How to overcome post-travel depression
No doubt, that this phenomena, the post-travel depression is a thing. You may call it post-travel blues, post-vacation depression or PTD. Regardless of the label we put on it, I still didn’t figure our how to avoid it. I usually identify its first sign in the last couple of days of my travel, being sad to travel home. And it comes both after a two week long vacation or a 5 months travel.
The symptoms are slightly different for everyone. What are mine? First of all everything and everyone seems to be so strange. Their energy level and frequency is so different from mine. They don’t fully understand what I experienced – and it feels hard to accept this. I can’t find my place and is hard to see the next step. I decide to be active, work on future plans, but somehow I don’t feel like doing it and have no strength for it. I feel the social pressure more than ever: my normal is not the “official” normal. Sometime I’m anxious without a reason and feel lost. Plus I really miss the sun and the heat.
I don’t know how to avoid this, but I observed what helps me getting over it – this may be useful for you as well.
Give yourself some time
You don’t have to return to “normal” life immediately. Give yourself some time to really arrive. Don’t rush to work the next day, or jump into searching for a new job, sleep a lot, relay. It really takes some time to settle, and is you hurry it, you just put some extra pressure on yourself.
Did you happen to travel with a goal to “find yourself” or re-discover yourself? Well, I don’t really believe in this any more. But if you had this intention but your figure that this “finding” did not happen as expected, you can still give some more time. Use the weeks after returning home to figure out what is next. The time spent with travel is better spent with enjoying the process instead of stressing yourself with the future.
Put yourself back on the map
Even though you keep contact with your friends during the travel, they just get used to not meeting you in person. And after a while this idea doesn’t come up naturally again. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to, they just got used to the idea that they can’t. It is you who can easily change it. Join some events where you can meet them. Put yourself back on the map, and tell your friends, that you want to see them, that you want to connect with them. It might be hard for you if you are introvert, but believe me, it is worth doing it.
Surround yourself with love
If anything, love is a cure for many things. Surround yourself with love and allow yourself to receive all good thing from your loved ones. You don’t have to be strong or to know the next step, neither to face the hardship that may awaits you – re-discover how many people love you and support you.
Share your story
Talk about your experience and your adventures. Organize experience sharing event and share your story. Maybe someone only need a little inspiration so that s/he can start its own trip. This is a good cause to go through your photos again and to re-live the adventures. I don’t tell you to become nostalgic, just discover the little magic of your travel again. This may give you new goals, or even can inspire you to plan your next trip.
Let it go
No, nothing will be the same again. You changed and the place you return to changed as well. This is neither good nor bad, just a fact. Just accept it. This change may be painful, it can also bring some amazing new opportunities in your life.
Keep something important from your trip – be curious
My curiosity accompanies me everywhere when I travel. I don’t travel to visit the xth number of countries or tick something on a list. I travel because I am super curious. Besides being a smart-ass as well. But travel makes me more humble, suddenly I don’t feel I know everything better. My curiosity becomes dominant and I feel the need to get to know new things. This brings me to places and situations, and rewards me with connections, that would not come into my life in any other ways. I want to keep this in my daily life at home as well. Keep being curious, discover – as there are things to discover at home too. Curiosity neutralizes the emptiness and helps overcoming many blockages.
What helps you? One or all of the above? Or something else? Be open for experimenting and finding the right combination of things. For sure there is a cure.