05 Dec How to Deal with the Post-Travel Blues
The hardest part of a journey is returning home.
You’ve just been to the ends of the earth, pushed yourself outside of your usual comfort zone, made friends with people from every nook and cranny of this world, tasted and smelled things you still can’t really identify, and learned about parts of yourself you never even knew existed.
But now you’re back in the comforts of your own home, back in the arms of the people you’ve known and loved for years…you’ve probably yearned for these moments when you were abroad. And yet for some odd reason, you’ve become a stranger in your own life. You feel even more displaced than you did on your actual travels, in a country where you knew no one and couldn’t even speak the same language. It’s easy to feel a little sluggish, frustrated, and melancholy. Like every traveler who has come home from a long and epic journey, you’re suffering from the post-travel blues.
We’ve been through it countless times before so you can believe us when we say, we know what you’re going through. Here are a few of our tips to beating back those doldrums and getting back to your usual, awesome self!
Be thoughtful and patient with yourself
Allow yourself the time to fully process everything you’ve been through…the sights, the smells, the sounds, the smiles, the sweat. Now this might mean reminiscing and getting a little nostalgic and though this might not kick back the blues right away, it’s an integral step every traveler needs to take.
Keep the magic alive and explore your own backyard
Who ever said that returning home from a journey abroad means the end of adventure? It’s not. If anything, it’s just the beginning. The best part about traveling is that you learn how to quickly adapt to new environments and look at things with a different perspective, with heightened senses. Your experiences abroad have equipped you with new lenses by which to view the world. Put them on and never take them off. Explore your own backyard like you did the distant countries while you were away.
When we get back home, we tend to slip back into routine and miss the little gems in between the usual spots we frequent. Always keep your eyes open. Notice the stories and the people that are all around you. Alter your route. Talk to strangers. Visit that cafe, bookstore, park –whatever it is!–you always said you would but never got a chance to because life got in the way.
Stay busy and jump back into the swing of things
Basically, don’t let yourself sulk too much. You’ve just been on an amazing trip that you claim changed your life forever…so why are you feeling sorry for yourself? Catch up with friends, start a new project, try a new hobby. If you’re really feeling down and want to indulge in your post-travel blues, at least be productive about it! Start a journal and reflect on what you’re going through, scrapbook the photos and little mementos you picked up along the way. Whatever it is, just do something!
Connect with other backpacktivists
Family and friends are quick to grow weary when every sentence that comes out of your mouth starts with, “On my trip I…” or “When I was in…”. You’re full of passion and life and excitement and you’re just exploding to share your experiences with everyone around you. And yet, it feels like nobody cares or at least nobody can really understand what you’ve been through. It sucks, we know. But luckily there are people who know exactly what you’ve been through…the greater backpacktivist community! A small group of our superstar alumni got together and decided to start the OG Alumni Network on Facebook. In their own words, “it’s a space to bring our far-flung community together, to get silly, to support the little OG’ers who come up after us, and be the groundswell of youth activism that OG was named for!”
Start planning your next adventure
Need we say more? Start searching for those flight deals, flip through the webpages of Lonely Planet, and heck, you’re here already so you may as well find out where OG is going next year!
Allow yourself back into your old life but remember the lessons learned on the road
It’s okay to creep back into old routines and regain stability again. But as you find yourself slowly transitioning back into life at home, never forget the important things you learned. Let those lessons shape how you act, what you consume, who you notice and interact with, and what you do with this next chapter in your life.
Marketing & Communications Director, OGHQ