why these two travellers need a break from travel

It was November and we were back in Granada, a permanently sunny colonial city about one hour from the capital. Emily's family were coming out to join us for the festive season in a few weeks and we were killing time and saving money by hanging around in Nicaragua rather than neighbouring Costa Rica.

We got a deal on cheap but decent accommodation which enabled us to move from a hostel crawling with flag-twirling, juggling hippies into somewhere much quieter with a better kitchen and reliable wi-fi.

However both of us were lacking in motivation to, well, do anything. Anything besides binging on mountains of junk food, Breaking Bad episodes and long lie-ins.

There was a whole wide world out there for us to discover but, frankly, we couldn't be arsed. 

So much for permanent wanderlust eh?

In hindsight, we both understood what was wrong; we had been travelling for way too long.

We were bored of the food, bored of the conversations and bored of the rip-off merchants we seemed to encounter five-fold in Nicaragua. We were both desperately lacking the curiosity and tolerance essential on any backpacking trip.

The diagnosis? A severe bout of travel fatigue. 

So, we made a promise to each other. In the future, rather than persevere, we'd try to recognise an impending bout of travel fatigue and take preventive action.

During our week-long stay in Lima, we both felt really positive towards the city. A number of backpackers complain about it – that it's just another big Latino city – but for us it provided an opportunity to hang out in some cool coffee shops, access lots of the food we'd been yearning for and, well, just live like normal in a relatively developed city.

We enjoyed it so much that we started to seriously discuss renting a flat there for one month. After the experience in Nicaragua and absolutely loving five weeks living in Medellin, Colombia, we were much more attuned to the feeling that, at certain points on this trip, we would need to defer our peripatetic inclination and revert to normality.

What does normality mean for these two budget travellers? 

Unpacking our heavy backpacks, having our own fridge where stuff won't get stolen, not having to work out a route for the following week, no trudging around looking for cheap digs for the night, a well-equipped kitchen of our own so we can cook for more than fifteen minutes without someone else trying to, no 15-hour night buses, having clean and folded clothes in a wardrobe, not having a social area pumping out shit dance music until 1 a.m., not having to store our valuables in tiny flimsy lockers, being able to walk around all day in our underwear, a ban on Latino music, Radio 4 or music made before the 80s playing in the background, a shower with reliable hot water. And, most importantly, bottomless cups of tea.

That little rant (trust me, I was holding back) may make it sound like we hate travelling; that couldn't be further from the truth. But, on a two-year trip through Latin America on a tight budget of £15 each, you can certainly grow very tired of certain aspects of it. 

Just as an office worker will crave their two-week holiday to foreign climes away from the chores of home life, long-term backpackers will crave a two-week holiday which brings them back to the 'ordinary' life.

The mundane and routine of home life suddenly becomes shiny and craved after.

We started our research into renting in Lima but, in a moment of divine intervention, we received an e-mail that day from Trusted Housesitters notifying us of a house sitting opportunity in Santiago, Chile. 

A home of our own for six weeks. Two gorgeous dogs to care for, play with and take on long walks. Somewhere to snuggle up during the cold South American winter nights. Time to rest, recuperate, sign up for a gym and work on our website full-time for the first time in, well, since we created and launched it. The opportunity to discover a big city piece by piece. 

It sounded perfect. 

And, from our cosy little office in Santiago, this is where I'm writing. Unpacked, with a fridge full of food, two dogs curled up in their baskets in front of me and a cup of hot milky tea by my side.

Home is where you make it, no matter how temporarily. 

house sitting in snatiago

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