Hello From a London Laundry Room
Since I’ve been to London a few times before, I decided to bring my laptop this time. I had visions of mornings spent in East London cafes sipping cappuccinos while writing a few blog posts. Instead, I’ve been seeing at least one (if not two or three) major attractions every single day, not eating much real food or drinking enough water, staying up late while also waking up early and walking an average of 10 miles a day since I arrived here last weekend.
Old habits die hard, apparently.
So yesterday, on my fourth full day in London, I forced myself to slow down.
Just a bit.
What Makes Slowing Down So Difficult?
In my most recent post, I wrote about having to convince myself to not “waste” time by only going to London during the six days I’m spending in Europe on this ten day trip. And here I am in London, having to convince myself that having a cappuccino while writing a blog post isn’t a waste of my time.
What in the world is wrong with me anyway?
It appears the American vacation system has made more of an impression on my travel style than I would like to admit. I used to know how to chill out on trips... back when I was studying abroad or traveling during college summers and had significantly more time on my hands. But for the past five years, I’ve been working full time, which means I’ve only had 10 days at a time (at most) to visit foreign countries. So I’m usually barely sleeping, eating while walking (if I remember to eat at all) and generally running myself ragged so that I can see as much of each city I visit as possible.
Even though I’ve been to London before, it is big enough that I immediately started prioritizing my fear of missing something over my goal of having a bit of relaxed writing time on my vacation for a change.
Trying Longer Term Travel On For Size
It obviously makes sense that I wouldn’t want to miss anything in my favorite city in the world, and London is BIG. There is so much to do and see that I could probably be here a solid month and not feel like I’d scratched the surface. The problem is that I know I need to learn how to travel at a slower pace if I’m ever going to be able to survive on a longer trip. I’ve only been able to run myself this ragged because I always figure that I’ll rest when I get back to my cubicle in 10 days.
But if there is ever going to be a time in my life when I’m able to take a trip longer than 10 days again (the ultimate goal), then I’m going to have to re-learn to be ok with doing some regular everyday stuff while traveling. Like going grocery shopping, making food, catching up on rest and writing on my blog.
Or doing laundry, like I am right now.
Because if we’re being honest, neither my budget nor my body can survive my usual 10 day trip pace for any longer than 10 days. And at some point, going so hard you can’t really experience what you are experiencing stops being fun.
So here’s to not beating myself up for taking a vacation on my vacation every once and awhile. Or for prioritizing clean clothes, or actually writing blog posts while on the road for a change.
(Or at least one blog post... after all, the laundry is done in five minutes and I've got places to be!)
Do you have trouble balancing the drive to make the most of your time abroad with taking a little time for yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.