The post-travel blues. I’ve definitely been wrestling with them these past few months. However, that’s all a little tied up with moving back to the UK after half a decade living abroad. Plus, there’s a little reverse culture shock thrown in there for good measure!
And so I asked the travel blogging community if they had ever experienced something similar. Here’s what Megan Roughley of Where My Travels Takes Me and Rosie Fluskey of Flying Fluskey had to say about the dreaded post-travel blues:
Megan Roughley – Where My Travels Take Me
After an adventure away from home for quite some time, your mind is racing with all of the memories you have recently made and all of the experiences that have changed you for the better. You are coming home a changed person.
Travel changes you!
After four years of my undergrad I can easily say I learned more about myself and the world around me in the eight months I spent abroad after high school than in a classroom working towards my degree. However, coming home from a trip like this is an adjustment and it can be a bit uncomfortable. Such are the post-travel blues.
When you return home after the trip of a lifetime it is shocking how easy it is to fall back into old habits. Instead of waking up in a hostel bed, excited to explore a new city – you are back in your old bed, in a comfortable place, surrounded by familiar faces.
You get caught up with old friends and family, but you can’t express in words how much a certain situation changed you.
Eventually your friends get tired of your stories, so you have to internalize them. It helps if you traveled with a friend or a significant other because you can share those memories with each other and relate your experience abroad with the everyday occurrences of life at home.
One thing that I’ve noticed from being in this position quite a few times is eventually the trip that “changed” you is not the first thing that comes to mind when you wake up in the morning. Eventually, it will only be part of your conversations when someone or something triggers a memory.
For me, that is when I know I have to start planning my next big adventure. There is no limit to how much we can learn about ourselves through travel and I think when your “home” becomes too comfortable again, it’s time to push yourself to reach your potential and get “uncomfortable” in a new place by experiencing new things!
Megan has three passports and whole lotta wanderlust! She blogs at Where My Travels Take Me.
Rosie Fluskey – Flying Fluskey
In 2009, the economy in the UK was a bit of a mess. I had a good full-time job at Harrods, so it probably wasn’t the best time to go backpacking, but I don’t think I could’ve stayed. My then-boyfriend and I packed up our rucksacks and embarked on a five month trip.
Suddenly, our life became tuk-tuks, guesthouses and swapping tips and tricks for different countries. Haggling was the norm and oversharing about bathroom trips was wholeheartedly encouraged!
In our last month, we started talking about going home, but we were worried about feeling the post-travel blues.
Everyone said that when you get back, it’s like nothing has changed. I started to get worried though. I had emailed home describing my excitement about getting back in our bathtub in Brighton. Imagine my horror when my parents replied to say they had ripped in out to put in a shower stall!
Then I found out that the day before we landed that my mum was going to undergo a big operation. She donated a kidney, which is fully amazing. I visited her in hospital and she was puffed up with excess liquid as her body adjusted. She didn’t look like the Mum I’d remember. She needed lots of help and so I’d never seen her so fragile.
Suddenly, I was dealing with cooking and washing up again (I’d only cooked once in five months, at a cooking lesson). Housework was suddenly “a thing” again. There was no time to feel the post-travel blues I had been warned about.
However, getting a job again was a complete nightmare. Armed with a year and a half of Harrods on my CV, I thought I’d be fighting job offers off in Brighton shops, but the economy hadn’t improved and I struggled to find anything over five hours a week.
Primark finally offered me a 20 hour contract. I prepared myself to slip back into the the world of work, but I really struggled to fit in. I couldn’t talk about what I’d done, what I’d seen. People just glazed over. That’s when I felt the pang of the post-travel blues.
My last five months of experience was completely unrelatable for everyone in the shop. Their world was Brighton and not much further. It took me a long time to readjust to life in the UK. I even got an audition to go on the TV so I could go away again. It was the act of a desperate woman.
Rosie works for Virgin Atlantic Airways and blogs at Flying Fluskey.
The Post-Travel Blues
It’s something that’s inevitable at the end of any trip. That feeling of sand still in your shoes. That your heart is somewhere else. But this feeling is more than amplified when you take a longer trip – one that really changes you and how you see the world. It’s impossible to explain to anyone back home.
But, there will always be more adventures to come. In fact, the post-travel blues are a badge of honour to be worn by those that want to see the world and come back home a different person because of that discovery.