Travel provides us with the highest of natural highs – the sights, the experiences, the new people you meet, the new food you try, the fact that drinking beers and cocktails long in to the early hours of the morning is the norm rather than the exception – and so when it comes to the end of it all we can be met with the lowest of crashing lows.
Unless you’re in a position to be location independent and constantly on the go – a lifestyle most of us can only aspire to but one which, I am reliably informed, is not all carefree glamour and hedonistic fun – all of us have our travel experiences come to an end and reality bring us back down to earth with a bump.
So what to do about it? Well, you can wallow and bemoan the fact you’re not able to do the thing you love most again for a while. Or you can try some of these…
The obvious one. Because whilst you invariably lament all of those great travel experiences when you’re back home, you most probably catch yourself missing the uniquely lumpy mattress of your own bed, or the café just down the road that does your cappuccino just the way you like it, or the fortnightly poker nights with the guys from work. We all have regular things in our lives that make us inwardly smile, and it’s time to appreciate those again after having had some time away from them.
Appreciate Home as a Destination
Wherever you live in the world, I can guarantee you that there are people elsewhere in the world who have it on their bucket list. So don’t take it for granted! In fact, one of life’s travel-related pleasures can be to show a fascinated visitor around your home town, or place you live. I live in London and can easily take the fact I do for granted; seeing the wide-eyed look of wonder on a first time visitor’s face teaches me to try not to.
You know how Christmas is as much about the build up as the day itself? I’m not saying that travel is comparable to Christmas or any other major religious holiday or festival, but it’s true that anticipating your travels can make you happy too.. There’s no one way to go about planning a trip – some folks plan everything to the nth degree, others are content to wing it – but just by reading up on a destination, even if you make provisional itineraries only to abandon them later, can also give you that warm, excited, Christmas Day build up feeling.
The more you read…
“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.” Roald Dahl, Matilda
Reading books, my friends, can make you think and feel in a way that no other form of art can. The private discourse between author and reader has the power to create near transcendental experiences in the reader’s mind. In the sense of travel, it can fire your imagination about places around the world; this is true of both fiction and, oh yes, travel writing. Reading is also a great boost to one’s empathy, which rather neatly brings me on to…
There’s no getting around the fact that travel is often an inherently selfish activity and, like it or not, left to our own devices we are essentially left with our own thoughts. All. The. Time. That’s why reading, with its clever trick of pulling you out of your own headspace, is one way to spend time with thoughts other than your own. You can be as selfish as you like with what you get up to at home of course, but it’s not healthy and is probably the root cause of the post travel blues in the first place. Instead, actively seek out your friends and find out what they’ve been up to (rather than you talk at them about your wonderful travels the whole time). Perhaps consider doing some voluntary work to also gain an insight in to the experiences of others, and put yours in perspective. It will help you realise that…
There’s More to life than Travel
Travel is undoubtedly my favourite thing. I make sacrifices and plan a lot of my life around it. But that doesn’t mean it takes over my every waking moment. To have any one particular thing take over your whole life borders on obsession and is not healthy. So whether it’s flying a kite, collecting coins, learning to snowboard, playing the piano or any other number of things you can do that you enjoy, immersing yourself in other interests is a sure fire way to get over those post-travel blues.
How do you deal with the post travel blues?