Life After Travel: How to cope with the travel blues
Travel blues are like the holiday blues, only amplified. Unlike the holiday blues, the travel blues can cause serious mental health challenges that take some time to heal. When you come home from travel, whether you’ve been backpacking, living, or working abroad, you come home to a place that feels different. When you go on holiday, it is usually for a week or two and when you get home, you feel sad. No more relaxing by the pool, you’re back into full swing and have to catch up on what you have missed over the past couple of weeks at a super-fast pace.
The travel blues is a much deeper sadness and unlike the holiday blues, you probably won’t have a job to return to. The first few weeks are fun, as you catch up with family and friends, eat all your favourite dinners and you genuinely feel good to be home. When this fun phase passes, an emptiness begins to set in, what do you do now?
You have to find work, maybe find a new place to live. Chances are you have returned home with little or no money, with no cash flow due anytime soon. You have to try and reconnect with those around you, which can be tough because you aren’t the same person you were before you went away. Life can feel disjointed and you desperately miss the fun times you had whilst away, not to mention the friends you met and the constant buzz of a new adventure.
Travel Blues Buster #1
The first thing to remember when faced with the travel blues is acceptance. Being aware of how you are feeling and why you are feeling it, will help you to deal with it. It’s ok to miss something but holding on will hurt you so much more. Talking to someone else about how you are feeling can help to release it. Not everyone will get it, but that is ok! There is a private Facebook group called Life After Travel, where you can find other people, who like you are facing these same struggles. They get you.
You can also speak to a counsellor, friend, life coach, or some random person at the bus stop (I know you will have done that a few times before). Acknowledging your feelings and openly talking to others about them will really help you. There is still a bit of a stigma around talking about how you feel, but if there is one thing I know for sure, you are not alone.
Travel Blues Buster #2
Have a plan. One adventure has just ended and now it is time for a new one. So what do you want to do? Contrary to what you may think, you have returned home to a blank page, a new beginning, and it is by your hand that the next pages will be written. Set yourself some time to write down all the things you want to do next. Did you pick up a new interest whilst you were away? How can that be incorporated into what you do next? If you find mapping out a plan of attack difficult, then why not recruit a friend or family member to help you? If not, try a life coach! Their expertise lies in helping you achieve your dream life. Sounds cliche, but in a nutshell, that is pretty much what they can do.
Travel Blues Buster #3
Look after yourself. Stress can have a detrimental impact on your physical health, so self-care is paramount. Everyone is different when it comes to relaxing. Some find meditation helpful, others prefer a long hot bath. It does not matter what you do as long as what you do is for you. There was a lot of you’s in that sentence, but your life is about you! Your life cannot exist without you, so make sure you are ok.
Travel Blues Buster #4
Have something to look forward to. Whether it be your next trip away, a festival with friends in the summer or even purchasing a new car, make it your thing to aim for and be excited about. When we move through life with nothing to be excited about, we become stagnant, and guess what? We feel worse. If you want to go somewhere new next year, make a plan, and then get excited about it, work towards it.
There are a lot of things in life that we cannot control, but there are also a lot that we can. Not every day is a wild adventure, a lot of the days in between the great stuff are the days where we are planning and building the foundation that leads us to those awesome things.
So have fun, be real with yourself, and get to writing the next chapter!