Have you ever felt more tired after a vacation? We sure have!
Being on the road we are constantly in new places with new sights to see and it is easy to fall into the habit of constantly go-go-going. We have found that it is important to balance the continual urge to see it all with the need for down time. Much like being at home, we sometimes need breaks during the day, relaxing evening, a good night sleep, and “weekends” to unwind from a week of doing.
We have learned how significant regular breaks during the day can be. Not only do we get to rest our feet, but we get to rest our minds. An easy way for us to do this is to find a café, have a cup of coffee, and people watch. Sitting in silence and letting our mind slow down gives us a second wind for more sight-seeing.
Every night cannot be a night on the town. Sometimes the best remedy for a long day is a relaxing evening. Dive into a good book, relax in a park, binge watch a tv show, or even nodding off into an early sleep.
Another way we have learned to balance our downtime with our tourism is by allowing ourselves to not set wakeup alarms and simply sleeping in. Before traveling the world, we always heard how not getting enough sleep can effect many aspects of your life and it is very true. A good night’s sleep is essential for a good day of sight-seeing.
Too many consecutive days of being on the go can lead to getting burnt out. After a few weeks of not having a day off from traveling and sight seeing it was time for us to take a weekend. Two consecutive days of hanging around with nothing planned was pure bliss. It reinvigorated us. From that point on we decided that allowing ourselves to have weekends was one of the most important ways of balancing downtime with our tourism.
We had to let go of being on a schedule to see everything, rather, experience the place we are visiting. A good way to do this is to balance being a tourist with simple being someone living on the move.
One goal we set for our RTW trip is to make our money go as far as possible and to live within a new means. This meant making compromises along the way and even being uncomfortable at times. We started our trip by testing how far we could test our limits, asked ourselves if these limits were unrealistic, and even hoped that the edge we would walk up to might somehow continue to be pushed further and further out making what would have seemed uncomfortable not so bad. Our journey to the starting point did just that.
We are no strangers to public transit, so dropping our car off at my dad’s work, putting on our backpacks, and navigating DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) to the airport was a breeze. Once we arrived at the airport it was like second nature to us going through security and making it to the gate hours early in anticipation of heading out.
Storms started to roll in just as we were supposed to board the plane. This was not a big deal; we had left plenty of time for our layover in Boston. We finally make it on the plane, which had been delayed nearly an hour, only to find out that the pilots and some crew had not made it because of delays on their end. After another 20 minutes, the crew was there and we pulled away from the gate. Off we go to start our adventure!
It was past midnight by the time we landed in Boston and by this point we were tired. Not knowing what Boston’s policies are, Kevin asked an employee if Boston was a 24-hour airport. Turns out it is, however, you cannot sleep inside the security area after they close security lines around 2am. We quickly got online to look for sleeping accommodations and found out that getting a “quick hotel” would eat up way more of our daily budget than we were comfortable. Kevin strolled back to the employee and asked, “are their places to sleep outside of security checkpoint that are still inside the airport lobby?” to which the man replied, “yes, but all of the cots have been passed out.”
As we made it out of the airport secured area, sure enough, we noticed a lot of people sleeping on a number of things, cots being one of them. We decided to leave the current terminal (Terminal A) and walk to the international terminal (Terminal E). Along the .5 mile walk, each terminal had its own slew of sleeping patrons. When we walked through Terminal D’s baggage claim, we say a pile of cots on the wall not yet claimed. We found our beds for the night!
Settling in at Terminal E for the night was a new experience for us since neither of us had even stayed overnight in an airport. Time to test out pushing our limits. We knew we would not be getting much sleep because there was a large tag on the cots saying they would be picked up at 5am and by the time we locked our bags up and settled in it was nearly 1am. Between the stiff cots and the lady on the PA system announcing the next flight to Hong Kong, it was a rough night trying to grasp a few hours of sleep. At 5am, we woke up, tried to compose ourselves to the best of our ability, and wandered like zombies trying to figure out what we wanted to do for the next 14 hours. Figuring out next steps out was quick, we both wanted to find a bench to nap on, so we did. Airport lobby bench seats are much more comfortable than those cots, but only if you are lucky enough to find a bench without fixed armrests. Lesson learned.
After a few hours of sleep, we feel refreshed! Testing our limits is a baby-step process. First sleeping in airports in Boston, next we will be sleeping in our rental car in Iceland, and then maybe on the floor of a train station. Not every limitation we test will be worth it in terms of our comfort, but every tested limitation will be a worthwhile lesson learned about ourselves.
We are two en route to mastering airport sleeping.