I went to Botswana and did nothing. Here’s why.

Writing from 24.628° S, 25.923° E

Have you ever been so burned out that you retreated to your room and spent a whole day alone? What about five days?

I am a social introvert. I love being around people (to a certain extent), but my way to recharge is absolutely alone time — without it, I go crazy.

Growing up, I took it for granted. My older brother and I never had to share a room. Even once my dad remarried and I gained three awesome younger stepbrothers, I still had my own space. I’ve only had to share once in my life, as a freshman in college living in a dorm. I’ve been very privileged.

Over the past 7 months, I have only had my own room once: at a budget hotel near the Dar es Salaam airport, when I was en route to Cape Town.

Now, as usual, I’d like to clarify that I am not complaining — I love my life of travel, and consistently being around people is a trade-off I am more than willing to make. Most of the time I love it, but sometimes I just need “me time.” Don’t we all?

That brings me to Botswana.

After my family — dad, stepmom, and three younger stepbrothers — headed home from our 10-day trip around South Africa (thanks for coming!), I hopped on a flight to Gaborone, the sleepy capital of Botswana that was conveniently located between Johannesburg (where I ended with my family) and Windhoek (where my overland tour would begin). I purposefully booked an Airbnb with great wifi, and was planning on lots of alone time and playing catch-up for work.

To be fair, there isn’t a whole lot to do in the city of Gaborone in terms of sightseeing. Even if there was, though, I still would have taken time off and wouldn’t have felt even slightly guilty about it.

Running around nonstop isn’t sustainable forever — that’s true for everyone, not just introverts like myself.

I spent five days in Botswana and I only left my house for one of them.

I don’t feel guilty and I don’t regret it. I got lots of work done and felt rejuvenated after 6 months of sharing a room + a 10-day family vacation. It got me ready for my upcoming overland tour and summer in Europe. It’s the perfect example of my favorite feature of solo travel: I did exactly what I wanted to and didn’t have to ask anyone for permission.

On the one day I went exploring, I visited a farmer’s market, a few cafes, and walked along the Gaborone Main Mall. It was Easter weekend so the city was dead quiet — exactly what I needed.

While this is certainly relevant for long-term travelers like myself, it’s applicable to all of us:

Taking care of ourselves (in a way that’s right for us) is the most important thing we can do. Our mental health and sanity depends on it.

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