Am I an expat travel burnout? I’m beginning to think I might be. Tomorrow night I’m leaving Seoul to travel to Nanjing, Taipei, and Qingdao. I’ll be taking 4 flights in 5 days. What am I thinking? What was I thinking booking circular flights for such a short period of time?
I feel nervous because I haven’t planned anything. I feel like I’m letting my friends down because I haven’t been able to participate in many of the essential parts of planning a trip (we’re all in different cities). Plus, I’m traveling with two other travel bloggers, Expat and the City and Live Learn Venture, so we all feel a responsibility to share exciting adventures and essential information with our followings in very different markets (ps. thank you, thank you, thank you for reading…[Mom]).
I think most people would feel incredibly liberated and fortunate. I have felt lucky to be here almost every day of the past year and a half in Busan and in Seoul. Now, I kind of feel scared. I have daily work responsibilities and things about which a tourist doesn’t have to worry. I’m not on a working holiday, I’m an expat abroad.
I just returned from Thailand and have only given you snippets of my time in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and then back to Bangkok for a cooking class. My responsibilities as an expat are much different than those of a professional traveler, which are different than those of a tourist. While most of us are here to experience a different lifestyle, it’s also a much cheaper one (check out Sam’s tips for saving money in Korea), and I need to focus on saving.
Last year my summer vacation was at the end of July, and I knew many of the places I wanted to see months in advance. Japan was unexpectedly frustrating because of the “friends” with whom I had booked the trip. I can’t imagine I’ll have a bad time with this crew, but there’s always a little worry in the back of my mind that something will go wrong. That’s natural, isn’t it?
I traveled to Shanghai alone this time last year. Before even setting foot in my hostel I met an American. He had been studying Mandarin for 5 years in preparation for his trip to China. He was thrilled that I had a rough itinerary, and acted as a translator while I navigated. That was lucky!
All my trips from Korea have been very different. It’s so exciting to be in the gateway to the East in a working environment. Japan was a bit of a train-wreck traveling with friends. Shanghai and Thailand were solo trips where I immediately made new travel companions. This is the first time I’ve had anxiety about trip-related events completely unrelated to traveling alone. I guess what I’m really trying to say is: sorry for all the ads and advertorials lately. I’m trying to see it all with too many places on my bucket list and not enough time or cash.