FINDING A new balance between work and PLAY
Posted: 05/07/16 | March 7th, 2016
Last month, after suffering from enhanced anxiety and mild panic attacks, I stepped away from this website, spent a lot of time alone, went hiking in Patagonia, and sought to rebalance my life.
I needed to clear my mind and come back to everything in my life with fresh eyes.
As a travel writer, I share all the places I go and exciting things I do. It’s easy to think of my life as continuously moving from one fantastic thing to the next. but social media and blogging present a warped image of my life, because all that gets shown is the good stuff.
You don’t see the days I spend in cafés, the sleepless nights, the hours spent writing or searching for an Internet connection. Running a site with over one million monthly visitors is a full-time job, and when you throw in a penchant to start new projects (a blogging school, a charity), and a travel conference, I’m too often the busiest of bees. I like staying busy — but there’s busy and there’s overworked.
It wasn’t until I threw on my backpack again that I realized I was overworking.
I had bitten off much more than I could chew; I was juggling too numerous balls. I couldn’t work full-time, travel full-time, and also find time to just delight in the moment. As a consequence, everything suffered.
I love this job I have created. writing is cathartic for me, and this blog is as much a journal for me as it is a travel guide for you. and I also love immersing myself in a destination, starting new businesses, and being on the move!
On their own, all the things I love in my life bring me remarkable joy.
But I realize I simply can’t juggle everything anymore. This site has too numerous moving parts, my nonprofit is picking up, and I want to get offline more. trying to do them all at once implies I can’t do any of them well and they become sources of anxiety, not joy.
I hadn’t discovered this before because I was doing them all while at home in new York City.
But then I went on the road — and I felt like I was drowning. I just felt a weight on my shoulders I never felt before. I couldn’t delight in anything.
While in a hostel in Argentina, I was sad with envy taking a look at the travelers around me without a care in the world. They were just there soaking it all in. None of them had to wake up for an 8am meeting or worry about video submit speeds. They could just delight in the destination and worry about work when they got home. It didn’t travel with them.
Over the last few months, the thought of doing anything has left me paralyzed with anxiety. I found no pleasure in anything. each time I did one thing, I thought about all the other things I wanted or had to do. If you haven’t experienced anxiety, you don’t know what I am talking about, but it’s not a good feeling to feel helpless for no reason.
So, sensing how things were going, I took February off and started the process of trying to get back to me. I spent weeks by myself. I went hiking in Patagonia. I deleted emails. I kept the computer shut. I went to bed at a normal bedtime. Ik lees veel.
As time went on and I stopped juggling so numerous plates at once, the eye-twitching anxiety melted away. It was lost somewhere on the W trek in Patagonia.
As I came back online and into my old life, I realized the same patterns were slowly re-emerging. Intentions are great, but actions are all that matters. All I learned about the cause of my problems (trying to do it all) was being pushed aside by old habits.
I need to untangle my life and create new patterns where my passions bring me joy, not panic. and one of those new patterns is changing how I deal with work.
I love this site and the community we’ve created, but I have let the nature of the Internet control me. It never shuts off. It’s there 24/7/365. because I’m a workaholic, I don’t know how to stop. If I don’t set boundaries, work will consume me even even more (through no one’s fault but my own) and that’s no good.
So I’m announcing some changes:
I’ve taken email off my phone. No longer will I check my emails and be a slave to my device. It’s felt fantastic no longer continuously reacting to a ding like Pavlov’s dogs.
I’ve amended my email policy to be clearer on what emails will get a response. It’s too hard to keep up with 200 emails per day. As much as I want to help everyone, I am only one man.
I’m taking my weekends back and no longer working outside Monday through Friday. (My team is helping enforce this.)
For the time being, I’ve chose to stop answering comments on this blog. I went back and forth on this, but it’s something I need to do best now. I love reading your reactions and seeing everyone interact with each other and can always be reached through email, social media, or the forums, but for now, I will no longer be responding to comments on the blog itself.
And, many dramatically, I am no longer going to travel and work at the same time.
Dezeis the most significant cause of my anxiety. It’s going to be just one or the other. When on the road, the computer will stay at home. I am at my best and at my happiest when I can focus on each thing individually. I am many thrilled about each when they stay away from each other. but when I’m trying to mix them, they bring me a lot of stress.
I could deal with the juggling before but not anymore. To get back to my pleased place, I plan to focus on each one separately. When at home, I’ll work. When on the road, I’ll travel like I used to… like how I saw those backpackers in Mendoza. This trip to Australia is the last time I’ll bring my computer on the road with me.
These are big changes for me and it’s going to take time to get used to them, but I know creating boundaries and limits will stop me from going crazy and wanting to pop Xanax like candy. Rome was not built in a day and mental health is a long journey.
But, as I write this now in Australia, I feel freer. The small changes I’ve already made have helped a lot. My anxiety was because I was spinning too numerous dishes at once, but now I realize that when I just pick up one at a time, I can become my old, fulfilled self again.
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Book Your Trip: Logistical suggestions and Tricks
Boek uw vlucht
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches sites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Boek uw accommodatie
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the most affordable rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Vergeet de reisverzekering niet
Reisverzekering zal u beschermen tegen ziekte, letsel, diefstal en annuleringen. Het is uitgebreide bescherming voor het geval er iets misgaat. Ik ga nooit op reis zonder dat ik het in het verleden meerdere keren heb moeten gebruiken. Mijn favoriete bedrijven die de beste service en waarde bieden, zijn:
SafetyWing (best for everyone)
Verzeker mijn reis (voor die ouder dan 70)
Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Ready to book Your Trip?
Bekijk mijn resource -pagina voor de beste bedrijven om te gebruiken wanneer u reist. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.