Have you ever had a debilitating case of post-adventure come-down, departure depression, or as I’ve started calling it, the “Being Back Blues”?
I got back from an amazing trip to Guatemala a few days ago and thanks to a dodgy helping of aeroplane grub I’ve been in bed ever since with food poisoning, the inevitable subsequent dehydration, and a whopping case of the sads.
But it’s time to tear myself from yet another Indiana Jones / Lara Croft marathon, put down the Cussler novel I’ve just finished and rejoin the “real world”. If you could see my face right now, it’s not impressed.
However, when things are all rocketing along in my amazing life as they normally do, I love and cherish every moment…so how do we wanderers extract ourselves from the inevitable quagmire of post-adventure self-pity and reignite our natural state of amazing-ness?
Here are 5 ideas that work for me:
1. Cry it out, then let it go
One of the biggest difficulties I find that we travelers face when coming home is that everyone else thinks we should be on cloud 9 about our adventure ending and “coming home”. Well, home is where the exhilaration is and sometimes (often) that is NOT where all of our sh*t lives.
It’s ok to be down about being back. Adventures feed our gypsy souls, ignite our curiosity, and afford experiences that staying in one place never could. So it’s only natural that after spending days, weeks, or even months on a travel high, that “settling in” to normalcy will feel slower, less exciting, and therefore depending on who you are, downright depressing.
So feel it. Put on all three Indie movies, grab a box of tissues and cry your eyes out for a bit. Grab a cold beer and disappear into a Cussler novel (just try not to enrol in a full-time archaeology university program from your phone in the process…trust me, it’s a struggle but do you really want $100k+ of student debt at age 30 and to move to rainy old Oxford for 4 years??)
Cry it out, then get over it.
When the movies are done, the last page is read and the tears are dried, take a deep breath and move on to one of the next 4 ideas.
2. Tick your last trip off on your travel map
I recently received a wonderful gift from my friend Alan at Infinite Safari Adventures – a scratch map, fully equipped with scratchable flags at the bottom!
Nothing feels as good to us wanderers as ticking another place off the old bucketlist, so having something like a scratch map or pin board where you can visually announce your adventure as complete can do wonders for departure depression.
Take a few moments of pride and reverence to carefully scratch off the site of your recent adventure, then the accompanying flag, or place a careful pin in the destination that rests so freshly in your memory.
3. Make a scrapbook
You might laugh, but I’ve been scrapbooking my adventures since the beginning. These books become precious visual catalogues of my travels, and capture all the images, emotion, excitement, hilarity, and little souvenirs from my trips. I love looking back through them, or leaving them in a basket on my shelves for friends to flip through and share my adventure.
The best time to make a scrapbook is in the first week of being home. Photos from your trip are the most recent on your phone, memories are fresh in your mind, and if you’re anything like me, it’ll take you about that long to actually unpack your bags so you’ll find ticket stubs, receipts, brochures and other scrap-able paraphernalia hidden in all sorts of pockets as you finally empty your bags.
If traditional paper-and-glue scrapbooking isn’t your style, there are lots of online book builders these days that are simple to use. I like Blurb personally but then again, I’m an old-school 3D type when it comes to scrapbooking… My favourite are Kolo’s Newport Albums, thick paper, durable binding and lots of colours to differentiate between your adventures.
4. Write about it
One of the main reasons I believe we feel sad upon returning to our normal lives is that we slow our accumulation of incredible stories. Someone once told me that “he who dies with the most stories, wins” and whilst I think there’s a little more to it then that, the experience of a story being born is a feeling like no other and the most stories are realized when we are off on an adventure. Coming home slows the rate at which new stories are created, thus making us feel like life is more boring than we’d like.
How do you celebrate a story? By sharing it with the world. Writing down our experiences, whether or not you think you’re a fabulous writer, is highly therapeutic and benefits both you and anyone who might read the story and from it take inspiration to go and create their own.
Creating your own blog, naming, setting up hosting, building the site, branding, and publicizing it might seem (and is!) a daunting task. If you want to write and share your travel tales without all the hassle, write about them right here on Travel Blogger Tales. The platform is free and you get a dedicated URL to share with friends and family so they too can enjoy the incredible stories so close to your heart.
5. Find friends and something fun right in your own backyard
Dorothy might believe ‘there’s no place like home’ and although I’m not necessarily in Camp OMG-I-Love-Kansas-So-Much with her, I cherish my friends and loved ones nearby very deeply. It’s easy to get swept right back into the monotony of work / school / etc after a trip and risk the angry kickback of the Being Back Blues.
Call up your closest friends and invite them to go on an adventure right here in your own locale. Is there a place you’ve “always planned to visit” nearby? How about an escape room? Hike you’ve been talking about taking forever? Pick any of the things on your nearby bucklet list and go do it!
For example, I’ve planned to head up to Ojai for a weekend with two incredible girlfriends next weekend and tomorrow I’ll be spending the day snuggling my big ball of wolf love at Apex Protection Project.
So there you have it, 5 ideas that – if you give them a whole-hearted try – can help you fend off those feelings of f*ck-it-all that we inevitably contract on the ride back from the airport and take out a new lease on being back…
…and if all else fails try this:
6. Book your next trip!
Nothing feels as good as a circled date on the calendar for when the seatbelt will next click into place and the wheels will lift you off the tarmac and on into the next adventure.