The hardest thing about travel is ‘the homecoming’ part. Not all of us have the ability to travel full time even if we wanted to. So the reality for us is usually returning back from the trip and getting back to the normal routine. And the longer your trip is, the harder it gets to cope up with reality. Post Travel Depression or Post Trip Blues, is quite real. Those who experienced this feeling will relate to what I am talking about. Even though we do feel a sense of accomplishment when we complete a trip but when the flight back home takes off all you have left is a load of pictures and videos to comfort you.
At a time you are eating some exotic dish in some SE Asian country and bang, 24hrs later you are back home in your bed beside a pile of unwashed clothes. After experiencing a lot of incredible things and meeting a lot of exciting people, you are back on the normal routine from which many of us are trying to escape. The sadness and nostalgia of leaving people and places behind, after an epic trip, is too hard to overcome for a wanderlust being.
Once you get the taste of travel, it is hard to go back to the routine. Even though the world may seem the same as you left it, you will know deep inside that you have changed. You start hating everything around and the normal life will not make any sense to you. There are people who take a trip once in a year and then be done with it, but there are people like me who just can’t sit idle after a trip. So all we can do is accept the reality and roll with it.
Clinical psychologist Linda Blair says: ‘Bear in mind it takes a good three days to wind down when you go on a holiday so likewise it will take you a bit of time to re-immerse yourself in real life.’ The symptoms of post-holiday depression can include some or even all of the following: fatigue, irritability, headaches, sleeping too much or too little, change in appetite, inability to concentrate, increased desire to be alone, and loss of interest in things you usually enjoy.
For those who suffer from the above symptoms, I have a few tips that you can implement in your daily life to get over Post Travel Depression.
Take some time to settle in
Don’t force yourself to the normal routine after getting back from a trip. Realize that it is normal to feel depressed after returning. So let yourself some time and space. Take one day off after the trip and stay at home to recover.
Plan you next trip
Works every single time. I am all set for my next trip as I type this. This gives me a distraction and also something to look forward to. As they say, anticipation of an exciting experience is as pleasurable as the experience itself. Even if the trip is months away, go on and start shortlisting the places you want to visit.
Explore your own backyard
I know that a trip can put a dent in your bank balance. So packing up and leaving again may not be possible for another few months. But that does not mean you should not travel. You can explore your own city. You won’t have to spend a lot for traveling within your own country. That is one way to keep the fire burning.
Watch travel related movies or read books
Reading travel related books or watching travel related movies can really inspire the wanderer in you. I found many such movies online which I have re-watched multiple times just to relive the experience of traveling. My personal favorite will always be Mr Bean’s Holiday.
Pick up a new Hobby
Distract yourself by picking up a new hobby. Try something new that you came across while traveling. Something like trying to cook a new Thai recipe, or practicing your kayaking skills at a spot near your house, or a new musical instrument that reminds you of your trip. It can be anything that interests you. Also you can hone your beer pong skills for the next party hostel you visit.
Relive your travel memories
Be creative with your travel memories. Share them on your blog, Instagram page or other websites. If you are into photography, work on the post processing of your photos, edit the video clips and share them online. Research has shown that if we can recall positive memories they can boost our positive emotions in the moment.
While post travel depression can be hard hitting for most travelers, what I would like to point out is on how to take advantage of the depression. We all know that the routine life is a killer. This depression actually makes us do whatever it takes to break away from the routine. It forces us to save up for the next trip. It forces us to follow what we are passionate about. I have heard that looking at other people’s vacation pictures can depress one. But I, on the other hand, was actually motivated to travel by reading other blogs and my wonderful IG feed that gets updated with wonderful pictures from around the world. The depression sets in when we compare our lives to others. But if we work towards having a life like the way we want instead of brooding over our not-so-colorful life, then you got no one else to blame other than yourself. So use social media and internet for your own gain. Motivate yourself and Inspire others.
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