This post has been inspired by a friend who called me last month after a life-changing trip and asked me "HELP ME: what's your secret to survive coming back to your routine?". Indeed, it's often far harder to come home than go away. And anyone who has been traveling knows how difficult getting on that plane back can be.
Coming back after my six months solo road trip in New Zealand was challenging. But I knew I needed to come back with new projects, so I did. I came back to France with a head full of dreams, got that one week excitement to be back, then it was time to head to Paris and show my portfolio to creative directors. That's when I took a slap in my face. I went too far, so far I couldn't be part of that world anymore. It's like coming back with new glasses. You don't see the world the same way, as your perception of life has changed. I took it as an opportunity to change things. Started to work as a freelancer, then soon decided to hit back the road and go live in Indonesia.
Don't worry, you won't necessarily have to move on the other side of the world to get better -ok, you might have to. You've just spent weeks or months abroad, being stimulated everyday by new experiences, then suddenly you have to go back to your old life. It sometimes seems fade in comparison! It's not always easy*, but you can survive it! Here are some tips on how to survive that post-travel blues.
That typical post-travel blues
It's kind of a funny story. You just came back from an incredible journey. Your bags are still in the entrance, and you can't seem to unpack. You were excited to be back -for a minute- but it suddenly all becomes real. So it's truly over, now.
How come, after such a wonderful experience, can you be so depressed? Believe it or not, you're not the first one and you won't be the last. Having done just that, if leaving your 'normal' life behind takes guts, returning takes far more courage. Coming back means finding everything right where you left it -even if you left years ago. NOTHING has changed. Except you. And that's the problem. I told you traveling will ruin your life!
coming back after a life-changing trip in 3 steps
The euphoria - You're staring at the clouds by the window and you cannot wait to land and meet all your friends at your usual bar. To get your usual cocktail and tell them aaall about your adventures. Retrieve all your things, your clothes, your apartment, your cat. You missed them so much! You're back, yay!
The crisis - You're back indeed. And you can't help but compare. The weather, the people, the food, the colors, the culture. Your life seems soulless. Grey. Boring. Yay.
The questioning - How can you get past this? It might be time for some changes in your life. Ready?
10 tips to get past the post-travel depression
#1. pick your moment : It's all about timing !
Think twice when you take your return ticket. Obviously, it won't be easy to stay positive if you go back home when both weather and people are depressing -per instance, if you're European, come back in spring rather than autumn.
#2. Think about what's next before the trip is over
I know we should live in the moment, but in that case, you'd better think ahead before coming back to your old life. You need something to look forward to. If you quit your job before leaving, get in touch with potential business partners before heading back. You won't have time to get depressed if you're busy working on your future! On the other hand, if you stay at your parents' doing nothing but watching your travel photos all day, it's gonna be a whole different story...
#3. seek new challenges
Traveling often makes you feel like everything is possible. That marathon you've always dreamt of finishing, that book you want to write, that language you wish you'd speak, that volunteering project you've thought about -it's time to transform that dream into project! Don't forget to surround yourself with positive energy.
#4. Ask yourself the right questions
Why are you so depressed? Is it just a typical post-trip blues, or is there something you need to change in your lifestyle? Isn't it time to wonder what you want in life? Are you truly happy in your routine?
#5. extend the journey
Your trip isn't over until you say it's over. Print your favorite photos, decorate your wall with them or create an album, edit a video or your adventures, write on your travel journal... Creativity is the best therapy!
#6. get inspired !
Grab a bucket of popcorn and enjoy some of your favorite travel movies! It's time to feed your wanderlust, and for that, here are 10 movies that will inspire you to travel. You might even find some ideas for your next aventure there...
#7. keep your up-for-it attitude alive
Why is it that when you're abroad, you'd be up for anything, like bungee jumping, cooking class or mountain biking? If it made you feel so good there, why stop now that you're back? Rediscover your own country, go to all the bars you've never been to, make friends with total strangers... Traveling is a state of mind!
#8. see the positive on being back
Embrace the little pleasures of being home: sleeping on your own bed, going to your local market, catching up on your favorite TV series, taking hot showers, wearing different shoes everyday... All these things you missed so much!
#9. meet other travelers and exchange
Your friends and family will quickly get annoyed, maybe even jealous of your travel stories. Meet other fellow travelers and enjoy sharing your stories and listening to others'. Share you new passions with people who care!
#10. the best solution : book the next trip !
There's nothing like the promise of a new adventure to banish that post-travel blues. Get that plane ticket! You'll be reasonable tomorrow.