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Have you ever felt the post-travel blues?
That typical feeling experienced by many is a sensation of sadness, feeling let down, and overall not as excited to be back home after traveling.
It’s not always the most common thing to search online until you are the one going through it, so I hope that if this is you, this post will help you not only on how to manage it, but also understand it, and feel empowered by reframing this interesting concept and feeling.
It’s possible, so let’s get to it!
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What are the post-travel blues?
Maybe you’ve heard of this term before, or perhaps you’ve heard of the term post-travel depression, post-vacation sadness, post-travel syndrome, or even reverse culture shock.
Whatever term you’ve heard, according to Wikipedia, it’s a specific type of feeling that around 57% of travelers experience when returning from travel.
It’s a feeling of sadness that someone who has traveled for a certain amount of time may experience now that they are back home.
It’s a unique feeling and specific from person to person, and there is no specific amount of time it may last.
For some people, it may dissipate in a few days, and for many others, it can go on for a while.
It’s very real, and nothing to feel guilty about or negative for feeling.
In this post, I want to help empower you with a few tips that have helped me in my own post-travel blues journey in hopes that it can be something you learn from as well as manage for yourself in future travels to come.
How to once and for all deal with post-travel blues
The thing about post-travel depression or post-travel blues is that there can be multiple layers to it all.
It’s a process of coming back home that goes beyond the physical change of environment or time change.
It’s very much mental and emotional, especially if you’re coming back from your first trip abroad, or it was a trip that you enjoyed deeply.
This post will help you get some tips under your belt that will help you deal with the post-travel blues that will empower you to rethink this concept from victim of it to powerful and aware of what it really means.
Is it normal to cry after vacation?
It’s a no-brainer to us, travel lovers, that traveling is associated with higher life satisfaction.
There have been multiple studies done on workplace vacation policies, and their correlation to employee overall satisfaction and their health and wellness levels. Specifically, there was a case study where they looked at a work vacation policy that gave its employees 10-day paid vacation leave, and later on, found that there was a 29% drop in depression and work burnout in its employees when they returned.
There is a physical sensation that comes through happiness, joy, curiosity, wonder that people feel when they travel and physically remove themselves from the norm and the everyday.
Remember how you feel when you start researching your destination, you start booking your flight, and you go through all the other parts of travel planning leading up to the day of travel.
Your mind is already checked out from work on that day before you leave because it’s exciting!
Then you go on your travels – you learn, you experience, you savor, you enjoy, and meet new people – including parts of yourself that you may have lost touch with, with the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
So considering all this, it’s no wonder that for many people that return home, it can be especially hard to return to their routines, responsibilities, and overall may lead them to face uncomfortable truths about changes they need to create in their lives depending on the severity of the disconnect they feel.
It’s not always intense, but it can be – and that is ok no matter where you may find yourself in.
There’s a lot happening post-travel, so a good cry is never a bad thing.
How do I get back to my reality after a vacation?
In the past what has worked for me has been getting to the root of the discomfort I would feel being back in my home space.
- Was it the weather?
- The food options at home?
- The city that I didn’t connect with anymore?
- Job and routine that made me feel unsatisfied?
Yeah, it’s deeper than just bouncing back after travel, and going into your every day, despite feeling like there’s a disconnect to your old life pre-travel that you just can’t shake off.
So, ask yourself those prompts and see where that takes you.
Why do I feel weird about coming back home after vacation?
Again, there are various layers as to why people experience a disconnect to their home life post-travel, but here are a few reasons as to why it may feel weird when you come back home.
One of those reasons is all the hype that leads up to the trip, that after it’s over, it ends up leaving many people feeling let down that the hype is all over, and now you have to go back to work.
To make more money, pay bills, live life, and go on another trip. And then go through it all over again…
Another one is looking at the reasons why you’re traveling in the first place – are you traveling to run away from something that was bothering you back home?
As tempting as it may seem to put off things that need our attention after a trip, the reality is that the thing will still be there waiting for you when you return home.
As a result, this can cause anxiety after vacation for some travelers.
It could also be that you had a conversation with someone while on your travels that opened your mind to something you never thought of before and it left you thinking.
You may have felt inspired to live a more free lifestyle than what you may have at home, that when you come back home, you realize that what you once thought of as the end-all, be-all – isn’t so much that after all.
And that is ok!
I can speak from personal experience, that my travels have often led me to realize that the world is way too interesting for me to stay in one place, or at least, not go after what I truly want in life.
In a way, travel shakes us up from the day-to-day routines that makes us go on autopilot. It leads us to not think about asking ourselves how we are actually doing, and if we are aligned to what truly lights us up inside.
Travel can make you see that you need to change in your life, and going home is a reminder of what you need to change – which can feel weird.
But that’s ok!
How do you deal with coming home from traveling? 7 Very Helpful Post Travel Blues Tips For Beginners
1. Rephrase the term post-travel blues into transformative travel
Rephrasing the words “post-travel blues” “post-vacation sadness” into transformative travel can help a great deal when processing your emotions when coming back from traveling
There’s so much power in switching the wording on the post-vacation blues that can totally change the meaning and feelings around coming home.
The term itself “post-travel blues” already sounds sad alone, and makes it seem like it’s sadness, and sadness alone.
When we change the wording from post-travel blues or post-trip depression to transformative travel everything changes.
Whether it was a sight that made you appreciate architecture or nature in a different way, a conversation that opened your mind to new lengths, or simply trying your new favorite dish you didn’t even know existed before the trip – travel transforms something(s) within.
Post-travel blues focuses on the sadness of coming back home after traveling, while transformative travel focuses on highlighting the changes you went through and inspiring you to make an effort to integrate them into your life – not just remolding yourself back to home, but remolding home to you.
2. Redo your space
Your space is sacred and yours to enjoy your way.
As we know now, travel transforms something within, whether it’s on a deep level or not.
Sometimes it’s simply being inspired by the chic decor of the really awesome apartment you stayed in at your destination, or it was the aesthetic of the city or country you visited that inspired you to change your space at home.
Whatever it was, honor that.
Taking on a DIY project with the end goal of remolding your home life and space to you is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Mentally and emotionally.
Whatever you were inspired by on your travels, decor-wise, replicate it back home and see how that feels!
Plus it’s a creative project that is always fun to get involved with.
Read More: How To Declutter Your Space Post Travel
3. Find something you’re grateful about coming home to
Maybe it’s your bed, your pillow, your family and friends, or certain comfort food you can only get in your hometown – whatever that is – focus on that as a way to help combat experiencing any kind of depression after vacation.
I know for me, it’s oftentimes the joy of washing off all the dirt and grime of the airport and sliding into my own bed that makes me feel joyful and excited to come home after a trip.
For you could be your pet or the weather.
This is something you can do before even setting foot in your homeland, and it’s something you can do as you’re preparing to head to the airport on your way back home.
Prepare mentally, and avoid the post-vacation blues.
Read More: That Uncomfortable Feeling You Get When You Come Back From Traveling – It’s Called Reverse Culture Shock
4. Brain dump your post travel blues
I’m sure you’ve heard of journaling as a common way to oftentimes process emotions, get things off your mind, and understand yourself and your thoughts a little bit more.
Journaling your post-travel blues is an amazing way to do all of that and more.
Doing a brain dump first thing when you get home is a great way to literally dump all your thoughts and emotions, raw and real, onto paper, and then reread them, and understand where you’re at.
If you’re interested, I created a FREE transformative travel pre and post journal template full of questions to ask yourself pre-travel and then post-travel.
This is a guide created to help you set intentions for your trip (challenge yourself in a unique way, gain clarity on something) and then also helps you with a series of post-travel questions, revisit those moments, ideas, experiences you had abroad that may have left you thinking.
It’s amazing how a change of scenery is not only good for your physical and mental health, but the amount of inspiration that comes from being in a different environment, and seeing a different part of the world.
Doing a brain dump when you are experiencing the post-vacation blues is an amazing way to manage the post-holiday blues.
5. Plan your next trip (or move) abroad
Look, I don’t know about you, but I know I can’t be the only one who thinks of the next place they’re going to visit, as a way to manage post-vacation depression feelings.
If getting online to search for amazing travel deals and looking at amazing places to stay helps you get into that vacation, happy mood again, then do it.
The fun is in the planning, whether you go or not soon, so give yourself that treat.
Amazing travel experiences inspire more travel, so honor that feeling if that is something you want to.
No shame in planning your next trip as soon as you come back from one!
6. Be a tourist in your own city
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that our cities are travel destinations, no matter how you may see it yourself as a resident there.
Chances are you live close to (or in) a travel destination, or a place with unique celebrations, foods, activities, nature, that people take flights to see for themselves.
Take advantage of that!
Try to see your city in the eyes of a visitor, book a walking tour to get the history behind some of the buildings you probably walk past every day and may not know the interesting story behind, or pick a rainy day and check out a cool museum to explore.
Join a fun activity even if you think you know all there is to know about your city – do it for the sole reason of meeting people from other countries and tap back into that feeling of freedom and spontaneity (even in your own city).
It’s about becoming an everyday explorer and finding ways to explore your own city.
- How To Be An Everyday Explorer In Your Home City
- 3 Self-Realizations I Got From Traveling Locally This Summer
7. Hold space for yourself
I know a lot of other places on the internet will say to distract yourself with other activities as a way to get over your post-travel blues, but that sounds more like a band-aid fix to a scenario that can carry many more layers that involve emotions and thoughts that need processing.
Just like having a brain dump, holding space for yourself to feel, process, revisit different ideas you may have had while traveling in a different environment, can help you not only manage any sort of depression post-vacation but also understand it – which not many people talk about.
Do you feel any clashes between your pre-travel mindset and your post-travel mindset?
Are you questioning things in your environment that you never did beforehand?
Did you have a temporary dose or taste for a feeling that you feel is now gone that you’re back home?
Take time to process this, and allow those answers to be your guiding posts in your life.
Travel transforms, and many times gives us clarity on what we should do more of to feel a certain way, that unfortunately can get lost in the shuffle of everyday life.
Pay attention to whatever that is for you.
It may be the thing to focus on, and you may soon see that the adventure didn’t end the moment you came back home, it simply just began.
Concluding thoughts on post-travel blues
I hope this post helped you understand this experience as a process that many travelers experience upon returning home, and that you know you’re not alone with this.
The thing here to focus on is that if there are a lot of emotions of sadness, letdown, boredom at home, or unhappiness, then the post-travel blues may be an indicator that something needs to change in your everyday life, that goes beyond the trip itself.
This possible realization can ultimately lead to the change that will bring you more freedom, fulfillment, and satisfaction in life – and who doesn’t want that?
“A Change in Latitude is a Change in Attitude” – Jimmy Buffett – different ideas and inspiration hit us differently in different corners of the world, which inspires a different state of mind.
Your return home and the post-travel blues can hold the next step in the direction of your life.
To more travel moments like these,