How to Beat Post-Travel Depression
So, it’s been just over a week since I wrote my post on ‘How Travelling Helped Deal with My Depression and Anxiety’ and the responses I’ve received have been amazing! I just want to thank every single one of you that has taken the time to read my story and have shared your own experiences with me. Since my last post, I thought it would only be wise to share how I manage my post-travel blues when returning back from holiday. I know from experience, that when I travel I am always on a high! I’m ALWAYS so excited about just getting on a flight, seeing a new country, experiencing the culture, the beautiful views and most importantly learning more about myself, which I do every single time I leave for my travels. You never want to leave but…
You’re enjoying yourself and just like that, it’s time to come back to the reality. I have to start remembering what I have to deal with when I get back and at that moment you are reminded that you are now coming to the end of an amazing trip. Returning home, whether it’s from a day trip, two-week-long vacation or a multi-year-round-the-world trip can hit you hard; for me, it hits me so hard I plan my next trip from the moment I get back from my current one! Post-travel depression can affect everyone, and people don’t know how sometimes it can affect you. In this article, I suggest some ways to overcome post-travel blues! Please note – I am not an expert in this; as I’ve said before I only know how to deal with my own mental health.
Sooo… What is the Post-Travel Depression?
Just as it sounds, post-travel depression is a feeling of depression that hits you at the end of a trip. Sometimes it can even begin in the days running up to the end of your trip. I always end up feeling a little sad in the days before I head home. It’s that feeling where you’re like ‘man it ended too soon or I just need a little longer’. As well as a sense of depression, other symptoms you may experience include exhaustion, loss of appetite, a lack of motivation, feelings of nostalgia, and for me immediately researching the next trip!
In all seriousness, though, post-travel depression can seriously affect your mental well being and last for as long as weeks or months. Friends of mine who have taken year-long trips around-the-world have confessed they still don’t feel as though they’re fully back to normal, even up to a year after returning home. It is hard to just go back to normal life again! One huge reason why this is the case is travelling is transformative. Once you leave your comfort zone and have explored a country of the world you’ll feel like a different person, you will feel refreshed, sometimes you will even look different because while you’re away you meet people from all walks of life. Your attitude changes and you begin to have a different outlook on life.
When did it happen to me?
I can give you an example – when I travelled to Cambodia in 2013, I met some young people who knew so much about the United Kingdom and barely went to school because they were on the streets making money for their families. These young people had very little, but the kindness and positive nature they gave out assured me that it’s actually OK to just be nice. Not everyone is as fortunate to have the same opportunities so when you are presented with a good opportunity you should take it seriously!
The other issue is everyone you return to is often the same. Nothing has really changed. There are in the exact same place they were when you last saw them and that can also be depressing in itself. I remember really feeling this when I came back from living in Singapore. I had travelled all over South East Asia and almost faced near to death experiences I had changed in person and it was such a strange feeling seeing everything was exactly the same. I couldn’t explain it. I remember it so vividly, I had just finished university and couldn’t comprehend how nothing had changed and chose to keep myself busy because I could feel myself falling back into the trap of a repetitive reality. Even now I see people who are lost, lost in a system that doesn’t allow them to enjoy life and they have given up and fallen into the stereotypical life that the system expects of them. And the saddest thing is we all have.
It’s a strange feeling to slow back into your old life as if nothing has changed, while deeply knowing that everything has changed. And when friends and family take interest in your trip for a week or two then don’t care to hear any more, it can be tough to deal with so many incredible memories that nobody wants to hear about. I do remember having my study-exchange friends that I met up with on a number of occasions; this was so helpful – James, Jade and Georgina shout out to you three!! You truly made returning home bearable.
Even now I see people who are lost, lost in a system that doesn’t allow them to enjoy life and they have given up and fallen into the stereotypical life that the system expects of them.And the saddest thing is we all have.
So, what can you do to prepare yourself for post-travel depression, and how can you minimise its effects? As I said before I am not an expert in other mental health, only my own.
7 Tips on How to Beat Post-Travel Depression
1. Catch Up with Friends
I understand listening to me talk about my travels can be annoying especially if you haven’t been anywhere for a while. And I do apologise. I remember wanting to share my stories with a former friend, she hadn’t travelled then and I felt bad talking about them – so I stopped. When she started to travel I really enjoyed her stories because I knew what it was like to experience something new.
Talking to friends that are travellers when battling with post-travel blues, can be a blessing in disguise. I remember meeting up with my friends that I met on my study abroad, we spent hours talking about our memories abroad. If you know my friends, you will know there are endless stories that I don’t even know where to begin! I am always left with laughter and a warm fuzzy feeling inside. If you can meet with your friends, it could help keep you distracted and lessen your attention on how you wish you were still abroad.
2. Take Care of Yourself
When we travel, you are having so much (well I do) it can be hard to take proper care of yourselves. Maybe that body you worked so hard for in the gym is now disappearing from all the junk food! You are lying by the pool doing nothing or sightseeing all day, drinking and clubbing every night. Your body will become exhausted. Write a list of things you want to do when you get back. For example, my list – I would like to start eating clean, reading more uplifting books, go to bed early, go to the gym and dream more and most importantly get closer to God.
3. Share Your Photos with Friends/Social Platforms
Now I know Drake in his most recent album recently said ‘I know a girl that saves pictures from places she’s flown to post later and make it look like she still on the go.’
But sorry Drake I don’t care what you say.
Some of us don’t have the opportunity to be constantly on the go. We must save those memories and keep reminding ourselves how amazing the trip was! Post pictures not to impress people, but yourself for your own memories. My social media is my collage of all my best pictures. I post pictures on Instagram and my other social media platforms because I want people to see the beautiful sites I have captured.
Sorry not sorry! #MyBreakingViews #BTravelCreators
4. Return back to Work or Study Immediately
Some people will disagree with me, but in my opinion there nothing worse than sitting at home doing nothing when you can be keeping yourself busy! If you don’t throw yourself back into your normal routine you will regret it when you do start!
5. Start Planning Your Next Trip
Hahaha! I don’t know how many times I have mentioned this already! Best way to get your mind of post-travel blues is by of course planning your next trip! Write down a list of places you want to go! Then start the planning! And then book your flight, you will enjoy counting down the days to your next trip that the days will fly by!
I have a travel bucket list. In 2016 I wrote that I wanted to go to Italy and America … Guess what I went to both… Write down your visions.
6. Start A Travel Diary or Travel Blog
If you’re like me, you’ll love to keep a record of those life-changing moments of your travels. If you have a travel blog write about your experiences! Share your tips you will be so happy you went! And if you don’t have a travel blog start one and comment below with a link to your blog! I love learning from other travel bloggers!
If you have a diary then use that. I always carry my diary around with me. I am so relaxed I think differently I can write and see my God-given vision, clearly and write this down for the universe.
7. Use the #BTravelCreators
I am sure you have seen that I am trying to do so many new things this year! I and Debbie for Wanderlustcalls have started a platform for Black Travel Creators! And it is going soooo well! We are both on Instagram and Twitter @btravelcreators so if you want us to share your lovely post and pictures please use the # or @ us. Oh and of course follow us!
Starting this platform has really given me so much confidence because there are so many other people with similar outlooks in life. This has given me the ability to share my experiences and be more open with my readers. I want to thank you all because really, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without you all.