Do you guys know that feeling?
That little pit in your heart that comes around after you curl up for the first time in your own cozy bed, after that first round of drinks with your friends, and maybe if you’re lucky after you spend an afternoon with your family?
The one that comes around when you’ve just returned from a whirlwind adventure and are back in that place you call home?
Maybe there’s some joy at first in re-gaining your comforts, but then routine hits, and your heart sinks low, and that little pit shows up — when your post-travel depression sets in.
It’s been 3 weeks and 3 days since I landed in south FL from NYC, and as is typical for my natural rhythm, my itchy feet and wanderlust heart are weighing so heavy on me the past few days!
This may sound crazy to some of you, but as someone who left it all behind to travel for a living and has spent 7 of the past 12 months on the road, sitting in one spot that long is a major lifestyle shift!
When we travel (especially solo), our minds are completely tuned in, soaking up new experiences, absorbing the sights and sounds and smells and cultures and conversations and working on overdrive to navigate us through unfamiliar territory.
And then when we get back home, that race comes to a standstill — and our mind’s left yearning for the same level of adrenaline.
Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, PTD is real — it’s science — and since we teach best what we most need to learn, here are a few of my favorite tips on how to beat post-travel depression:
1- Create a Memory Piece
Easy answer first — cherish the adventure! Making something creative like a scrapbook, painting or photo collage is a great way to meet your racing brainwaves on their level.
If you have creative friends or family, making it together can be a fun way to share your memories, while weaving you back into the familiarities of home.
2- Define the Lessons
The beauty of travel is that we’re constantly out of our comfort zone and therefore learning, but unless you’re naturally introspective you’re probably not writing the lessons down in your head as you go.
What did you learn on your trip? About yourself? About others? About the world? How can those things apply to every day life? Drawing parallels can help level out your emotions about two seemingly different versions of reality.
3- Switch Up Your Routine
If back from a trip means jumping immediately back into a commute, an office, the gym, a strict diet and a rigid schedule, it’s no wonder you’re feeling the blues, you’re in culture shock!
Whether you add a Salsa class to your workout to keep the Mexican dreams alive or decide to eat cake for breakfast, this is the perfect time to mix something new into your routine.
4- Indulge in the Simple Pleasures
Thinking about your trip, what were the parts you enjoyed most?
Was it the cultural experience? The new people? The relaxation? The food? Once you’ve identified what you enjoyed most, make a point to weave that into your life at home.
Something as simple as making the amazing Keshi-Yena that you had for dinner that one night can add major fulfillment to your week, and also allows you to share the experience with others.
5- Plan the Next One
The truth is, it’s a cliche for a reason — once you’ve been bit with the travel bug, it never truly goes away.
My best and favorite tip to get over those post-travel blues, is to start planning your next trip!
Why am I laughing into an apple in a furry coat in the middle of the dessert, you might ask?
Why not?! I’m traveling!
Hope those were helpful….meanwhile I’ll be hanging here in south FL for exactly 4 more weeks, catching up on freelance work, checking out a few new restaurants and creating all sorts of wonderful travel plans, all the while dreaming of mountaintops…
Images by Antonio Venegas.