Anyone who’s travelled knows how weird, unpleasant and uncomfortable returning from travel can be.
There’s beauty to it, too. Seeing loved ones. Being the centre of attention for a little bit. Your own pillow.
But there’s also a downside to coming home. I like to call it the post-travel blues.
Travel – it broadens our minds and enlivens our hearts
See, when we are travelling, life is magical. All the stress and worry of “real life” just melts away. We become magical creatures who gallivant around the world, care-free and transient. We realise so much about ourselves and others. We have gigantic epiphanies about our lives and how we can improve them.
What’s more, we learn. We learn a hell of a lot. We are confronted with new and varied situations and people all the time. We connect with people from all over the world. Some will be our companions for only a few minutes, and others will become friends we carry through life. Strangers we meet on the road seem closer to us than people we’ve known for years.
Through travel we become adaptable, flexible and easy-going. We de-stress. We learn what’s important and what isn’t. I personally always find after travelling I’m so much less concerned with being organised and on time than I was before. Upon returning, it takes a while to get wound up again.
And then… Reality clunks into place, and the wheels of the grind begin to whir.
We get home. We descend into our home city, cattle on a gigantic airbus. That feeling of whomp in our chest, upon touching down at home. Reality strikes our hearts, and strikes deep. Realising we have work, or uni, or nothing the next day. Realising we have no money. No more holiday leave left in the bank. No job perhaps. Realising it’s over, for now. Realising that it’s time to get back to real life. This is the cycle of travel.
It’s pretty common, I think, to feel a bit depressed upon returning from travel. Heading back to work would be mega shit. Luckily for me (or, unluckily for me?), I don’t have a job to go back to. I’ve been home 4 days and I haven’t gone to work because, currently, I don’t have work. I haven’t been able to bring myself to apply for a single job. I’m contemplating my next steps and that’s okay. I think.
Anyway, I digress. If you feel shit upon returning from travel, that’s completely normal. You’re just recalibrating to home life.
The post-travel shake up
Don’t be surprised if you want to make radical changes to your lifestyle upon returning from travel. That’s normal, too. Travel really makes us question our everyday lives, and specifically, what is wrong with them.
You get home and you may want to change your job, or even your career. You may want to move abroad. You may want to return to study. You may want to make any one of a number of large life changes. On your journey, you may have actually realised what it is you need to do.
Some of you will actually do it. Some will wait just a week too long, and consequently will inadvertently settle back into normal life. You may forget that feeling, that travel inspiration, that need or want or wish to change your life for the better. I hope you don’t.
I hope you all make the changes, before it’s too late. Don’t let normal life creep over your dreams like ivy. Real life can be like a toxin, poisoning our dreams with its commitment to consumerism and paying rent and being enslaved.
So, if you have had a gigantic realisation on your trip, act on it. If you can, if there’s any way at all to do it – do it. You get one life. If you’re lucky enough to have travelled and realised what you want, you have an obligation (to yourself) to go after it.