Travelling is amazing. For me it was a complete whirlwind covering 13 countries in 8 months. I wanted to do everything and not waste a single second. But here is the lesson I learnt the hard way, and how knowing when to stop is an absolute must!

Knowing that it’s ok to stop

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If you’ve read about my travel route around the World, you will know that it was jam-packed. In 8 months I travelled to 13 different countries, more locations that I can begin to count and saw things I never even knew existed. It was amazing! Every few days I knew I was going to be somewhere different which exactly what I loved about it. I like change and I don’t like to be still for long. I get fidgety and excited and just have to go.

But travelling surprised me and to be honest, it was a shock to the system. I had gone from university to working all the hours under the sun to pay for the trip which meant doing nothing more than eating and sleeping in my spare time. Now I was out all day exploring, trying to get around the language barrier, constantly being in the unknown and going from hostel to hostel. And living out of a backpack can be damn tricky!

After about 3 months of non-stop movement, both Jess and I crashed. We had reached Sihanoukville in Cambodia and were staying in huts right on the beach. It was beautiful even though the weather was stormy a lot of the time. As before, our intention was just to spend a couple of days there then be on our merry whirlwind way. But it just didn’t happen. We just couldn’t move. So we didn’t, and we pretty much did nothing for the whole time we were there. We hardly even left that beach. We had to accept it was time to slow things down, for a while at least.

I know what you’re all thinking ‘poor you, having to take a break from your round the world trip on a beach in Cambodia’, but I don’t mean it like that. I know full well that I was so lucky but I felt guilty and like I had come all this way to do nothing when I should be making the most of every moment. It was more of a case of learning a lesson of how important it is to take breaks even if you’re already on a break from real life.

Travelling is amazing. For me it was a complete whirlwind covering 13 countries in 8 months. I wanted to do everything and not waste a single second. But here is the lesson I learnt the hard way, and how knowing when to stop is an absolute must!
Ok, so there were worse places to stop

I’ve never travelled solo so I think knowing when to stop is so important. Fortunately, Jess and I knew when we were crossing the line with one another or could just tell when to back off. Having time for a recharge before shit hits the fan or homesickness kicks in was just what we needed.

We had been travelling at the rate of knots and looking back now, I wish we had been able to take it slower. I do think it’s almost impossible to avoid burning out when you’re on the road for a long time, but if we had started off slow it wouldn’t have been such a crash. But hey, hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Since my round the world trip I’ve realised that I don’t have the need to be in one place forever. I think of all the people around my age who are loving their lives settling down with houses and getting married and I know that’s not what I want right now. I love to travel and I love having change in my life. But I now certainly know the importance of taking time to really be in places and soaking in what the place is all about.

So my advice to anyone who is about to go travelling for the first time is don’t worry about trying to do everything. Don’t feel bad for wanting to have a break. Don’t think that you’re missing out on things and wasting your time.

Knowing when to stop can mean travelling more!

Travelling is a huge adventure and can feel like a complete whirlwind. Learning when to slow down is so important and one lesson that I learnt the hard way. Find out more here!


  • The Barefoot Backpacker

    Oh. Yes. So much. And I need to keep remembering this.

    I’ve had situations on my travels when I’ve felt “I can’t do this.”, but have pressed on regardless, usually out of sheer bloodymindedness (“I’ve come all this way, I’m damn-well going to make sure I make the most of it”). Sometimes this works – sometimes I find moving to a new place resolves my mood and I feel I enjoy travelling again, but sometimes it doesn’t, and the only course of action is to stop.

    I have a fear of failure, and I put so much pressure on myself to ‘succeed’ when I travel, but really, the only person who worries about this is me. So I came home after travelling for two months in the Southern Hemisphere – to me that was a failure since I was supposed to be away for a lot longer, but my friends all said ‘You spent two months travelling around places I’ve never been, and some I’ve never even heard of. That you did it at all is amazing and should be shouted about’.

    It’s just hard to admit it to yourself sometimes.

    • lsell1991

      Exactly! I always feel bad for not fitting everything in and for missing things but what’s the point if you’re not enjoying it- it Juliet becomes a tick box exercise so you can say you’ve been there. Stopping is an absolute must sometimes!

  • Daniela || Ipanema travels to

    There’s always a turning point in everything you do. Then you know that too much is also not OK. Absolutely agree with you. Non-stop traveling can be also emotionally (and physically) exhausting if you don’t find the balance for yourself.

  • Alice Teacake

    100% agree with you. Travel burnout is REAL. I’ve experienced it myself where I’ve seriously needed to just take a couple of days out in a hostel/hotel room somewhere, eat good food and recharge. There’s nothing wrong with that. No one is a Duracell bunny 🙂 Excited to see where you’re off to regardless. Happy travels!

  • Practical Wanderlust (@practicalwander)

    I completely agree with this! We crashed after a few months too – and actually booked a flight home to recharge for a couple of weeks before going somewhere totally different. We still struggle with wanting to see everything versus knowing that we need to take time to just sit around and do nothing. So we try not to go anywhere for under a whole week, and spend a few days just sitting around doing nothing (er, working, but whatever). Travelling can be SO freaking exhausting, especially when you’re full time travelling or long term travelling.

  • Audrey

    Thank you for writing this article! Especially as a blogger, I (we) tend to be super efficient and want to make the most out of our time in a place. Sometimes it’s just important to realize that we need a break or that no, we don’t need to take another picture for the Insta. Safe travels & RELAX 🙂

  • Corinne L Simpson

    I think it’s pretty amazing that you both had the guts to take on such a massive adventure, so you absolutely should not feel bad for stepping back. I know if I ever made such an epic trip, I’d be stopping off a hell of a lot more! And what a beautiful place to take rest!

  • Becky the Traveller

    This is so true and I know just what you mean, but I think sometimes you have to experience it for yourself and then tell yourself to stop. I travelled for 6 months and loved it, I was on the move a lot and it was great. Now when I travel I try to slow it down a bit and not rush around to see everything. I don’t think there is a right or wrong just what works for you 🙂

    • lsell1991

      You’re so right Becky! Sometimes going at 100 miles an hour is great but sometimes you just need to chill. I’ll definitely be travelling slower from now on!

  • Kristy Atkinson

    Totally agree with you, sometimes you just need to relax and not try to see everything in a place!

  • anna3rdculturekid

    It is really important to take your time when travelling for a long time. On my last long trip I sometimes spent 2 months in the same place. Those were my best experiences because it gave me time to get to know a place.

    • lsell1991

      That’s amazing! I’ve never spent long anywhere but I’m so ready for that style of visiting places now. Where did you show on your last trip?

  • Kristine

    Good physical and mental health is more important than anything else. Sometimes we just need to slow down and rest – even while visiting the most interesting destinations 🙂

    • lsell1991

      Exactly. You can be in your dream place but if you’ve run out the steam you just won’t make the most of it

  • Alison

    Girl I feel ya! I left for a round the world trip 11 months ago and I’m SO tired, I can’t wait to go home. I never thought I’d say that. I started to resent travel, but it should be excited and fun, that’s when you know you need to take a beak.

  • Hanna

    It was good that you understood to take the break.
    Often when traveling we get so hungry to see and explore more and more that we forget to enjoy.

    Never been to Cambodia but hoping to make it soon.

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