Post-Travel Depression: It’s Real… And Here’s How to Beat It

After living for two years in New York, I was excited to catch up with my friends back home in Indonesia. When I shared my stories, however, the people I thought would be happy for me, brushed me off and changed the conversation immediately. I felt hurt.

I’m very grateful to come back with a new perspective.  This journey of self-discovery is not always pleasant. Many times the stress of living abroad outweighs the happiness. After contemplating and reading similar experiences online, I understand. Post-travel depression is real. And it’s one of the hardest lessons of being a traveler. This article covers what the post-travel depression is, and how you can keep it in check when adjusting to life back home.

What Is Post-Travel Depression?

Like it sounds, post-travel depression is a feeling of sadness that hits you at the end of a trip. Sometimes it can even begin in the days running up to the end. The longer a tour lasts, the more intense the post-vacation blues may be. Additionally, post-travel depression can seriously affect your mental wellbeing and continue for as long as weeks or months. When you’re feeling the travel blues, you may experience, exhaustion, loss of appetite, and the urge to book another trip.

After traveling, your ways of thinking have changed so much because of the customs, culture, and influences you’ve received. When you tell your experience to friends and family they seem does not care. You’ll realize nothing changed back home as if time has stopped. This rejection can be hard to deal.

Here’s how to beat it!

See The Positives In Being Back

Remember that traveling wasn’t always a laugh. What about the time you got pickpocketed on the first day? Or when you can’t communicate because you don’t speak their language? Or the horror of that hostel room! Be prepared for the negativity from your loved ones and shift your mind to see all the positive of your hometown.

Find Support

Meet up with a friend that has the same travel bug as you or better still, have survived the experience. And it’s best to do this in-person.  They’re the ones that will understand the most what you’re going through and will never brush you off. They know adjusting to the old routine is tough. This will help lessen your attention on how you wish you were still abroad.

Set Up A Time To Exercise Every Day

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. According to WebMD, endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. The feeling that follows a workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

Embrace Your Backyard

Have a look around there must be some historical places in your town that you never visit before. You can have a great travel experience on your doorstep. And it’s cheaper!

Create An Escape Fund

After coming back from your trip, your travel fund sunk to zero. It’s time to top up that fund. You don’t have to start your full-time job immediately, but it’s nice to think outside the box on how to have enough money so you can be on the road again. Maybe sell your travel photos to travel media?

Help Out Other Travelers

While you were traveling, it’s likely that you ended up relying on the kindness of strangers at multiple points throughout your trip. This kindness is what makes your trip memorable. Aim to pay it forward by helping out your friends or tourists in your home. You have the local advantage. Help them navigate the city safely. When you found a lost tourist looking at a map, guide them to the right address.

Be Vigilant About Thoughts That Give Rise To Negative Emotions

Travel Soul Therapy perfectly sums it up, “Do not destroy preciousness of your travel experience by longing for it after you come back by making a mental delusion of conceptualizing it into a “thing” to crave for and wishing to “possess” or “keep” it. Merge with the flow of reality of change by bringing your awareness to the present moment.”

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  • Sarah January 6, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Great read!! I struggle really bad with post-travel depression, really depression in general, but it always gets worse after returning home from an amazing trip! I’m already planning the next trip in the final days of the current trip so I can make myself feel excited again.

    Travel really does change you as a person and I am so thankful for that! What a blessing!! Glad to know I’m not the only one who goes through this. I felt so silly!

    • Nastasia January 6, 2019 at 9:46 am

      Isn’t that the beauty of our connected world online? I love that we can come together and recognize that we’re not alone in so many things in life – depression, anxiety, etc. <3

  • Lena January 6, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I still to this day cannot wrap my mind around the fact, that the loved ones around me aren’t interested in any of my travel stories, I don’t get any questions on what I have been doing abroad travelling for that long. Nothing.
    You sharing that you went through the same thing, gives me hope 😅

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