This post goes out to anyone who has ever been travelling for any good length of time, and you know exactly what I mean when I say Post-Travel Blues. It’s a real thing, guys. But there are ways you can counter the symptoms and learn to live a well-balanced, mindful and happy life back in the ‘real world’, whatever that may be.
1. Talk about it
Sure, your parents are probably sick to death of you saying things like “Did I tell you that time I rode an elephant..?”, and your nearest and dearest are almost certainly tired of hearing you start every sentence with “When I was travelling…” or “In [insert country here]…”, but I promise that most people really do want to hear about it, for the first few weeks anyway. So relive your memories and retell your stories to friends and family, at job interviews (they really love it, promise!) and to anyone and everyone who will listen, really. I guarantee that there will be so many times that you’ll remember a tiny little detail, something somebody said, or a certain smell or sound that will remind you vividly of a moment or place and you’ll temporarily be transported back. What a wonderful thing memories are, and how wonderful to share them.
2. Write about it.
I kept a travel journal and it’s such a blessing to be able to read what I did each day in so much detail. Of course, some days the entries were a little briefer than others: “Hungover. Didn’t do much.” But it’s so fun to recall everywhere I went and everyone I met, especially when I’m already starting to forget, even now. Maybe you kept a travel diary, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you blogged your experiences, maybe you left snarky TripAdvisor reviews, or glowing recommendations of hostels and the best things to do in a certain place. I truly believe that writing is the best way to process events and experiences, even months or years later, so go on: record what you learnt on your trip, where you went, what the best bits were. Write it down so you’ll remember it and write it down for closure. Write it down and watch it all come to life again.
3. Scrapbook about it.
No, it’s not lame and scrapbooking is making a comeback – just follow my Pinterest board for proof! I have bought my scrapbook, I have ordered my photo prints, and I spent three months keeping every plane ticket and hostel card, every receipt and scrap of paper from my travels. I really can’t wait to compile it into a big, colourful and meaningful book of my memories. I’m going to make it a thing to do whenever I’m feeling particularly sad or down and I will be able to remind myself through it just how lucky I was, and how grateful I am to have kept so many awesome photos and bits and bobs. It’s going to be a work of art. I haven’t made it yet, but with my non-existent artistic skills, I can only imagine that it will be.
4. Think about it.
The world was once a huge and limitless place full of endless opportunities. You never knew what was going to happen next, and now everything has become so boring and predictable. You work a 9-5, you watch Game of Thrones on Monday nights, you go to the gym at the weekends… I don’t know I’m just imagining here. The point is that your world has drastically shrunk and that’s quite hard to deal with, for me anyway. At first I was in awe of my own private room, and the smallest things you take for granted when you’re at home but which become distant luxuries on your travels: my fluffy dressing gown, my bubble baths, all my things, my nice things. But soon the excitement wears off and you’re craving somewhere different: you want an adventure.
Well, guess what?
Life is an adventure, whether it’s scaling waterfalls on the other side of the world, or scaling your ‘to do’ list on this side. Readjust your thinking and look for the beautiful in the everyday. Anybody can be amazed by mountains and lakes and places far away, but it takes a true adventurer to find joy in the smaller things closer to home.
Get to know your home town again: explore the nooks and crannies you didn’t know existed – that cafe you haven’t been to before, the park you’ve always driven past but never stopped for. Relish the routines and the stability of your life. Enjoy the small things and moments. Find small ways to treat yourself and surprise others within it. Reset your mind and find happiness in both the memories of your time travelling, and the reality of your present. You are so lucky to have been in a position where you were able to leave your life behind for a few months and explore other places in the world, and it does you good to remind yourself that every once in a while.
And, of course, last but not least: never stop travelling. Organise local day trips and weekend getaways, city breaks and long holidays. Heck, go on another long backpacking trip if you want to.
The world is a big place, but you have your whole life to see it. Don’t be sad if you think you and your life are now small after travelling, be happy because of how big your travels have made you.