10 tips to overcome post-travel depression

The travel bug – when coming home hurts inside.

Someone with a travel bug cannot stay at home for long. If you are not able to travel as much as you want to or to live the normadic lifestyle the way you want it; you are likely to be upset when coming home after one of your journeys. Coming home after a long journey is not easy. You are not able to go back to your old life as you became a different person by now. Traveling changed you. All you see back home is probably the old, boring place you grew up at. To avoid feeling stuck at home, there are 10 simple steps to overcome post-travel depression.

1.) Come back in spring 

To avoid post-travel depression, I recommend coming home when it is nice and sunny outside. While traveling, you probably experienced nice weather all the time. Your body and your soul are not used to cold and darkness anymore. It is going to take you around six month to get over the worst part of post-travel depression, I recommend coming home in spring to give yourself enough time to adjust to the situation. Spring is the time for new beginning, awakening, the time, when life arises. Spring is the time for growth and development, for plans, ideas and projects. Use the energy of the earth to make it easier for you to come back home.

2.) Finances

Think about your finances before starting a trip or at least before coming home. How do you pay your rent, food and health insurance, in case you don’t find a job straight away? Save some money to cover expenses for the first three month to give yourself time to adjust to the new situation and find a job and a flat without too much pressure. It might be hard to cut down on travel expenses to save for the time back home, but returning is part of the journey.

3.) Step by step 

Do not tell everyone about your return date. At the beginning, it might be enough to see your family and the closest friends. If you tell everyone, you are probably going to get a bunch of messages and everyone wants to meet you immediately. This might too much to take in at the beginning. Take it slow and step by step. Your friends stayed at home while you have been traveling around the globe. Be prepared to feel misunderstood and lonely among your friends and to hear the question “what did you like the most” a dozen times. You are going to be close again, but it takes time. Trust in yourself and your long-known friend.

4.) Let go:

When you open all your boxes of clothes and storages, let go off all the stuff that you do not need anymore. When yo travel, all you need is tucked down in a backpack. Every tiny thing you had was something that you really needed. Traveling turned you into a minimalist. Having more than you need will give you the feeling of getting pulled down. Do not overload yourself with stuff that you do not need but enjoy your new freedom and bring this change and the new lifestyle into life back home by letting go off all the things you do not need. Donate the things you do not need to a charity. The feeling that you have done something meaningful will fulfill you more than the possession.

4.) Write a happy-list while traveling:

Ask yourself, what does traveling make so important to you? What is it, you’re of loosing when coming home? Freedom? The people? What do you enjoy doing while traveling? Is there any way to do so at home as well? Write down a happy-list with at least five things you appreciate while traveling (for example: writing into a journal, drinking fresh fruit smoothies, meeting new people, sleeping in a hostel, pancakes for breakfast). Plan to do one of these things every day once you are back home. Stay true to what you have learned to do and do not change your daily routine just because you deal with a different situation now.

5.)  Foreign friends:

Once home, make friendship with foreign people: meeting travellers in your home city gives you the chance to  experience your home town with the eyes of a traveler. You can use Couchsurfing to meet travellers or foreigners living in your home city, you can go in a hostel (or even work there). The traveler spirit will be transferred to you. Happiness is only real when shared.

6.) Host travellers:

I hosted quite a few travellers in my apartment via the app couchsurfing. Whenever a traveler is staying at my place, the travel spirit comes back to me. I feel it all over my body and in my lungs. I recommend hosting them for two nights as it gives you the chance to spend a whole day together and to get to know each other. On top of that, you have much better chances to find a host when you have several references, so you can prepare your next journey while being at home. My recommendation: host or meet-up with a traveler once a month. It is all about making it a habit and creating a new life style instead of falling back into old routines and nine to five.

7.) Short-trips

No matter how tight your budget and how limited your time is: plan one short-trip a month. You do not need to travel far to get into the travel spirit. You do not need to travel for long neither do you need to travel far to fall back into the travel spirit. The feeling will come over you as soon as you get on the way to the bus, plane or train with your backpack on your shoulders. Nowadays, there are many budget flights available and bus companies bring you for low fare and environmentally friendly to another location.  

8.) Learn a new language

Learn a new language or improve your English skills: Do you remember, how bad your English language skills where before you turned into a traveler (unless you are a native speaker). And do you remember the joy of improving your treasury of words? Keep working on that, extend your vocabulary by practicing specific topics every day or focus on another language. If you learn some Spanish it is going to help you a lot when traveling in South America and you can prepare for your next journey easily while being at home that way.

9.) Create a photo album 

Create a photo album, start a blog or anything that brings back your travel memories. Although it it might be hard to browse through travel pictures, these memories are important to you. Keep them safe. Remembering the great moments you had will help you to overcome post-travel depression.

10.) Give yourself time:

When you come back home after traveling for a longer time period give yourself six to 12 month to settle down.  During this time it is absolutely important to follow the tips above to make it easier for you to overcome the post-travel depression. 

11. Focus on your goals

You cannot go back into your old life because you are a different person now. And still, your friends and family will expect you to do so because that is how they remember you. Do not take it personal. Instead of that, set new goals of how to combine what you learned while traveling (minimalism, frugalism, openness) with what you already achieved before (a degree, an apprenticeship). How can you use what you already have to get where you want to be? Set goals and dream big. You have been able to travel for several month . You overcame your greatest fears and made the impossible possible. You will master the hard time of coming home and your future as well. Dare to dream. 

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