Ah, at last! That dark unfathomable thing that people don’t talk enough about, and that’s… Post-Travel-Depression. It’s alive and well people, and the thing is, it may feel like this endless hole that’s impossible to get out of. But don’t worry, there are remedies in aiding that post-travel-blues. Here are 12 ways to beat Post-Travel-Depression!
What is Post-Travel-Depression?
Post-Travel-Depression is more than the sudden reality hit as soon as you arrive home. It’s the slow creeping isolation. It’s reverse culture shock. It feels like you’re speaking a different language. Your body, mind, and heart are all working together to process everything experienced all in a completely different time zone! (and that unwanted jet-lag doesn’t help either)
You may not know where to begin. But, that’s okay, start small! Allow joy of the little things bring you back home, wherever that may be. Go where things become your anchor. For me, it was writing. Amongst the constant moving of environments and frequent culture changes, writing gave me the freedom to be heard and understood even in times that I felt I was speaking a completely different language. (in most places I was) Go back to what brings you solace and freedom!
Why don’t we talk about this enough?
It’s something we don’t talk ENOUGH about! Yet, it’s this burning thing in the back of our minds. This feeling of displacement. This feeling of screaming and no one being able to hear. I once described it as feeling like being on the other end of a soundproof glass while on the other side is everyone I love…
I know, kinda dramatic.
But, the soundproof glass analogy is the equivalent of the feeling! It feels like a part of you has died every time you return from a sea of adventuring. And, as soon as you’ve returned, it feels as if no one understands the new you. No one understands all of what the journey encompassed. Truth is, no one needs to fully understand! It’s your experience, your memories. As long as YOU understand what it has meant to you, then that’s all that truly matters in the end, my friend.
First 6 ways to help you beat Post-Travel-Depression-
Give yourself the time and space to acclimate – Don’t rush the process –your body, mind, and spirit are in complete shock. Reverse culture shock, that is! Let things be. Don’t worry, you’ll find your groove again. You’ll feel the layers of societal expectations and demands throw up on you as soon as you’re back. (not literally, but you know what I mean) I spent weeks feeling bitter for being thrown back into a fast culture that just “didn’t get it.” This feeling ran me for a while, but then I thought, “Hey, it’s okay to feel these things, no judgment there!” Give yourself time and remain patient with yourself!
Speak with a friend about your experiences- I’ve found it extremely helpful to talk it out with friends. Although, not very many people will want to hear about your travel experiences, find one person that will and be incredibly grateful for it. Find someone that will remain present with you and fully hear what you need to say. It’s important that you unpack all of your incredible experiences with someone. It’ll make you feel like you aren’t so alone in this process. It also helps talking to friends who have once felt that post-travel-blues! We must support each other friends!
Hold onto what anchors you- Allow your hobbies, interests, ways of expression to keep you centered through the challenging transition back. Ex –Writing, reading, dance, singing, painting etc. I spent a lot of time writing in journals, jamming out with friends/family, and even picked up a beginners salsa class! Perhaps, through this anchoring you’ll discover something new about yourself. I know, I did!
Take extra care of yourself – This seems like a no-brainer right? When I arrived home from Cuba, so many of my friends and family wanted to hang out but all I wanted to do was sit in isolation and process! I found it challenging to say no. But, listen to what that body needs during this time. Be mindful of your time/energy and who and what you give it away to! Know that your physical and mental well being is worth protecting. Get your body moving again, replenish your body with healthful foods and rehydrate with tons of H20!
Integrate pieces from your trip into your daily life- You just arrived from an incredible journey and experienced something entirely new. Perhaps, you’ll integrate a tradition or newfound “way of living” into your everyday life. Salsa lived at every corner of Cuba and I couldn’t help but feel inspired! I thought, “This is the kind of richness and aliveness I want to instill into my life back home.” The places you’ve traveled to and the people you meet will forever be a part of you. And, I found, that with every element I integrated, it eased that “wish I was still there” crippling feeling.
Start a creative project– Allow yourself to step back into nostalgia. Gather all of your photos, videos, travel journals etc. and create something impactful. Put a compilation video together filled with some of your most memorable moments. Create a travel blog with all of your photos! Perhaps, hit the papers and create short stories with the journal entries you’ve compiled over time. If you’re interested in bringing those vibrant experiences out into the world, take a look at InspiringTravellers.com for submission. Have fun exploring!
Now, I’ve managed to pick a fellow travelers brain on this topic. I wanted to give light to a different experience and perspective…take it away @deannadiezmo!
Hey guys! It’s @deannadiezmo here and if you follow me on Instagram, I’ve been taking time to travel, work on my character, and completely invest into self-love.
I’m 19 years old and in a major season in my life of “figuring it out.” And so, when I go back home from travels, I get this feeling of missing out. And yes, it is Post-Travel Depression! That my mind was just exposed to something so different, and knowing there’s more in this world outside my house makes me feel as if I’m not where I am supposed to be. And the funny contradicting thing is, my trips remind me to appreciate the present moment. Luckily, we have ways to get through this together.
Here are the last 6 ways to beat Post-Travel-Depression!
When I go back home from travels, I get this feeling of missing out. And yes, it is post-travel depression. That my mind was exposed to something so different, and knowing there’s more in this world outside my home makes me feel as if I’m not where I am supposed to be. And the funny contradicting thing is, my trips remind me to appreciate the present moment. Luckily, there are ways to get through this together.
Here, are the last 6 ways to help you beat post-travel-depression!
Start the day with meditation – Add 5 to 10 minutes of meditation to your morning routine! This supports in confronting your thoughts before it confronts you. Meaning, start the day already clearing your mind from any frustrations, fears, sadness, etc. you know you’ll feel. Once you let go of those thoughts, create new clear intentions for a great day.
Take a break after your travels – Big mistake I made when coming home from Australia was to go straight to work the next day. That definitely took a toll on my body and I was sick for the next couple of weeks. From that experience, I made sure when I came home from the Philippines to get a good week before returning to work. During that period, I allowed my body to adjust and reflect. Considering different work or school circumstances, try to aim for at least 2 days for yourself.
Keep your travel journal around – Take your travel journal with you everywhere. Whenever you feel the emotions hit you, you can refer back to what you wrote during your travels. I am sure there will be a note from yourself that will tell you what you need to hear.
Add a post-travel section in your journal – For extra emotional support, add a post-travel section in your travel journal. Give yourself that freedom to write about what you’re experiencing or feeling after being away for so long. What’s great is that you can reread notes from your travels and write about the present moment too.
Hit the gym – If you’re like me, you barely had a workout in and most likely cheated on your diet for the whole time you were away. No guilt there my friends! Getting back into the gym though might just be the move for you. It supports in stimulating the body to feel energized and when you’re energized, it’s hard to be depressed. Also, consider taking group fitness classes, it’s lots of fun and you can meet new people.
Create a vision board – Sounds a little cheesy but I swear it’s great! After traveling, it’s easy to get stuck in the past. Creating a vision board shifts the attention to the future. And with all the new changes and lessons from your travels, you can now create different, bigger goals for yourself.