How I Avoid Homestead Burnout

We are back from vacation, and it was so, so wonderful.  Honestly, some of the most perfect days – a mixture of gorgeous weather, good friends, family, amazing food, beautiful beach days, ocean life (dolphins, seals, a blue whale!!!), our kids trying new things like boogie boarding and snorkeling – all in the magical place where my husband and I met and fell in love.

Toyon-Ella Toyon-Ev Toyon-Fog

As we got ready for our trip, my personal stress level was very high. Packing for vacation is always challenging, but this time I felt particularly harried about getting the homestead ready for us to leave it in the hands of a (very capable) housesitter.  My garden was getting decimated by cabbage worms, rabbits, and drought; our “water catchment” system has not been refilled by rain in weeks, making us resort to filling up barrels at friends’ houses; Brian was hand-toting hundreds of gallons of water from the pond so we could keep plants and trees alive; and to top it off, it was 90+ degrees.  Add in rehearsals, work deadlines, two young children, and you can see how it might feel a little overwhelming.

But, thankfully, as soon as we boarded the train, my worries about our homestead evaporated, as they always do when I go away.  On our 40 hour train ride, we read books (The Man Who Quit Money and New Dawn on Rocky Ridge), listened to Sparkle Stories, watched the scenery, ate, and just recharged.  When we were on Catalina, I left my phone in our room and just played.  (It’s why I have hardly any photos!).  And when we were hanging out with my awesome sister-in-law Lynne, we just basked in her incredible hosting.

Recently, while lurking on a popular homesteading Facebook page, I read a heated discussion about balancing travel and homesteading.  There were MANY of the opinion that when you have a homestead, you should be content to stay home; that travel and homesteading simply do not mix. Of course there were some good arguments – experienced homestead sitters are hard to find and can be expensive to hire, your homestead is likely more lovely than your travel destination – but there was also a hint of judgement in some of the comments as well, suggesting that those that like to travel are just not cut out for the homesteading life.

I completely disagree with this sentiment. As much as I love my homestead with all my heart, the way I avoid homestead burnout is by leaving.  I have to get away to recharge, to be able to come back with fresh eyes and say, “Look at all we have accomplished here.” Having not done any travel all summer, it was hard to gain this perspective, and I was getting a bit mired in self-criticism for not having a bigger, better garden, or canning more, etc.

Coming back home can be a bit rocky. There are many moments where I wish to be beachfront, sipping a cocktail and eating scallops at my favorite seafood restaurant.  But a few days into our homecoming, now that I’m finally unpacked, I can envision a cold frame for fall greens, and think about planting garlic, and plot where our new sheet mulched garden should be.  I am recharged and ready to approach the next few months with renewed vision.



8 thoughts on “How I Avoid Homestead Burnout

  1. It does the body good to get away even if it’s only a weekend. My husband and I are going camping this weekend to do just that, step back evaluate what needs to be done before winter and reflect on the accomplishments of the summer. We all need to recharge and sometimes even a day away to refocus helps us enjoy the life we have. Don’t allow criticism know matter how well intended to rob you of a change of scenery once in a while. Glad you had a nice vacation.

  2. I can not get over that there was a heated discussion about balancing travel and homesteading. Why do others care how another may do things? Who’s more of a homesteader then the next?

    I say, Live your own life to the fullest, to be the best YOU you can be. Take a getaway when needed. I try to stay clear for those crazy heated discussion boards.
    Hope you had a wonderful time.

  3. Hi, I’ve been catching up on your posts! As for the debate between homesteaders and vacationers, I think there are some people who just enjoy making waves, like little kids at the beach. The kids aren’t happy unless they make the biggest splash with the loudest swish. Unfortunately, there are too many kids who carry this behavior into adulthood. It’s actually one of the reasons I’ve turned into a bit of a hermit!! I would much rather stay at home and spend my time in the garden as opposed to walking through town, meeting arrogantly individualistic people who seem to believe they are experts at everything under the sun. Anyway, I’m very happy for you that you were able to enjoy your family vacation. Your cottage seems to be coming along beautifully, and I love how your kids have so much life and laughter in their smiles. You’re a source of inspiration to me!

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