You carry your heavy backpack through the threshold of the front door, nonchalantly throw your bag on the floor and sit on the sofa. At first your surroundings feel reassuringly comfortable. You know where everything is, the toilet is clean and you can make yourself a cup of tea whenever you want. The first few days are bliss. You enjoy hot, long baths and walk the familiar streets eating familiar food that you missed when travelling. At first your friends are so excited to meet you but after a few weeks the novelty wears off. Things are like they always were, boring.
And you crave adventure.
At first coming back from a big trip or even a short trip can feel amazing, as the old adage goes ‘there’s no place like home’. Some of us however are blessed with a wandering soul and start to feel uneasy when we are in the same place for a long time. Normality and routine bores us and we crave new experiences.
Before my big trip I read many blog posts stating that coming home would be a lot harder than actually having the guts to go. It took immense guts to decide to go on a ten month adventure and even more guts to ask my boss for a years sabbatical! Surprisingly I ended up having reverse culture shock when I first travelled from Asia to Australia. This is one of the reasons why I didn’t suffer from culture shock after my big trip.
But I did suffer from the post travel blues.
Nothing changes at home. Yes your friends may get married, have new jobs and children and a few may even move out-of-town but overall everything and everyone is the same.
The hard thing to realise is that you will never be the same.
Travel changes us. Irreparably. This is one of the reasons why we travel but it can also make us feel like a fish out of water when we eventually make it back home. It’s hard to just slot back in to real life with the knowledge you’ve amassed.
No one cares about your travels either. Yes your friends may ask a few curious questions when you first get back but after a few days they are back to discussing boys or work problems. This isn’t their fault, it’s just hard to understand travel unless yu have actually done it. I guess it’s similar to the way mothers say you never know true love until you have your first child.
We are in an exclusive club whether we like it or not.
The post travel blues affect us all in different ways. One person may spend hours a day poring over their holiday photos, wishing that they were back in an exotic place. Another person may think about the people they met and the experiences they had and crave that feeling of intense connection with a place or person. The post travel blues can cause us to retract from daily life and in severe cases cause depression.
Rather than wallow in self-pity and wonder why your friends and family don’t seem to care about your travels or the ‘new you’, channel your energy constructively. Here are my tips for curing the post travel blues.
Relax and pamper yourself
Before even thinking about jetting off to somewhere new, take some time to appreciate the time you spend at home. Everything at home is familiar and convenient and after a few days of relaxing you may find that the travel blues start to go away. Sleep in your comfy bed, lie in each day without worrying about snorers or people packing their backpacks at 4am and rustling plastic bags.
Just do exactly what you want for the first few days, eat your favorite foods, take naps, watch Netflix all day, just do whatever you need to unwind. Live in the moment and appreciate the small luxuries that being at home brings.
Meet up with old friends
We all have at least one friend who we have known for years. I’m lucky to have a group of friends that I’ve known since we were babies. When you meet with friends like this everything is easy, no matter how long you have been away it always feels like you last saw each other a week ago. Even though they may not be that interested in your travels you can still swap stories and just chat away like the old times.
Meeting new people is part of the charm of travel. You meet people who you would never bump in to in your small town and learn so much about the world, different cultures and different insights on opinions. However making friends can be hard sometimes when travelling solo. It’s quite stressful to have to make new friendships every time you change your hostel bed and sometimes loneliness can creep in. Enjoy the instant, easy friendships that you have at home.
Book a day trip
One of the best feelings in life is the feeling of having something to look forward to. Something to fantasise about and keep your mind occupied in its idle moments. When I get back from a trip I usually plan a day trip for the following week, something that really interests me and excites me. It could be a trip to a new city and explore the museums, a hiking trip in the countryside or visiting somewhere interesting locally. Whatever it is just enjoy it. Not all the best travel moments are experienced far from home.
Book a holiday
Tried all of the tips above and still feeling the travel blues? Well now is the time to book a trip to a foreign country, something to really whet your appetite. I booked a week in Krakow just a few months after I arrived home from my ten month sabbatical. After starting work again and experiencing a mundane life it was just what I needed to keep my spirits up.
The bad news is that you may start to feel the travel blues when you get back from the trip that was supposed to cure your travel blues. Life sucks eh?
This means that you are officially diagnosed with wanderlust. A rare condition that can strike at any time and most people never make a full recovery. It will also make you skint and cause you to be lonely at times.
As Micheal Palin Succinctly put it, ‘Once the travel bug bites there is no known anecdote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life’.
Have you ever suffered from the post travel blues? Do you have any of your own tips on how to cope with the post travel blues?
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