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!