Sipping from freshly chopped green coconuts the size of a football (the eggish one) in the light of the rising sun and taking romantic walks on the star lighted beach accompanied just by you and your Self, feeling the smoothness of the sand between your toes and the quiet cracks of shells washed ashore cracking under the weight of your levitating body, falling into thousand pieces, reconnecting with eternity. Traveling to unique places inhaling the scent of adventure sprinkled with freedom.
Well, that’s all history now. Welcome back home – the place where nothing changed, except yourself and the one girl from 6th grade who has a child by now.
The place you called Home
Coming home from travel is strange. First, looking forward returning to familiar territories having a real bed you’ll be sleeping on for the next few weeks, feeling excited to hug your long missed family. Then, one week in, you notice that 6 months abroad don’t mean anything.
Life just passes by and I bet even after 2 years everything would still be the same, slightly different but not too much to blow your mind. I mean you haven’t spend your last 24 years in prison living isolated from the rest of the world.
The only things you’re missing out are new dank memes and the newest hits in pop culture. To be honest, not even you change, when you get home. Maybe that’s why you’re finding yourself in the same position before you left. Looking for a way to escape this reality your born into which doesn’t cope with YOUR reality.
What are you going to do in the future? While traveling this is a pleasing question answered by the location with where you’re going to eat today’s dinner (in case you’d already knew it by lunchtime) or what tour you’re planning for the next day. Back home this question is more heavy, especially if you haven’t really had time to acclimate yourself to this old but new reality back home
Back home this question is more heavy, especially if you haven’t really had time to acclimate yourself to this old but new reality back home
This one question stays with you day in and day out. Parents, siblings, friends, society, facebook, your head. While walking down the ghats in Varanasi, your plan was just to say hello and leave as soon as the next opportunity arrives. Just too bad this plan isn’t accepted anymore. You have to do something ‘real’. Study, cut your hair, be a lawyer, get a job. Not the kind where you can leave anytime but the one which requires you to stay.
Before I went back to Germany I thought I will cope with that phenomenon which also fits the criteria of reverse cultureshock. Thought I’ll have enough to do keeping me occupied. Oh boy, I have never been so wrong but with more than one month back (crazy!) it’s getting better and better each day.
As thinking too much really hurts and we proactively want to cope with that sadness & depression here are 7 tips to get you out of that endless seeming pit.
1. Socialize – Say hello until you’re tired
Since you’ve been away for a pretty long time and haven’t had much contact with your friends and family back home other than through your conversations on social media, spend some time with them. They missed you, even if they don’t show it.
Use the bubble of free time to catch up with the newest family news (conspiracies, weddings, etc.) and go out with your friends! Stay with them until you told everyone about your travel stories including new cultural findings or that one time you found an abandoned temple in Laos’ jungle.
Once you’re done with that go to networking events and annoy other people or sell yourself and your skills as SEO optimizer, travel consultant or somebody who just waited his whole for you to pay you for your work.
2. Pick up your broom and clean out!
“Start cleaning, seriously?” Yep, exactly. Do some housework and continue until the voices in your head shut up! That’s actually one tip my Guru Umesh from Varanasi gave me. This method is part of the training to see every boring monotonous task as a meditative practice.
Just imagine that with every swipe you’re making to clean your room you make some space up in your mind, making it calmer, lessening the thought dirt. Guess why you saw all those monks and grown up men in South-East-Asia sweeping the floors all day long? It’s a common practice taught along with the Buddhist teaching to calm the all too chatty monkey mind.
Guess why you saw all those monks and grown up men in South-East-Asia sweeping the floors all day long? It’s a common practice taught along with the Buddhist teaching to calm the all too chatty monkey mind.
3. Revive those forgotten hobbies
While you’re on the road you’re constantly doing something on and off. Having new awesome experiences every day but nothing long-lasting except the magic of travel on its own. With not constantly shifting places anymore you can use your acquired free time back home to dive into those hobbies long time not touched. Maybe even something picked up on the go like the time you discovered Tai Chi in Chiang Rai.
Start hitting the fuddy-duddy keys of your piano and teach yourself that song you always wanted to learn (Amelie, maybe?). Do gardening, spending some time in nature is always balm for the soul, or start a new sports practice to also loose those added pounds.
Yeah, sports can fall behind when our on the road. There is just so much food and other things to do. Post-travel-depression is the perfect time to make use of those soul-lifters. For me, it’s cooking. What is yours?
4. Extend your travel through Social media
Although your trip may be officially over, I bet you still have tons of unpublished pictures containing wonderful memories in your smartphone or your cloud still waiting to get public exposure and their 15 minutes of fame. In case you’re owning a travel blog you’ll probably find a new topic to talk about.
I actually have a friend who started her travel blog 4 years after her travel recreating her journey now on her blog and facebook and so tricking her unknowing following into believing she being abroad while overcoming coldness and Fernweh at home. Once I came back to good old cloudy and cold Germany I valued seeing pictures of jungle, sunshine, beaches or simply pure happiness even more.
5. Get down and dirty and earn that extra coin – Work
The best short-term solution for post-travel depression definitely is keeping yourself busy to simply not providing your head enough time to overthink EVERYTHING. So why not combine keeping yourself busy with earning money.
Retailers, restaurants or cafes who are looking for skilled personal like you who can deal with any upcoming situation who will also be able to deal with a moody customer wanting a dairy-fee frappuccino with chocolate sauce and cookie crumbles! So what are you waiting for? Get dirty and earn yourself some start money for your next trip!
In case you are not feeling like leaving your couch at all at the moment try freelancing using portals like upwork and monetize your designing skills or sell your unique gift in writing catchy headlines!
6. Make plans for the future aka Goals
Even if the encountered reality back home now seems teensy-weensy ridiculous and you probably prefer to hang loose than to force yourself into fixed roles excluding all those wonders which you may pick up on the way having no plan for the near future will make you post-travel depression even worse.
Setting no goal is convenient for some parts of your life but especially in post-travel times, it’s one of the few actions which will give you long-term calmness. They at least keep you distracted from overthinking (mostly).
You don’t have to set a fancy goal like getting 3 kids by the age of 32. Setting a goal like going abroad in autumn again is perfectly fine. Now you can work on reaching that goal by incorporation point 5 and earn some cash. Or maybe you want to stay a little longer and indeed want to become a lawyer. You’re the one in charge. Just decide!
7. You’re not alone!
Although you may think that nobody of your friends and family understands you. You are not going through this time alone. We are standing through this together. If you find yourself having a hard time let me know and I personally will do my best to cheer you up until you find the next opportunity to fly out again.
You are awesome! Keep rocking and thank you for being!
In the end, the essence of traveling is just like the usage of MDMA. A jaunty, footloose high followed by a bottomless, depressing low. Creating demand. Living solely for the next trip. The next escape.
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