Grr, the “Joys” of Post Trip Depression.
I have a lot to say about this topic. Too much, actually. And I think we’ve all experienced those yucky post trip depression feelings, right? I know we have!
We’ve all felt that empty pit festering inside our stomaches upon coming home after experiencing incredible sites, fascinating people, and memories of a lifetime. We’re happy to see family and friends. Yet … the emptiness, the uneasy dread of being “back” in our familiar surroundings, takes forever to disappear (if they ever truly do). I
It sucks. And what makes it suck even more, are when friends and family don’t understand your thoughts.
“Aren’t you happy you went on a trip at all? I wish I could’ve gone,” they’ll say, eyebrows raised.
Now I understand the subject of this post is a major “1st world problem.” I get it. It’s a privilege to travel at all, and believe me, I know my American passport and current job situation are both luxuries. I’m a lucky lady. No point denying it.
Still, post travel depression is a very real experience for both myself and many other people. Even if it is a trivial complaint in the grand scheme of things, sadness and nostalgia are still valid emotions that can explode after a wonderful trip draws to an end. It’s even worse when we’re told to just “get over it.”
Personally, depression after trips was a huge problem for me when I substitute taught for pennies (not quite, but close) and still lived at home with my parents.
Talk about a dark time. I honestly felt like I had zero direction, especially compared to my peers, many who had “real jobs with benefits,” spouses, and lovely apartments in trendy cities.
As a way to take control of my life, travel transformed into my purpose, to prove I was worthy as a human being. At home, I felt as though my young life was forcefully put “on hold” by forces *cough NJ’s lousy economy cough* outside my control. Thank god those days are behind me.
So you can imagine my low feelings whenever I’d step off the plane at Newark Liberty or Philadelphia International. Deep down, I’d feel bitter about my journeys not lasting forever, because I was scared to face my problems head on.
However, post travel depression doesn’t have to destroy you. It’s easy to think you’ll never have an incredible time in a new place ever again, but we all know it’s untrue. Our minds have annoying ways of lying to us, making us believe our situations are bleaker than they truly are. You can be stronger than your wallowing, I swear.
These five tips will make you smile. Or, at least, keep your chin up.
1. Discover a New Hobby
You want to have a positive activity (or two, or three) to fill your spare time at home.
I mean it, folks. Don’t you dare sit around and mope indoors, just because you’re not traveling anymore. You’ll feel even more miserable.
Not to mention, too much spare time can do a number on your mental health. Time means hours to dwell on your trip and angst about how you wish you were somewhere, anywhere, else.
Everyone needs passion and purpose. Hobbies are awesome and accomplish both ps.
As for me, my blog motivates me a lot when I’m not traveling. I love to write and interact with my readers (love you guys!). I also enjoy photography and may join a meetup group in the autumn to further develop my camera skills. Furthermore, I’m more excited about trying new recipes, because I live alone and no one can make fun of me when my experiments go very wrong. I do make a mean salmon and potato bake, though.
Give your life meaning through your non-travel hobbies. What makes you tick? Find it and develop it. Let those creative juices flow through your veins! Yahoo!
Feeling creative? I can teach you how to create a travel blog!
2. Connect with Travelers near You
If you live close to a major city, check to see whether or not a Travel Massive Chapter is active in your area. I’m lucky that I’m close to New York – which hosts Travel Massive events on a monthly basis – even though attendance fills up quickly! Waitlists, you are the bane of my existence.
Anyway I meet other bloggers and influencers along with people who actually work full time in the travel industry. Tourism boards host a lot of events which gives you a wanderlust fix. It’s great!
Don’t despair if Travel Massive is lacking in your hometown, though. If you’re ambitious, start your own chapter and encourage people to come to meetings. By beginning your own chapter, you will definitely lose the extra time on your hands and fill you calendar with productivity.
In addition, you can also check out Couchsurfing to meet other travelers or locals who are passionate about exploring the world. While it admittedly has gone downhill in recent years, Couchsurfing is still an awesome networking tool, and you don’t have to stay at someone’s home to make it worth your while. Go to cafes, museums, and concerts with your new friends. Just be safe and avoid creeps.
Lastly, travel blogging groups are great for meeting other people who share your interests. For example, the Travel Blog Success facebook group occasionally hosts meet ups for members. Reach out!
3. Be a Tourist at Home
“Whaaaat, there’s nothing to do at home! Hmph!”
Oh stop it. Local getaways are amazing and simple, and provide a quick travel fix. Trust me, these visits are a lot of fun.
I bet your home has a lot of beautiful places worthy of your time and attention. I live in New Jersey, and a lot surprises me about my own state. Sure, I like to knock the Garden State on a regular basis (I was born and raised here, I’ve earned that right, so if you’re out of state, don’t do it), but luckily, there’s plenty to do here.
When I’m not in a new country, I’m either enjoying New Jersey’s shore towns, appreciating the “cooler areas” like Princeton and New Brunswick, or visiting attractions located in either Philadelphia or New York City since both cities are a reasonable distance from me. Cool, huh?
Spending time as a tourist near home will give you a taste for travel without the cost of accommodation and plane tickets. Plus you’ll feel better mentally. Go explore.
4. Stay Busy, Busy, Busy
I know I alluded to being a busy bee, but I want to reiterate it again. Excessive time is your number #1 enemy when it comes to defeating post trip depression.
Personally, I force myself to stay busy whenever I’m not feeling 100% great, regardless if post travel depression is the reason for my crappy mood. It doesn’t matter if I’m sad about a trip ending or not. All I know is sitting around my apartment makes my mood a billion times worse. I think, I think, and think some more. My mind traps me. And then I feel guilty for wasting an entire day in bed watching crappy reality television.
Staying busy is key.
So what else can you do besides developing all those amazing hobbies I told you to pursue? Lots of stuff! Some thoughts …
- Go to the gym. Losing weight is awesome. I committed to a healthy lifestyle and don’t regret it at all. If you don’t want to stay on the treadmill, then join a class like kickboxing to whip you into shape.
- Focus on your career. Nothing is quite as “bad ass” as slaying in your career. And if you hate your job, find a new one in a city that you’d absolutely love. Don’t be stuck in a rut if you can financially pull off an elaborate escape.
- Try that new cafe around the corner. Cause who doesn’t like coffee? Plus you’ll be out of the house.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter. We all know spending time with animals boosts our moods. Find a local shelter and go help!
- Go on tinder and find a date (haha). Why not? Tell that cutie on tinder all about your travel adventures. S/he will be impressed!
Seriously, staying busy is a wonderful idea after a big trip. You’ll learn a lot about yourself.
5. Plan a Future Trip
Uh, yeah. Let’s be real. One of the best cures to kick post travel depression is planning another adventure for the future. Create random itineraries even if you have no idea when you’ll actually embark on those trips. You’ll feel better.
My own laptop is filled with soooooo many dream vacations and experiences that I’ve lost count of them all.
And, sure, sign up for every airline’s newsletter to find those “discounted” tickets. I won’t judge if you book another trip on a whim.
Have you ever dealt with post travel depression? What’s your advice? Are you ever jealous or “salty” over another person’s trip? Then perhaps check out these five ways to destroy travel envy.