Wednesday, 25 April 2018

What is travel fatigue and how to overcome them?

Have you ever felt constantly tired after a period of travelling? The initial excitement of going on a particular trip has worn off and you cannot bring yourself to explore yet another must-go touristic site? Do you suddenly feel that all the places you are visiting looked more or less the same and cannot help but wonder why you want to visit all of them in the first place? Are you puzzled over how much you preferred sleeping in over going for the walking tour that you had signed up for with much enthusiasm at the start of the trip? Are you already sick and tired of the local foods and delicacies whose photos had never fail to make you drool while you were planning the trip? Do you just wish that you are back at home now? Well, all these could be signs of travel fatigue, a point in time during your travel when your mind is suffering from information overload coupled with the physical exhaustion of the travel which eventually leads to the body shutting down emotionally.

I, for one, have fallen victim to travel fatigue several times. Believe me when I say that I love to travel, to explore and experience the different cultures all over the world, to taste the local delicacies, to see the many wonderful man-made architectural wonders as well as to immerse in the beauty of Mother Nature. However, despite my love for travelling, I too, am not spared from the clutches of travel fatigue.

So, are there any remedies for travel fatigue? Well, as travel fatigue affects everyone in many different ways, with its onset and duration varying among different individuals, it is important to slow down and observe when and how one starts to feel its onset. Targeted approaches can then be applied to overcome it. For me, my strategies to overcome travel fatigue can be expressed by the acronym P.R.E.S.S.:

Prevent the possibilities of developing travel fatigue

I have always believed in the notion “prevention is better than cure”. Hence, after a few episodes of struggling with travel fatigue, I figured out there is a need to identify my triggers for travel fatigue and to prevent them from occurring. For one, I noticed that I tend to fall prey to travel fatigue with an increase in the duration of my trip. After a few trial and error, I finally figured out that a short trip covering only one location might be better for me as compared to a two weeks long trip covering multiple destinations. The need to adjust and adapt to different systems in different countries over and over again in the same trip proved that it could get quite overwhelming for me at times. This often resulted in me seeing things in a blur and not enjoying the trip at all! Hence, for now, my husband and I have opted to do weekend trips to just one particular location each time more frequently. We found ourselves enjoying our trips much more after making this change.

Other than shortening the duration of our trip, we also looked at other aspects that would aid us in preventing the onset of travel fatigue. The two most prominent aspects were making sure we had proper rest and ensuring we had adequate nutrition prior to the trip. In the past, I used to spend quite a bit of time trying to perfect my trip itinerary (often at the expense of my sleeping and meal timings) and I would end up feeling mentally and physically exhausted at the start of the trip. The exhaustion coupled with the sudden influx of external stimuli and having to rapidly adapting to changes during the trip often resulted in two scenarios: (1) my body slowing shutting down emotionally in response to all these stimuli = onset of travel fatigue; and (2) my immune system cracking under all these pressure = me falling sick during the trip = instant trigger for travel fatigue! Hence, in order to prevent all these from happening, I have learnt to take things easy and to give priority to good rest and good nutrition prior to a trip!


So what happens when we still suffer from travel fatigue despite all the preventive measures taken prior to the trip? Relax is the key! What better way to overcome the mental stress of trying to figure out how things works, navigating our way around in a foreign land and struggling with language barrier during a trip than to take it easy and learn to relax? As a perfectionist, I tend to want to make sure that I covered all the places that I had identify prior to a trip and this has undeniably caused me much unnecessary mental stress. Over time (and with constant reminder from my dear husband), I soon start to learn to relax and to go with the flow of things without getting all fussed up and obsessed over my itinerary. By learning to take things easy, not only have I reduced the probability of a bout of travel fatigue, I have also had the time to really observe and immerse myself in the culture and way of life of the places that I am visiting. That, to me, is without a doubt how travelling should be!


Food is an important element of a society and in order to learn more about the culture of a place, we often made it a point to try out the local delicacies during our travels. However, food preference is still after all very subjective and undeniably, there were instances when the local foods were not to our liking or we became quite blasé to the local cuisine after a while. So, when that happens, do we not eat at all? Well, it is definitely not wise to do so. Travelling itself can be quite strenuous and food is important to provide us with the energy to continue with our exploration. Without proper nutrition, physical exhaustion would soon be joined by travel fatigue. Worse still, when I suffer from travel fatigue, my appetite drops further and soon, a vicious cycle starts to form and the fatigue would just worsen with time. In the past, whenever we got sick of trying out the local cuisines coupled with the fact that we needed more time to cover all the places that we had planned for the day, my husband and I would just forgo lunch just so that we make it to all the various touristic sites. However, we did find that this arrangement usually get us down in no time. We have since made it a point to have proper meals during our trips and are enjoying ourselves more than ever! We have also now made it a point to always bring some familiar snacks or instant foods with us to satisfy our picky taste buds for instances when the local food is not to our liking. To us, a trip can only be truly enjoyable when our tummies are filled and body fuelled with the energy and nourishment from food!


Sleep is very important to my husband and I. Poor sleep often resulted in our brains not being alert enough to react promptly when required and causes a lot of mental stress over time and this coupled with the physical exhaustion from inadequate rest often triggers the onset of travel fatigue for us! Hence, for all our travels, we usually opt for travel accommodations that can allow us to sleep comfortably at night to prepare ourselves for the long day of exploration the next day. For travels where jet lag is unavoidable, we also try not to pack too much into our itinerary for the first few days as priority is always given for our body to have the proper rest that it needs!

Slow down your itinerary

What good will come out of sticking to a fully packed and rushed itinerary when one is starting to feel the onset of a travel fatigue? We have figured out (the hard way) that there is no point in doing so as we will only be going through the motion of checking off places on the list and not enjoying the sightseeing at all! Slowing down on our itinerary seems to have a positive effect on overcoming travel fatigue for us. At the very onset of a travel fatigue, we will usually slow down our pace, put aside our itinerary and find a nice cafe to just sit and chill (sometimes even at the expense of having to give up visiting one or more of the touristic sites on our list). We found this method to be very effective as we will be ready and more enthusiastic for more exploration after that and the sense of enjoyment for the rest of the trip actually increases as well!

So, for me, “P.R.E.S.S.” is the way to overcome travel fatigue. How about you? What are some of the methods that you found useful in combating travel fatigue? Feel free to share with all of us in the comment section below! :)

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What are your considerations when it comes to choosing accommodations for your travels?

Wednesday, 18 April 2018


  • Malta is beautiful in summer, but I will probably revisit this place in spring or autumn - the summer heat is really unbearable!
Quaint little cafe on the charming streets of Valletta :)

  • If only there is a metro train system connecting the different parts of Malta....
Colorful doors!

  • Why is it so difficult for us to buy bottled water in Valletta???
My water ration...

  • Five days is probably too short a duration to cover all the interesting places in Malta..
Love the uniqueness of the buildings here...

  • There is a certain charm to the narrow alleys in Valletta!
Charming little alley...

  • There were hardly any trees to provide us with the shade that we desperately needed on these hot summer days...*sweat*
All I can see is land...

  • The locals are actually a very warm and friendly group of people, though they may look very stern at first glance ;P
Just strolling...

  • I have had the best KFC in Malta!

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Dear Diary.....Comino Island

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Dear Diary.....Comino Island

Dear Diary,

On this bright and sunny day, my husband and I woke up feeling all hyped up and excited about our trip to Comino Island. The ride to and fro on board a cruise ship was included in our ExplorePlus tallinja card and we could not wait to utilise this perk! It was also on this day that we reckoned we could finally take a nice break from all the walking - to just enjoy ourselves on board and take in the beautiful view sailing on the crystal clear waters of Malta! Well, let’s just say that it was not as relaxing as we had expected...

The small ship from Valletta to Silema

The cruise ship that will bring us to Comino island was by the company “Captain Morgan”. We were told to board the ship at Silema and to get there, we had to take the Valletta ferry service - a short boat ride between the Valletta harbour and Silema harbour. The “Captain Morgan” cruise ship departs from Silema daily at 10am, cruising pass several harbour bays and finally docking at Comino’s famous blue Lagoon where there will be an allocated free time for us to either sunbath/swim at the blue lagoon region or to head inland to explore the island. The cruise ship will then depart from Comino Island at 4.30pm and bring us back to Silema.

Our "Captain Morgan" cruise ship...

As we only had this particular day to venture to Comino island, we most certainly did not want to miss the ship. Hence, we headed off from Valletta much earlier than was required. It turned out to be a great decision as there were some confusion over which cruise ship to board. There were just too many “Captain Morgan” ships docked at Silema harbour! After a while of asking around, we finally found our cruise ship. As it was a free-seating arrangement, we decided to make our way to the open-air upper deck of the ship and found ourselves comfortable seats in a corner with a great view of the sea. Soon, crowds of people started to stream in and fill the ship. After a delay of almost 30 minutes, we finally set sail for Comino island. Prior to departure, we were told that there will be an audio commentary highlighting to us the various landmarks that we will pass by during the 2 hours journey. Unfortunately, it was quite noisy at the upper deck and we could hardly hear the commentary. In the end, we gave up trying to figure out what was said and just admired the nice sea view and the cooling sea breeze on this hot summer day.

Halfway through the journey, we started seeing people heading to the lower deck and arriving back up again with cups of drinks and it was only when a Spanish lady sitting next to us explained that we were entitled to a free flow of drinks that we understood what was going on. We also heaved a sigh of relief as we can finally break free from having to ration our water supply! Did I mention that it was a nightmare trying to buy bottled water in Valletta? There was even one night when we were so desperate for water that we tried drinking tap water - bad idea as the mineral taste of the tap water was too much for us to handle! There were not many major supermarkets spread out across Malta as do most cities that we had visited. For the rare few mini-marts that we came across, they were always closed as we were either there too early in the morning or too late at night. What a bummer! Well, it was good thing that we now had free flow of drinks on board to keep us hydrated on this hot day!

The lunch...with extra protein added....

We arrived at Comino island at around noon time and were given instruction to head to the lower deck to get our lunch. We were expecting a cold buffet spread but it was nothing like it at all! By the time we got to the lower deck, there was already a long queue for the food. Each of us was given a plate and the ship crew would dish out some pasta, a slice of ham and some bread onto our plates. Carefully guarding the miserable plate of food that took great efforts to obtain, we soon found a seat at the lower deck and started tucking into our food. To my horror, halfway through, I actually found a huge bee trapped under the pile of pasta! Horrified and filled with disgust, I hurriedly pushed the plate out of sight and at the same time, struggling to stop myself from kicking my husband who had jokingly commented that I had extra protein added! Thankfully, we have had the habit of bringing snacks with us wherever we go and it was at that instant that I was extremely grateful for that extra weight in our bags!

Another reason for us to get away from the blue lagoon...

After that unpleasant lunch episode, my husband and I just wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle on the ship. We soon found ourselves on the island, armed with only two small bottles of water, a few snacks and a small guide book on Comino island (which was on loan from our Airbnb host). The land was mostly barren with not much shade from the scorching sun and we decided to follow one of the faint walking paths. Apart from the massive crowd found at the blue lagoon, the other parts of this island are very quiet and surreal. There were literally no one else in sight other than us - it was hardly a surprise coming from the fact that there are only 3 permanent residents on this island! We were feeling both glad (that we are finally away from all the noise) and anxious (at being the only two humans in that pathway) as we explored the place. As we were expected to be back at the ship by 4pm, we spent the next 2.5 hours walking along the foot path (occasionally deviating slightly from it and ended up getting lost), taking lots of photos, enjoying each other’s company on this empty piece of land and just enjoying the view all around the island. Despite the fatigue and sun burn from the walk, it was truly an enjoyable walking trip in what seems like a place of our own!

Literally no one else in sight on the island..

Santa Marija Battery

Santa Marija Tower

Lovely clear waters surrounding the island..

Such scenic views...

Overall, we felt that although there were quite a few issues with the cruise ship provider that did not quite meet up to our expectations, having a positive mindset and outlook has enabled us to enjoy it nonetheless! At the end of the day, the gorgeous view of the crystal clear blue water around Comino island seems to have the magical effect of making everything seemed worthwhil- certainly ending our Malta trip on an excellent note! :)

Yours Truly,

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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Dear Diary.....Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Archaeological Park + Blue Wall and Grotto viewpoint (Malta)

Dear Diary,

The second highlight of our Malta tour brings us to the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Archaeological Park, a place that we had identified as one of the must-go places for this trip. So what is the deal with this park? Well, a quick goggle revealed that this park is an archaeological site that comprises of the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra megalithic temple complexes, built out of massively large stones. What is fascinating about this site is that these prehistoric temples had been claimed as the oldest free-standing structures on Earth (dated as far back as possibility between 3600 - 3200 BC) and that they are still so well preserved. Furthermore, it had been discovered that one of the prehistoric chambers of the Hagar Qim temple complex holds an elliptical hole which is in alignment with the Summer Solstice sunrise - on the first sunrise of the summer, the sun’s rays can pass through this hole and illuminate a stone slab inside the chamber.

Hagar Qim temple complex

On our arrival to the actual site, we were glad to be able to seek refuge from the hot summer sun at the ticketing office. There were hardly any queue and we managed to purchase our admission tickets (which allowed access to the two temple complex sites and the visitor center) in no time. Happily, we were ushered into one of the air-conditioned theater where a 3-dimensional animation gave us a brief history and hypothesis of the functions of the temples. Walking out from the theater, we were allowed to roam around in the visitor center which provided posters with more written facts and miniature models of the temples. Our relief from the blazing sun was short-lived as we made our way to the first site - the Hagar Qim temple complex, located a short distance from the visitor center, on a hilltop that is to the south-west of the village of Qrendi and overlooking the sea and the islet of Fifla. Although the open-sided shelter protecting the site provided some shade from the harsh sun rays, the smoldering heat of the summer sun could still be felt. However, despite having to deal with the unwelcoming weather, my husband and I were in awe by what we saw - the neat formation of the gigantic stones created a very majestic aura and we could only imagine how grand it must have been back then when it was still a functional temple. We spent quite a bit of time at this site, appreciating and marveling at the ingenuity behind the creation of the different areas of the temple complex.

Miniature model of Hagar Qim temple Complex

Huge stones of Hagar Qim temple

Entrance of Hagar Qim temple

One of the chambers of Hagar Qim temple

The long passageway to Mnajdra temple complex

After we are done exploring the Hagar Qim temple complex, we made our way to the Mnajdra temple complex that lies just 500 meters away, at the bottom of the hill. The two sites were connected by a long passageway and although we could have easily paid a small fee to hitch a ride on the buggy to the entrance of the Mnajdra temple complex, we decided to make our way there by foot. Bad idea! It was literally the worst decision made as we felt every bit of our body melting under the hot sun with each step that we took. After what seems like an eternity, we finally reached the Mnajdra temple complex. It had a much simpler design as compared to Haga Qim temple complex but it was still awe-inspiring nonetheless.

Miniature model of Mnajdra temple complex
Entrance of Mnajdra temple

Overview of Mnajdra temple

One of the chambers of Mnajdra temple
Large stones of Mnajdra temple

Walking through these two archaeological sites, it was as if we were taken back in time and we cannot help but marvel at this wonderful creation while at the same time pondering over who, how and why were these temples built for. We finally understood why this park has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the reason for its fame as one of the more popular places to visit in Malta!

One of the view seen from the Blue Wall and Grotto viewpoint

Still in a daze from the visit to the Hagar Qim and Mnajdra Archaeological Park, we proceed to make our way to the Blue Wall and Grotto viewpoint, a short 10 minutes bus ride from the park. However, the supposedly shortest journey of the day turned out to be the most frustrating one. The unbearable heat in this super hot afternoon had already drained away most of our energy and we were so looking forward to feeling the cooling breeze of the air-conditioning on the bus but for some reason that day, the bus was delayed. After 1 hour of wait, some of those waiting with us for the bus decided to take the 30 minutes walk under the hot sun to the Blue Wall and Grotto viewpoint. My husband and I decided to follow suit after waiting for close to 1.5 hours and bid farewell to those who continued to wait at the bus-stop. But as we walked towards the halfway mark, the bus which we had waited for so dearly suddenly appeared and we could only watch helplessly as the bus zoomed past, with those passengers whom we had left behind at the bus-stop waving at us with huge smirks on their faces. It was at that moment that both of us wanted to beat ourselves up for not enduring it and waited for a bit longer for the bus. But nevertheless, we decided to press on with our walk and we were greeted with a wonderful and gorgeous scenery when we reached the viewpoint - a small consolation to our weary hearts and a huge relief to all the frustrations that we faced to get there!

View from the Blue Wall and Grotto viewpoint

It was also at this point that we realized it was going to be quite difficult to cover all the touristic sites that we have planned to do on this short trip to Malta. Why is that so, you may ask? Well, it all boils down to the fact that the bus journey to and fro these places takes up far too much time (duration ranged from a minimum of 30 minutes up to 2 hours) and any delays in the arrival of the public bus is going to further lengthen the commute duration. We would have to think through our itinerary again for the next few days and be selective about where to explore. But for now at the end of this day, all we want to do is to have a nice shower and a good night’s rest....

Yours Truly,


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