“So what’s it like to be back?” This is the question that we’ve had to answer most often since returning from our 14 month trip around the world. The short answer is, it sucks. We would have loved to have continued hiking, cycling, and SCUBA diving our way around the world, meeting new people, discovering favourite foods, and visiting familiar friends in foreign places, but the responsible thing to do was, of course, to make our way back home to Canada.
The long answer is more complicated though. We are very happy to see our friends and family again and we have had lots of fun setting up our new place and settling into a more stable routine. That said, being able to hike and explore every day while we were travelling was pretty freaking amazing.
It’s a somewhat surreal feeling to be back at the same job (in Thea’s case), seeing the same people, returning to old haunts and returning to a life that was very similar to the one we lived before we left. As a friend who did a similar long trip said to us when we got back “It’s like you never left!”
There’s some definite truth to that but we’re not finished figuring out how much this experience has changed us and in what ways.
So many people know that the post-trip blues are a very real thing, whether you’ve travelled for 2 weeks or 2 years, and for people who have lived abroad returning can often be more difficult than adjusting to a new home overseas. Nevertheless, we’re well aware that no one wants to hear you talk about your vacation ad nauseum despite how much they may have missed you when you were gone. So what can one do to beat the post-trip blues? We’ve compiled some ideas below:
Plan your next Vacation!
We mean it. No matter how broke you may feel after a trip, studies have shown that many people get more of a happiness boost from planning their next vacation than they do from actually being on vacation. It doesn’t have to be a big, costly affair. Simply planning a camping weekend with friends or a new backpacking trip on a local trail can help ease the pain of your last vacation being over.
Discover what’s new in your Home
Especially if you’ve been gone a long time, there are undoubtedly some new attractions, restaurants, parks, or shows to see in your hometown. Even if they have always been there and you just haven’t been able to visit yet, make a point of seeking these out and being a tourist in your own city.
Share experiences and photos strategically
So some of your friends and family have said they want to sit through a photo slideshow, pick a country or region and then share that with them. If you did a long trip, that’s probably way too much for people to sit through but if there are some genuine keeners out there who want to look at your photos with you, then take them up on it. You’ll be able to get it out of your system so that you don’t bore your completely uninterested friends with endless travel stories which is something we’re probably guilty of doing.
Put together Presentations for local Businesses and Organizations
Building on the last point, consider putting together a structured presentation and reaching out to local businesses and/or organizations to see if they would host you for an event. Many hiking clubs, community associations, non-profits, and outdoor retailers, for example, would be happy to have you share some of your experiences at an event hosted by them. You may even get a nice gift in exchange for your efforts! If the thought of public speaking terrifies you, seek out other people’s presentations and enjoy hearing from other travellers about their adventures.
Keep a journal
There are endless studies that point to the benefits of regular journaling and writing about your travels is a way to beat the post-trip blues. It’s also a good way to lock your favourite memories in. Details will fade, experiences will blend together, and some will be forgotten. Your journal will help you relive the good times.
Spend time with Other Travellers
Fellow travellers are the only people that truly get what you’re going through. Seek them out and share your favourite travel stories over a pint or a coffee. If you don’t have many friends who travel, then check out your local Couch Surfing or Meet Up scene. Lastly, there’s always Facebook groups, Tweetups, and Reddit subs specifically for travellers but they may end up giving you more wanderlust than anything else!
Take up a New Hobby
You undoubtedly tried new things while you were travelling and some of them were probably pretty fun! Even if you didn’t do a certain activity or hobby before you left, why not it out when you got back? It could be as simple as daily writing, learning an instrument or language, joining a fitness class, etc. Having something to work on will remind you that there may be a little more to life than travel, and it’s good for both your soul and brain!
Go Travelling Again!
Who are we kidding, nothing beats the blues of missing travel than more travel. Take a short trip, have a micro-adventure, or do something to inspire some awe. As Sam Cooke would say “don’t fight it, feel it!”