Koh Rong island near Sihanoukville in Cambodia was the place where it started to hit me after four months of travelling. I had had some symptoms already for a while but when entering more quiet side of Koh Rong with 6 kilometres of white-sanded beaches, turquoise water and only handful of other travellers staying overnight, made the symptoms suddenly go worse. We were in the place where I ‘should’ have felt relaxed, calm and being able to process experiences we had had so far. Instead of these dreamy feelings I started to feel frustrated and anxious. It got that bad that it was difficult for me to fall asleep. It wasn’t these ‘exciting’ jungle sounds or the sounds of waves striking the beach near our bungalow that kept me awake during long nights. It was my mental shit.
After a couple of days confusion about what was happening to me, I diagnosed myself suffering from ‘travel fatigue’ at least in a medium level. It had started with feelings of not having interest to make any further plans. I felt exhausted about changing place often and always planning where to go next, where to stay overnight next and with which vehicle we should go next. It worsened by having feelings that even this paradise island’s landscape couldn’t impress me. Like if this couldn’t impress me, what would impress me?! I felt lost and alone even when being accompanied with other people. I didn’t feel like myself at all. I thought a couple of days relaxing holiday in Koh Rong would make it better but actually it didn’t. I felt I just couldn’t enjoy like other people seemed to do. I felt ashamed and had a guilty conscience. It was me who was supposed to have the greatest time of my life right now! Why I didn’t feel like that? Why couldn’t I enjoy and instead of hanging with people I felt more like spending time alone?
I did some self-reflection in order to solve why I felt like that. My organized mind always seems to want to plan the future even it isn’t yet processed things that happened a day or two ago. I feel happy when things go according to my plans. I need to feel that I’m in charge of my travels whether my plans turns out to be good or bad. I need to have some idea of what to expect of experiencing. That’s when I have time to dream about it and that’s when I have time enough to mentally prepare for it. Now my mind feels tired. Tired of planning and tired of looking things forward. I’ve been questionning what was my real dream in terms of this trip. I always thought that it would have been the feeling of freedom. Where is that feeling now when I feel that making further plans are more a burden than a pleasure? How well feeling of freedom goes together with too much planning?
I noticed that it started actually already after leaving India…when I started to go mentally downhill. I had been dreaming of travelling to Nepal and India for many years. I had some ideas in my mind what I wanted to experience there even we didn’t have 100% strict schedules. I wanted to do trekking, travel across India by public transport, do yoga and go to meet Mother Amma. All these things we did and my time in these countries was like one big firework. I was open to everything even we went according to this bigger plan. When we arrived to Vietnam, my passions for travelling suddenly disappeared. Auli was enjoying but suddenly I was lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I didn’t know what I should look forward of experiencing. Even we made plans together with Auli I felt like not having a clear enough idea on my own to be able to dream further things.
BUT…I need to change my thinking. There is no place which is 100% bad. It is up to you how you want to see things in life. We often see the faults in others (if it’s a place or a person I don’t really care…it seems that often there is someone else to blame if you are feeling bad) without realising that we can change only our own character. I don’t know if this is the thing they call a culture shock or if it´s just my internal shock which starts to affect now after four months of travelling. I hope it goes away…I try to convince me being not so hard to myself. I keep telling that during a trip this long, it’s natural to have many kinds of feelings. It can’t be only sunshine. It’s okay to feel a little bit lost. But still I have guilty conscience’s small sound in my head telling me that I should enjoy my fullest NOW…After all it’s my dream which I am now living real. I won’t give up it so easily.
I wonder if this mental flow made any sense…Please send wintry pictures of Finland so that I could realize that it’s better to stay in this side of the world!