As we continue to isolate at home and wait out the spread of Covid-19, many of us are dealing with the disappointment of cancelled plans and trips cut short. For all the travel literature out there, one aspect that often gets overlooked is dealing with the aftermath of travelling.
When you’ve just had the trip of a lifetime, had countless adventures, met some incredible people, and learnt a lot about yourself at the same time – what comes next? Sure, the first week back may be a blur of excited reunions and passionate retellings of stories, but inevitably daily life in all its mundanity starts to creep back in. Made worse by the long dull days in isolation, this can be a profoundly depressing time, and dealing with the post-travel blues can be a serious challenge. With this guide, we offer a few tips to try to ease the emotional load and get you back on your feet, ready for the next adventure, whenever that may be!
The worst thing is to suddenly go from a lifestyle where you’re constantly on the move, to sitting in your mum’s house, unemployed and underwhelmed. Getting a job lined up the second you get home may not be possible for everyone, but finding other ways to stay busy over your first weeks back can be a big help in staving off those blues. Picking up old hobbies or getting into a good fitness routine can help ease you back into the home lifestyle.
In times free of coronavirus, another good idea is to keep the momentum of travel going by exploring your local area. Remember when a 5-hour bus journey didn’t seem so long? Why not put that newfound hardiness for long journeys to use by visiting friends in another city, or making an outing to a national park you’ve always thought sounded interesting? It is important to remember that travel is a state of mind and just because you’re not in the Himalayas, doesn’t mean you can’t capture the feeling from your own country, and make the most of its offerings.
How about organising a zoom call trivia night based around places, events or people from your travels?
Keep in contact with travel buddies
You just went through an amazing experience, so why doesn’t anyone want to hear about it? It can be pretty demoralising seeing your friends from home start to glaze behind the eyes as you bring up that trek that changed your life. Make sure you keep in contact with people you can reminisce with, to keep the memories alive and stay connected to all those pals you made across the world. How about organising a Zoom call trivia night based around places, events or people from your travels? For example, a “name that hostel” round could be a fun way to reminisce about those amazing (and not so amazing) places you stayed in along the way.
Organise your memories
Doubtless you took hundreds of pictures on your travels and finding a good way of organising them can be a great way to capture the magic of your trip. Making a scrapbook, or getting them printed can help keep them with you and give you an excuse to dive back in. Look online for creative inspiration to help you make something beautiful to keep forever. Making a scrapbook for a friend you travelled with could also be an incredible gift. Using apps like Skratch to create a personalised map of your travel memories can be a fun way to show others where you’ve been and to help you work out where you want to go next. Alternatively, writing a blog or journal of your trip can also help to keep all those memories alive in one convenient place. It’s amazing how quickly you can forget little details!
Plan your next trip
What better way to deal with the blues that followed your last trip, than by getting excited about the next? Though we cannot be certain when we will be free to travel again, we can certainly get planning and be ready to snap up those cheap flight deals the second restrictions lift. Hunt through Pinterest or travel blogs for inspiration. Get marking out routes on maps and calculating budgets and itineraries. Who will you go with? What time of year? Will you tie it in with a festival? Make a collaborative Google Doc with friends where everyone can pitch in ideas and images.
Repay the favour
So many people talk about the kindness of strangers when travelling and it is these little acts of generosity that can sometimes make a trip special or give a lasting impression about a country. Why not pay these acts forward then by helping out a traveller visiting your town or city? For example, once coronavirus lifts, you could try out a service like Couchsurfing and host a backpacker on your sofa. Chances are you’ll end up making a new friend and will enjoy showing them everything your area has to offer. Helping someone out with getting a sim card or navigating public transport, may be a small act, but to visitors it can make all the difference and leave them with a great impression of your country as a whole. On top of this may have the favour repaid and get a free night on a couch yourself when you’re next in their part of the world.
Likeminded people are always out there, whether it be a running club, art nights at a local café or joining the cause by getting involved with local activist movements.
Remember the beauty of home life
Spending a long time on the move is an incredible experience and a luxury, but at times it requires sacrifices. Use this time at home to build on the things that can sometimes get lost from long periods away, like close family bonds or meaningful connections with friends and partners. Sometimes travel can be an escape mechanism for those looking for meaning and purpose, something that can often be found on your front door. What are you searching for? If it is excitement, or the thrill of meeting new people or cultures – why not join a local community group? Likeminded people are always out there, whether it be a running club, art nights at a local café or joining the cause by getting involved with local activist movements.
If none of these seem to exist, why not set up your own? Travel is a luxury only afforded to some and those that can are increasingly being mindful of the environmental impact air travel is having. For this reason and many others, starting to look homeward and bringing the state of mind that travel brings to your local area may be a positive step towards bringing us together in a more mindful and sustainable way.