Why Overlanding Can Be Exhausting and Why Rest is Deserved

Overlanding can be both exhilarating and exhausting. From the thrill of exploring new places to the stress of navigating unfamiliar off-road trails, the rigors of travel can often take a toll on the body, mind, and spirit. In this article, I'll explain why overlanding can be so exhausting, and why it's essential to include a break. 

So if you're a seasoned explorer or just starting on your first journey, consider the following:  

1. Packing and unpacking the rig for base camp is sometimes redundant.  And no matter how often I practice, the setup still takes time and physical energy – which can be especially taxing after a long day of driving. Let's not forget outdoor meal prep is tuckering as well.  As much as I love big overlanding trips, it’s important to take breaks during long-term adventures to fully recharge and rest up.

2. Planning for a long stretch of highway that only leads to an offroad trail takes mental stamina. I generally consider how I'm getting there, what route to take, where to camp, safety, etc. Even with all this effort put in ahead of time, overlanding itself can still come with surprises. A missed turn or a flat tire can add hours onto the expected trip length, or create a situation where I'm unsafe. All these scenarios can take a toll on my mental health, leading to exhaustion and frustration.

3. At times the destination is not what I expected and so feelings of disappointment are inevitable. The situation can become further complicated when coupled with exhaustion from long drives, being alone, and dealing with unfamiliar biomes. When abroad, I'm in a vulnerable state as removed from a regular social support system that provides stability, comfort, and a sense of connecting in everyday life. This emotional toll can be a real test of the spirit. It’s also important to remember that no matter where I am in the world, the emotional needs I have at home don’t change - it’s still important to spend quality time with people who care about me. Taking moments to practice my faith during trips can help manage the emotional stressors that come with travel and remind me never to lose the spirit of overlanding.

Plan to pace not race. Overlanding can be a great way to see the world but can also be exhausting. Packing everything up, driving long hours, adjusting to different climates, dealing with unforeseen problems, and simply being in a vehicle for days or weeks on end can take its toll on the body, mind, and spirit.  

Protip: Reserve comfort spots to recharge and renew. For example, I treat myself to creature comforts in between long exploration periods to give myself a chance to process everything I’ve been through. These periodic stops also provide opportunities for necessary food, fuel, and supply shopping. After all, if I'm going to make it from one end of the road to the other, I need rest stops that allow the time and energy to do it.

An example to view is: Cabin & Chapel 


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