The romantic notion of travel is that wherever you go, you are spellbound by new sights and sounds, without any possibility of becoming tired or bored. The reality most travelers recognize, is that even the most majestic locations or exciting journeys have their lulls. The first hour spent on an 18 hour bus journey is, indeed, captivating. But by hour 12, you’re often on a tight rotation of sleeping, eating and keeping your mind busy. Here we take a look at some of the tried and true ways to get the most out of the downtime that accompanies slow travel.
Playing games is the perennial pass-time, and for good reason. Whether you’re traveling solo, or with friends, few things are quite as diverting as playing an entertaining game. One tried and true method is to carry a deck of cards on you. With these you can play a whole host of games, from bridge to solitaire, or even a game of poker if you can find people to play with. There are also travel versions of many popular board-games that can pack down easily into your bag, such as Scrabble, or even Chess.
Of course if you have the battery to spare, there’s also an endless variety of different games now available at your fingertips thanks to our trusty smartphones. There are high octane thrills in racing games such as Asphalt 9, brain testing puzzlers like The Eyes of Ara and even classic casino titles like online roulette available among the roster of over half a billion games currently available on the Android and iOS ecosystems.
Finally, there are a series of games you will remember from your past that seem to exist specifically to curtail boredom on long or difficult journeys, like Eye-spy, or the colored vehicle game – where you compete with a friend to spot cars of a certain color out of the window. We’re not promising you the world with that last suggestion, but it might buy you an hour!
In our busy world, it can be difficult to find the time and space to sit down with a good book and really sink into it. Fortunately, when traveling, you’re a captive audience. As such, long journeys can be the perfect opportunity to permit yourself some mammoth reading sessions. Whether that’s finishing off one you’ve been ignoring since last month, or launching into a brand new book, there are few better opportunities for reading, especially as it requires no battery power to enjoy.
It’s not uncommon, given the size of some books and the distance of some journeys, to read a whole book cover to cover in the time it takes you to reach your destination. If that’s how you want to play it, we’re not judging at all.
For those who do have a good power situation going, be that with the benefit of a power-bank, or access to mains power, you can also explore the world of audiobooks. These have certain advantages over their paper siblings, as they can help you drown out a potentially unpleasant soundscape, as well as freeing up your hands and eyes for other tasks. They also don’t require a light source, which can be tricky to find at times.
Traveling is as much a process of reflection and growth, as it is the act of moving physically from one place to another. Capturing crucial insights and reflections you’ve had as you travel is a great way to memorialize your experiences, put your thoughts into order and practice self-care. Long journeys can be a good moment to catch up on your journaling, as the in-between space created while in transit can be a very productive psychological window to contextualize your experiences in your previous location, as well as to consider and look at what comes next on your journey. This can take the form of a “dear diary”, but can just as easily be a list of bullet points of particularly memorable moments or thoughts.