I was just about burned out from a combination of work, stress and a general lack of looking after myself, and I needed something to redress that balance quickly. As always, travel provided the answer. Just as the Alpine Sports Week in Tirol invigorated my muscles and my body, the fresh alpine air and picture postcard scenery of the Wilder Kaiser region rejuvenated my soul and replenished my health and wellbeing at a time when it was really needed.
This is a paid article written in partnership with the Austrian National Tourist Office and the Wilder Kaiser Tourist Board, with products or services supplied by them. Full editorial integrity is maintained at all times. The views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.
I have been travelling the world now for over twenty years, with plenty of gap years and snap years under my belt, one stint of long term nomadic travel with no fixed end and countless short breaks. So it’s pretty fair to say I know the value of a good work life balance.
Since gaining my second degree as a nurse my lust for travel never stopped, and I have managed to maintain that career by working for a short period of time and then travelling the rest of the year. Normally I manage that pretty well. I have to. Nursing is not a career that is easy on the soul.
Only this time I had allowed my period at work to go on too long, and let it get far too stressful.
Too Much Work.
For anyone who thinks that the life of a travel blogger is just about hopping from one tropical island to the next or exploring an endless string of exotic locations, they are in for a shock when they see just how much work goes into building what is essentially a small business, and I have been putting a lot of effort into travel writing lately on top of my day job, because I am not just a travel writer, I am also a charge nurse, and with that comes a mandatory obligation to complete so many worked hours every year to keep my professional pin relevant and legal.
So combine those two factors together, and for the past few months give or take I have been putting in a lot of hours in work, too many, and my health was beginning to suffer as a result.
This normally isn’t much of a problem as I said I normally manage to work roughly half of the year and travel the rest (not always all together), but for the past few months I have been ignoring my own personal rule of work life balance and just as badly I have also been letting my fitness levels slide by not exercising. My whole health and wellbeing was freefalling into a chasm of stress, overwork, way too much junk food and general ill health.
I’m a nurse dammit! More than that I am a long time backpacker, one who is normally inherently predisposed to pulling a sickie from work and going on an adventure whenever the mood takes me!
So what the hell had I been thinking? I should know better that to let my work life balance get so screwed up!
But for the past few months I have ignored all of my own advice. I’d fallen into the very same trap that I so often advise and warn against. I had worked too hard, not taken any time off, not exercised. Worst of all I had been ignoring the incessant and addictive call of my own wanderlust.
I Needed To Get Away Again. I Needed To Travel.
So when the timely invitation to the Alpine Sports Week in the Wilder Kaiser region of Austria crossed my desk, the answer was obvious, and I found myself accepting before I had even finished reading the invitation!
It was just what I needed. As always, travel was providing me with the fuel I needed to get through life, it was giving me an actual purpose, a reason for being, reminding me that I was here to experience life in all its wonderful variety and see as much of the planet as I can before it is too late. Even the simple act of throwing my backpack onto my back again felt like a soothing balm to an aching wound. It felt as if the weight of the last few months of work was lifting off my shoulders.
For any traveller, any forced period of stillness can eventually feel like a prison, but with my pack on and my plane ticket in hand I was free again! My backpack was my file in a cake, my getaway car, my get out of jail free card!
I Was Travelling Again! I Was Free!
And Austria provided me with some of the most spectacularly picturesque natural scenery to escape to that I have ever seen.
The simple act of arriving in Austria felt like another huge booster shot to my depleted wellbeing. Tyrol in Austria is one of the most beautifully stunning regions on the planet, and the Wilder Kaiser region is awe inspiring.
Simply being in a completely new environment was enough to start recharging my wellbeing, and the fact that it was so picture postcard beautiful was an absolute bonus but one that made the effect of the boost all the more potent. I felt instantly happier, immediately more relaxed and stress free. Being outdoors, breathing in the crisp mountain air and seeing the stunning vistas of Tirol was enough to instantly dismiss any negativity from my mind and force me to concentrate on the positive.
I was travelling again, back to my natural state of being. And it felt good!
There is a scientific basis for this. It isn’t just me waxing lyrical about the benefits of travel. There have been many studies that show how exercising and being outside can significantly raise the levels of the so called happiness hormones such as endorphins, dopamine and seratonin, and can stop many mental health problems such as depression in its tracks. In short, surrounding yourself in new, beautiful outdoor scenery genuinely makes you happy.
One Of The Many Benefits Of Regular Travel!
And if simply travelling somewhere new and being outdoors felt this good, just imagine how I would feel when I threw myself into the adventure activities that had been planned.
Exercise produces the exact same happiness hormones as being outside in a natural setting and then some. With the added benefits of increasing your cardio fitness, making you fitter and stronger, reducing body fat levels and increasing production of these hormones over the long term. It also helps reduce the levels of cortisol, one of the hormones responsible for stress, over the long term too.
This Is Why I Threw Myself Into The Austrian Alpine Sports Week.
With a range of activities from mountain biking, climbing, abseiling, canyoning, hiking and even ascending the via ferrata along the Wilder Kaiser on offer, I was in my element, like a kid in a sweet shop. I wanted to try it all and then some!
The Mountain or Alpine Sports Week is an event where travellers can experience six different mountain sports in six days. It is open to anyone, from experts to absolute beginners, and is run by a team of qualified guides and professionals that will take you and give you a taste of a range of amazing adventure activities.
I spent the week participating in as many adventure sports as the guides could lay on for me. Whatever they could throw at me I was up for trying.
And I loved every single minute.
Mountain biking down an actual mountain in the middle of the alps wasn’t just a unique and powerful experience, I got to stretch my legs – literally – and blow the cobwebs off my muscles whilst giving my cardio fitness a long overdue workout. The thinner mountain air had a bracing effect on my cardiovascular system and the adrenaline from speeding down a mountain trail with nothing but a pair of handlebar brakes to control your descent was invigorating.
Climbing, abseiling, hiking, all had the same effect and my whole body got a thorough workout before the week was done.
If anyone of you has experienced that feeling of utmost satisfaction after a normal workout, or that feeling of happy achievement after attaining a level of fitness you never thought you could, well that feeling is amplified tenfold when you experience it alongside the benefits of travel and the thrill of adventure activities.
A short time spent getting back to nature in a stunning part of Austria had helped realign my priorities, and the string of adventure sports had reawakened my dormant muscles. I felt rejuvenated. Alive. Happy.
I’d learned my lesson.
Travel More, Work Less. A Good Motto For Anyone.
The Alpine Sports Week takes place in June every year in the Wilder Kaiser region of Going, Ellmau, Scheffau or Soll.
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That sounds like such an amazing week, and what a beautiful place! Those pictures look amazing! I hope you feel better after your trip?
It was, it is beautiful there! And I do, thank you. 🙂
My backpack was the file in the cake…perfect. I feel exactly the same way 🙂
Haha thank you. It’s certainly an apt metaphor for how I felt at the time!
It looks unbelievably stunning there! I’m glad you felt better. It really is so important to get a work life balance, and what an amazing way you found to get it! I’ll have to look into booking a trip to Austria. 🙂
Totally agree with you. I can’t believe I let myself get overworked! Oh well, once in over 15 years isn’t too bad I suppose and the Alpine Sports Week was the perfect tonic for it! ;D
This sounds like a fantastic way to rejuvenate mind, body and spirit! Nothing quite like the great outdoors to soothe the soul 🙂
I completely agree, and especially if the outdoors are as beautiful as they are in Tirol!
Looks like a great way to unwind! I definitely think travel (no matter how long or short) takes you away from the stresses of daily life. I always feel re-energised after a trip and ready to take on the world again!
It totally was! I generally balance my work time and my travel time quite well, but I was really ready for my next adventure this time! Thanks for commenting. 🙂
“Even the simple act of throwing my backpack onto my back again felt like a soothing balm to an aching wound.” I can relate so much to this Mike, the simple fact of throwing my backpack onto my back gives me perspective. Im glad you’re feeling revitalized, Ive never heard of the Alpine Sports Week sounds awesome. Was it too crowded?
Thank you so much. No it wasn’t crowded at all. We were taken around by each guide for each adventure sport in small manageable groups. They are big on safety and said if there were any more they would need another guide anyway, so it was better to have small groups.
Totally agree that the combination of a job and keeping a travel blog can be very stressful indeed! That’s why I occasionally take some time back from writing, social media, …. to get in touch with the real world again 🙂 And in my case, travel usually calms the mind as well!
Couldn’t agree more Els! Thank you.
Looks amazing! I could so use that right now, my next trip isn’t until October..:( Although, I am persistently trying to plan some weekend getaways here and there! I would love to have a better work/travel balance and definitely need to work on that. Austria looks like an excellent place for an active vacation!
It really is! Austria is famous as an outdoor sport location, so much so even the British Army train there! But I know exactly what you mean, I’m normally good with my work life balance but this time I let it slide too much. Austria was just what I needed! Where is your next trip to?
Sounds like it was exactly what you needed, great photography!
Thank you very much. Yeah, the combination of amazing scenery and the exercise from the alpine sports was a real tonic!
What an inspiring post, thank you. I love how you manage to balance your career with your life and travel, it gives me a lot of hope that I can carry on traveling no matter what else I want to do with my life.
Thank you Alice! I appreciate that.
I feel like I’ve had a blast of Alpine air from just looking at your photos! It looks fantastic and what a bargain price.
Haha thank you! Believe me though, my photos don’t do Tirol any justice at all. And the price is absolutely unbelievable, you normally couldn’t get one activity and an experienced guide in most places for that!
Beautiful shots! I am the same way.. exhausted and tired, but when it comes to travel, I can go go go and it just reinvigorates me. I am home today after a 10 day road trip and feeling withdrawals! Nice to see your adventure to let me live vicariously!
Haha, well I’m happy to serve! There’s plenty more vicarious adventures coming up too!
This article was refreshing to read! Always important to get a good work / life balance, but it’s so easy to forget! And I LOVE the travel more, work less motto! Brilliant!
Thank you so much Amanda. It is a damn good motto to live by! Thanks for commenting.
Love this post! I can relate to so many things you said. Sometimes we let ourselves get out of balance with work/life/stress, but it’s good you recognized it and did what you know makes you happy. Austria looks gorgeous!
Thank you Jennifer! Recognizing the imbalance is absolutely key. So many people don’t. I think a lifetime of travel has taught me what to look out for, I’ll just have to make sure I don’t ignore it for so long next time. Thanks so much for the comment. 🙂
I have so much respect for you knowing that you’re both a charge nurse and running your blog full time – I have enough trouble just running my blog full time and that’s stressful enough! So glad you had such a fabulous time in Austria – I’ve been before though I haven’t managed to break into the adventurous activities scene over there….which is sad since I’m such a junkie for extreme sports!!
Sounds like I may just need to follow in your footsteps and plan a trip for the next time I burn out…which happens frequently lol!
Aw thank you. I normally set off travelling again long before any burn out sets in, I just let it carry on too long this time. And Austria was awesome, it is one of the premier places in the world for outdoor adventures! That’s why I liked the Alpine sports week too, it was a great way to experience a whole range of things in one week, like a taster course. You should definitely head over there if you get the chance!
Great post and pictures! I totally understand your feelings of being about to burn out, but it looks this getaway in Tirol was exactly what you needed! It looks like a great place to switch off and recover before coming back to the “cruel world“. Hope you got all the energy you needed!
I did, thank you! Travel has always managed to heal and revive me. I’ve just never let it get that far before! ;D
I’ve been wanting to visit Austria for some time now. If we are still in Europe next June, this sounds like a wonderful week–for body and mind!
It really is! Hope you get to visit next June! If you aren’t here, make sure you visit anyway, you may miss the Alpine Sports Week but you can still try these sports out anyway. 🙂
what a great read! so glad you found your sanity in your new adventure. the phrase you used “and blow the cobwebs off my muscles whilst giving my cardio fitness a long overdue workout” is exactly what i need to do. thanks for planting the seed.
Thank you Melody. Travel always has a way of redressing my sanity! I normally never leave my time away from it so long, hope you manage to set of on your own adventure soon.
I totally understand the work life balance. Beautiful photos. I love Austria.
Thank you. It is really important.
Wow, I didn’t know about Alpine Sports Week! Six mountain sports for €99 is an incredible value. I think I’ll need to plan a future trip to Austria around June. Thanks for all the helpful info.
You’re very welcome. It really is unbelievable value. Especially when you consider the beautiful surroundings you are doing them in. Thanks for the comment.
“For anyone who thinks that the life of a travel blogger is just about hopping from one tropical island to the next or exploring an endless string of exotic locations, they are in for a shock when they see just how much work goes into building what is essentially a small business”
This really sticks out to me now after 12 months creating and working on our blog. Everyone and their dog with a backpack seems to have one these days but, we went into it with the mindset that we were creating a sustainable and viable small business for ourselves, all whilst travelling 24/7 for 2 years. The amount of work, time and love that it needs really surprised us!
It surprises a lot of people. 🙂
Great thing to remember! i need this travel more, work less in my life right now! we are planning on getting away as soon as possible but this rat-race is just sucking us in!
It does have a habit of doing that. The trick is to recognise when the balance is tipping and redress it in time. It’s not always easy. Travel for me is always the perfect tonic.
I’m glad you find your balance. Travel has that power, it’s really about finding ourselves out there!
Now I’m REALLY interested in taking that trip, it would be a great introduction to mountain landscapes which i haven’t explored much. Too bad I have to wait another year… Do they only make it in June?
Thanks Bruno, yes as far as I know this specific week is only every June. But you can still go and try out the mountain adventures at any time in the summer season (and parts of the winter season too depending what you want to do as some of it such as canyoning and the via feratta is weather permitting). Tirol and the Wilder Kaiser region is stunning, and it is very easy to head there and arrange it all then. I totally recommend you do it! ;D
I loved this: “My backpack was my file in a cake, my getaway car, my get out of jail free card!” I don’t backpack, but I totally got that! I really need a do-nothing getaway soon!
Thank you Tami, well there’s nothing stopping you from taking one! 😉