The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

When Travel Gets You Down

Day 272-275, August 26-29, 2011

There’s a sickness that can strike even the most hardy of travellers. Most that are afflicted with it are unaware that they have contracted it until it has manifested itself fully. Many will be too ashamed to admit to having caught this particular sickness. Admitting to non-travelers that you have this particular affliction is an embarrassment that can lead to scorn and false pity masking a slight resentment. This disease can be avoided, but, like a common cold, it has a way of sneaking up on you.

I am shedding the stigma and admitting right here, right now, that I suffered from this sickness. As is normal, it did not make itself aware to me until it was too late and I was fully engulfed with it. It being “Traveler’s Fatigue”

The most notable symptoms that travelers will first notice is a lack of energy and lack of interest in seeing new things. One of the major contributing factors to the dreaded disease is the constant moving, the “travel days” that begin to occur in more common frequency. I don’t care what you say, sitting for seven hours on a train or a bus can be just as exhausting as a full day walking around. Do that journey a couple times in a space of a week or two, and you begin dreading it, getting exhausted even before you step aboard.

Another contributing factor is very much endemic of Europe. No matter that each country has its own culture, language, and traditions, there’s still something innately European about the architecture. Each city looks different, yet exactly the same at the same time. You are no longer walking around sightseeing because you want to but because you feel you have to.

IMG_2255For me, it all came to a head in Belgrade, Serbia. I had relatively high hopes for the city/country as it would give me an opportunity to see the other side of the war in Bosnia. And yet, by the time I got there, I was as interested in sightseeing and learning about the history as I would be with painting a fence and watching it dry.

It could be that Belgrade just doesn’t have a lot going for it. Though, take that with a grain of salt as I was full out in traveler’s fatigue by then that it has probably tainted my view of the city past the point of unbiased reflection.

IMG_2297It’s a fairly large city, but with surprisingly little in the way of major things to see and do. The biggest attraction would be the Fortress overlooking the point when the Danube and another river join together. The walk to the fortress from my hostel was relatively easy, though it doesn’t have much in the way of views. The city is still covered with the less than impressive communist-era buildings. Even now, I can’t really think of anything that really sticks out in my mind as spectacular to look at. Well, no, that’s a lie. There is the massive Cathedral that is still in the process of being built. The outside is finished. The inside is just being completed, with a projected end date in 2015.

IMG_2299Perhaps this is why Belgrade, in general, is known more for it’s nightlife and clubbing than anything else. Random conversations with people in the hostel seems to prove this point as most, if not all, had come after hearing about the clubs and nothing else. I did go out once with a group from the hostel and it was fun, don’t get me wrong. But I have begun to grow out of this whole club scene. I personally prefer pubs or places I can sit with a drink and chat with the people I’m with. That, and I hate electronica music.

IMG_2216The traveler’s fatigue definitely hurt my impression of Belgrade, that much is clear. I’m sure it’s got a beauty of its own, I just didn’t have the energy or heart to find it. But after a lengthy talk with a friend on Skype I began to see what had been bothering me. And the 13 hour train ride to Bucharest, in a sleeper car, gave me time, and comfort, to work through these issues in my head and hopefully get me to the point that I would be excited about travel again.

1 comment:

  1. Hang in there Corey, you'll get through it. I say if you need a week to rest just do it! Take care.