvious thing to relax when back home or at University. Yet sometimes when I’m travelling, I find myself stuck in the mindset of having to do everything for fear of missing out.  

In my recent travels with friends, I’ve been lucky that we have all shared the same appreciation for a bit of down time. Whilst it’s not something we necessarily scheduled into our days, it was almost always accounted for that we’d come back from a busy day and spend an hour chilling out, reading, scrolling online or napping. It’s been so important to balance this drive to make the most of our time but also ensure we are recharging our batteries to truly enjoy the time that we have engaging in the new experiences whilst not draining ourselves entirely. Looking back on a lot of my trips now too, one of my favourite parts from my trips will always be the people that I got to spend them with. 

My grandmother always used to say that you should leave a place wanting to do something else; not only can it motivate you to come back but it also encourages you to not overdo it and just appreciate the time you have. When I find myself in times that I think I need a bit of a break from the constants of travelling, I try to set some time aside to prioritise reconnecting. 

When solo travelling, it is particularly important to reconnect with people from home: friends, family, partners or pets! Alongside this, I try to take some time to find out what I need at that moment. Sometimes, it’s having a long shower and chilling in the hostel for the night. Sometimes, it’s trying to put me out there and socialising at an event. Sometimes, it is trying something new by myself, such as going for a walk in a new area, journaling or anything that will boost my energy.

For everyone it will be different relating to themselves and their current situations, the main thing is to make sure you allow yourself time to recharge and reconnect.

In those really hard times, it is still really important to know you’re not alone. If there’s someone back home you can reach out to and you’re comfortable speaking with, I encourage you to pick up the phone or drop them a quick message. Sometimes a quick call/message will break those internal barriers which stop you from reaching out to get things off your chest or gain the support you need. 

Before travelling, it is important to ensure that you have the right travel insurance to support you that includes medical cover to access professional services. Make sure your prescribed medications are allowed in your travel destination or across certain borders. 

During and after travelling, remember that you are not alone and that there are online services available too to help you get through the harder times. Even if you don’t think you’ll need these resources, knowing they’re available for yourself or others can be reassuring in challenging times. 

Stay safe and remember to look out for yourself!

Find out how you can get involved with the Student Minds Blog.

I am currently in my final year of studying at University before graduating in the summer. Last year I spent time studying abroad and it really helped me have a break from my studies and allow me to realise how much I love travelling. Sometimes, despite having an incredible year, there are times when you need to look after yourself and take a step back. Hearing other people's experiences really helped me with this and I hope to do the same. 

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