Overcoming Post-Travel Depression: Make The Most of Coming Home

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For many people, coming home can be harder than it was to leave. You’ve spent the last little while on the adventure of a lifetime, yet you come back to a place where it feels like time has stood still and you can’t help but shake that post-travel depression feeling. I know that for me, that space between actively traveling feels a lot like a state of limbo, where I’m just not really sure what I’m supposed to be doing in this place that is supposed to feel like home but doesn’t really. Post-travel depression is a reality for many travelers, but you don’t have to be brought down just because you aren’t traveling.

For those of us who crave adventure and can’t shake that overwhelming need to be on the move, the limbo stage can be a difficult one to navigate. My limbo stage is always filled to the brim with work – working towards the moment when I can catapult my life into action again and working to stop myself from thinking about the fact that I’m not still traveling. Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy your time in limbo and overcome post-travel depression:

  • Be a Tourist – how many times have we heard this one? Be a tourist in your own city. Everyone says it but how many of us actually make an effort to do this? I know I don’t. But being a tourist in your own city can help alleviate the feelings of post-travel depression. Pick an area of interest to you – maybe it’s music, physical activity or awesome vegan food – and make it a priority to visit somewhere in your city that relates to that interest and is new to you. Who knows what hidden gems you’ll discover, even in a city that you’ve grown up in.

  •  Figure Out Your Why. Your “why” is your power to stay motivated, focused and to keep working towards travel. It’s what got you started in the first place, your big picture. If you remember and keep your why at the forefront of your mind, you can use it to keep your momentum moving forward. WHY are you back home, is it to work hard to get to your next adventure? Is it to visit family and friends before a longer trip? Understanding what you are working so hard for and reminding yourself of that every day is KEY to designing the life you want. Having a purpose and a goal you are working towards can kick depression to the curb.

  • Stay Connected – to your support system AND to the world of travel. Make plans with the friends and family that you missed while away. Isolation can feed into that low feeling, so fight those post-travel blues and avoid weeks of isolation.If you can’t travel the world, bring the world to you. Be a host to those traveling to your own city, through Couchsurfing or Air BnB – you’ll end up having people from all walks of life in and out of your home, just like that hostel you stayed in.

  • Pack Your Bags – the best cure for the post-travel blues is to keep moving. Maybe you really don’t belong in that city anymore and this is your sign to pack your bags and make the leap to a big move. It might not be constant travel that you need, but a new place to call home and build a life. Moving not an option? Take weekend trips just outside of your city – do you live near the mountains? A beach? The forest? Make the most of what is around you.

Do you have any tried and true methods for overcoming post-travel depression? Share them with us in the comments!

Ice Castle Adventure: Walking In a Winter Wonderland

Magic has arrived in Edmonton, where Hawrelak Park has been transformed into a scene straight out of Disney’s Frozen. Our very own ice castle has appeared, bringing even the most avid winter hibernators out into the wild. Icicles form an enchanting archway as you step into the castle, welcomed by the instrumental sounds of the Frozen theme song. People eagerly wait for their chance at sliding down the ice slide or to take a seat on the ice throne while the rest of us wander in and out of the paths, tall walls of ice on either side.

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Everywhere you look is another mind blowing display of artistry – hundreds upon hundreds of hand-crafted icicles put together to form the entire castle.

ice castle ice castle ice castle

Don’t forget to dress warm – it is an ice castle after all. Luckily, there’s a little spot for you to warm up your hands.

ice castle ice castle

… before exploring some more!

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I am SO happy that I turned around after walking out of the castle or else I might have missed this heart that had been carved into the ice.

If you’re in the area or ever have an opportunity to visit an ice castle, I highly recommend it! In the daytime, the ice, snow and winter sky creates a white on white on white appearance that is beautiful. But when darkness hits, the ice castle is flooded in beautiful lights – so a visit in the evening would be just as magical.

 

Packing Tips: 5 Tips for the Over-Packer

My first trip of the year is coming up in exactly one week so you can bet I’ve been itching to pack for the last month! Unfortunately, I think there is such a thing as packing too early and have had to practice restraint. I made it until this past Thursday and couldn’t take it anymore – in a heart-racing frenzy I pulled out my summer clothes and the packing began!

If you’ve ever gone on a long trip or even a one week holiday, you’ll understand me when I say that packing is a skill that is best when practiced to perfection. While there is a huge difference in packing for a vacation and a six month backpacking trip through various climates, the following packing tips I’m about to share with you will be beneficial for either one:

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1. It all starts with LUGGAGE. You can’t begin to pack until you’ve decided on your luggage of choice. Backpack or suitcase? Hard case or soft? Wheels or no wheels? Dark, neutral colors are popular as they hide wear and tear and your case looking dirty – but have you ever been standing at the carousel watching dozens of the same black suitcase go ’round and ’round? It’s not fun. One trick from the trade is to purchase a unique color or pattern – especially if you’re going with a suitcase. If you just can’t let go of that black beauty you love, attach something bright to help you identify it when you need to.

2. COORDINATE your clothing. I can’t stress this enough! I never used to think up outfits prior to leaving and would just throw in random tops and bottoms. Sure, it’s faster, but more often than not you will end up with a bunch of clothes that never leave your suitcase. You end up wasting space and being upset that you can’t wear your favorite top because you haven’t any bottoms to match. Before tossing clothes in your luggage, create your outfits for your trip. Try them on and try to pick basics that can be worn with more than one item.

3. Roll, Baby, Roll. Rolling your clothes is the best way to create more space and helps reduce wrinkles. Lay your pieces flat and then roll ’em up nice and tight before placing them in your bag.

4. Bring the Basics. When it comes to toiletries, bring the basics. Solid shampoos and conditioners save a ton of space and weight in your bag, coconut oil can be multi-purpose lotion, makeup remover, cooking oil, etc., and you really don’t need your entire eye shadow collection. Embrace the minimalist look and stick to the necessities.

5. Like with Like. This can go two ways: you can either keep each type of clothing together (bottoms with bottoms, tops with tops, dresses with dresses, you get the idea) or you can pack according to outfit, keeping each outfit packed together. You can do this by laying out all the pants in one part of your bag, tops in another, or just by laying out each piece of an outfit together, then another, etc. OR you can opt for clothing organizers that will keep your things separated and allow you to grab what you need without your entire bag exploding in a heap of clothes.

A Visual Journey Through the Rocky Mountains, Part 2

Last we spoke, I left you snuggled around a campfire with the wine glasses clinking. After a night laughing with family, we set off for my favorite adventure: Lake Louise. I can’t believe it’s taken me 24 years to get here but I already can’t wait to go back next summer – this time to hike to the teahouses. I don’t think there’s any better motivation for a sweaty hike than ending it with an unbelievable view and a nice cup of tea. This time we settled for a leisurely stroll around the lake while I went crazy on the photos – the Rocky Mountains are just too beautiful to resist.

rocky mountains

rocky mountains

rocky mountains

rocky mountains

rocky mountains

rocky mountains

Lake Louise 2

rocky mountains Lake Louise

rocky mountains lakelouise

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lakelouise2

I think I did an ok job of getting a photo at every possible angle, except for from above, don’t you think? We had the most crystal clear, sunshine filled day – I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon! But the adventure doesn’t stop there.

Lakes are scattered throughout the Rocky Mountains so it should come as no surprise that just down the road from Lake Louise is yet another gorgeous stop-off point. Moraine Lake, though it doesn’t have the same turquoise waters as Lake Louise, sparkles brilliantly in the sun. Better yet, if you’re just itching to get up close and personal with the shimmering water, you can rent out a canoe for a paddle around the lake!

rocky mountains Moraine Lake (2)

morainelake

Moraine Lake

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The rest of our time was spent in good company, fits of laughter and warming up on the cool summer evenings by a campfire.

Have you visited the Rocky Mountains? What did you think?

For a more detailed itinerary, click here!

A Visual Journey Through the Rocky Mountains, Part 1

If you’ve never been to Canada or don’t know much about the country then all of your knowledge might just come from the typical Canadian stereotypes. That we ride polar bears to work, that we have a pet moose in our backyard, that we live in Igloos and have an unstoppable need to apologize – even when we’ve done nothing wrong. While some of these are true (can you figure out which 3 are lies and which one is true?), Canada is a lot more than it’s stereotypes and a lot more than the East and West Coast that most travelers head to. Some of the most exceptional scenery and activity packed locations is Canada’s Rocky Mountains, located in the Southern part of Alberta.

We may be a prairie province with wheat fields as far as you can see but we also have hours upon hours of mountainous terrain – perfect for a road trip with family or friends. You can drive from Jasper National Park to Banff National Park (or the other way around!) and have breathtaking views at every turn, plenty of break spots and tourist points to take some of the very best pictures and partake in tons of activities from horseback riding and hiking to whitewater rafting or bungee jumping.

Whether you’re a summer sun-seeker or a winter nut searching for some of the best powder on the slopes the Rocky Mountains are perfect all year round. This summer we took a family road trip where we made our way from Jasper to Banff, camping out along the way and exploring some of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen.

We began our journey on the road, mountains on either side and passing by herds of elk and mountain goats. We had our fun of exploring Jasper town and checking out the trails through the wooded forest near our campsite. 

Jasper

Elk

Jasper

Sunset in Jasper National Park

Rocky Mountains

Jasper (6) Jasper (4)

By the second day we were suited up in our wetsuits and willingly let ourselves be taken by the river, propped up in raft. If you haven’t tried whitewater rafting, I highly recommend it! Be prepared to be drenched in ice cold mountain water – especially if you’ve been volunteered to sit right up in front! My cousin and I may have swallowed half of the river that afternoon.

If you took the icy plunge, as we did, follow our lead and go directly to Miette Hot Springs. Lucky for us, we were camping just up the road from the hot springs and got there just as the sun was setting, dipping into the hot water to thaw our chilled bones.

Jasper National Park sunset

sunset

After having our fill, we headed on to our first stop: Athabasca Falls.

Athabasca Falls

Athabasca Falls

And took our next stop along the Icefields Parkway, where I went snap happy and landed my favorite shot of the trip:

Icefields Parkway

Before long we had arrived in Banff National Park, setting up camp just outside of town and cozying up to a fire and some well deserved glasses of wine.

 

For a more detailed itinerary of the Rocky Mountains, click here and stay tuned for the rest of this adventure!