Travel. It brings you happiness and the adventures of a lifetime. Anyone who has ever travelled overseas will agree and they’ll happily tell you all about their wild stories and pearls of wisdom. But there is one story you never hear, and something that you never associate with travelling, the feeling of complete and utter sadness; a kind of depression that is more foreign than a Ukrainian independent LGBT rom-com. I’m talking about that shit wave that smashes into you once you return home from travelling: post travel depression.
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend seven months gallivanting around Europe and North America and have just returned to Australia a few weeks ago. Of course, it’s great seeing friends and family, eating out at your favourite café and drinking decent coffee again (truly, we are spoilt in Australia for good coffee) but then the hype kind of wears off and you start being rudely nudged by that travel bug that’s trying to settle down into your soul; but it can’t quite get comfortable.
Post Travel Depression, I argue, is a real and genuine thing that overcomes you a few weeks after returning from overseas. The worst thing is that you're never really prepared for it. No matter if you're a seasoned traveler or a first timer, I promise that it will still hit you as hard every time. You come back from your holiday (or in my case, exchange) and you're like a minor celebrity. You walk around, see everyone you know, everyone's asking about your trip, your pictures, if you met any cute boys... and you're ecstatic.
But then a week passes by, you start working again, then another week passes by, and you're hanging out at your old bar, then a few more days pass by and it's honestly like you've never left. Everything you've experienced just feels like a dream. But how could it be a dream? It was one of the best experiences of your life! And slowly but surely you slip right back into your old life, and you start sinking. And you find yourself asking… did that even happen?
I think the worst part is when you feel that you've changed, grown and had your mind and eyes well and truly blown. You feel enlightened, refreshed, knowledgeable, confident...you've basically created the best version of yourself whilst on your travels, but the people you know and love back home can't see it. Sure they may notice little things, that you've put on some weight from all those baguettes (guilty), or picked up a weird accent, but at the end of the day, they'll never truly understand. And that contributes to the 'dreamlike' feeling of your experience, you feel yourself losing a part of the person you became overseas.
We can't always do everything we want to do. Reality strikes, your visa is up, your exchange is over, your return flight is booked and you've got things to do, money to earn and more Tinder matches to swipe. This doesn't mean you have to be boring, but it does mean that physical barriers exist and at the end of the day, if you can't be there in person, I'm sure you're there in spirit (drinking all the spirits at the party whilst killing it at beer pong – hey, it’s one of the many things you learn to do well whilst travelling).
While everyone will experience 'post travel depression' differently and adjust at different rates and in different ways, I promise you, you'll get through it. Soon enough you'll be planning your next trip and starting your next adventure. The most important thing to remember is that travel and adventure are not just actions, they’re mindsets. So keep positive, live with purpose and accept and respect your feelings. You've gotta look after yourself, so that you can adjust to life back home, whilst planning your next adventure so you can unleash that travel bug once again.
Adelaide is a twenty something human and yes that is her real name. She doesn’t go far without her Doc Martens and a skinny cappuccino. She loves travelling and thinks it’s the best way to meet exciting men (people). When she’s not at uni or daydreaming at the beach, you will find her writing on her blog A Worldly Addiction.