How do you know when a new country has become home? You get bored.
The thing about traveling is that you are always moving, always trying something new, always in a state of transition. There is no constant change, however, when you move abroad. You put down roots even if it’s just for a year or two. Roots are required to balance the day-to-day requirements of inhabiting a location. Eventually the newness and sense of adventure wear off, and you are left feeling a little . . . well . . . bored.
I hit this phase many times in Linyi. Usually a quick trip to Qufu (birthplace of Confucius) or Qingdao (seaside city) would chase away the doldrums. For the first time, I’ve hit that phase in Hong Kong. I’m still trying to figure out how to chase away the doldrums while balancing schoolwork.
It took me a long time to get bored in Hong Kong. There are so many things to do. When I was traveling through, I made each trip dedicated to another aspect of the city. My first trip was purely about sightseeing. My second trip had a heavy emphasis on shopping. Finally, my third trip was all about clubbing with my at-the-time boyfriend. There is still so much to see, do, and eat in Hong Kong. I just can’t get up the energy or time to do it all. I officially have the doldrums.
There isn’t anything inherently wrong with home doldrums. It’s what allows us to curl up on the couch to Netflix all three seasons of Game of Thrones (The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Gossip Girl, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead). It’s what allows us to settle down and enjoy home cooked meals. It’s what allows us to stop stressing about daily schedules and mapping out how to get around. It’s balance.
Balance, on the other hand, sometimes needs to be turned on its head. Getting unbalanced by a new place, food, or activity can refresh our creativity and renew our daily efforts. It also keeps our brains from shriveling up into a binge-TV-watching pile of dust. I need to find something to know me for a little bit of a loop.
Thankfully I don’t have to think hard about where to go or what to do to get rid of the doldrums this time. As soon as I returned from the States, I joined a gym, visited a new church, bought new furniture, and made plans with some friends. Getting out there more should chase them away pretty quickly.
What are some of your suggestions for chasing away doldrums? Have you ever felt like you just need to get out of town for a while?