Post Travel Depression is a Real Thing – What it feels like and how to survive it


My posts usually are quite hilarious. This time we’re leaving all the joking aside. I want to talk to you guys about something serious. The reason I haven’t been posting anything on my blog.

The reason why I’ve been less motivated than ever in my life. Here we go.

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Post Travel Depression as a topic
 is something that is not being talked about enough. It’s something that can happen to you when you come back home after traveling for an extended period of time.
It’s something that people don’t take seriously and blame you for bragging about your travels or for seeking for attention. And it hurts. Especially when you’re already hurt. And you feel like no-one understands you.

Post travel depression feels like you’re going back in time.
Going back to everything that you possibly tried to get away from in the first place.
It’s a Reverse Culture shock.
It’s a feeling that can last from a couple of weeks to a couple of months…or longer.
And hits you even harder after you’ve created your own routine and own life in another country. 

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At first it’s wonderful be back home.  
You spend time with your family, eating all your favorite foods, reading your favorite books and admiring your old clothes you didn’t have abroad with you.

But after a while you start realizing that something’s missing. Something’s not right.
You start feeling like a tourist in your own country. In your own hometown. At the same time everything’s new to you. But everything’s still the same.
The things that once brought you joy, aren’t that enjoyable anymore.

That’s because your whole world has changed.

It’s a good thing, I guess. It means you’ve grown. You’ve been out there in the world. You’ve experienced something magical, opened your heart to new possibilities.
Maybe you know yourself better now. Maybe your heart is full of memories, experiences, words, smells — feelings that are indescribable.

….And then suddenly you’re being thrown back into your old surroundings. You’re expected to be the same person as you’ve always been.
But you’re not.
You’re trying to fit in again.
On the outside you’ll fit in perfectly. But on the inside you’re screaming.


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When you were abroad you never knew what a new day would bring after you stepped outside your front door. Now every time you step outside you know exactly how your day’ll turn out to be.

You start feeling depressed. Unmotivated. Numb.
Your once so lively personality now has cracks on it. You’re trying to go out and live your life like you used to. Trying to make your life enjoyable again. 

Still you feel like you’re in one of those nightmares where you’re running but you’re getting nowhere. You’re screaming but no one can hear you. Something’s dragging you down. You keep falling. 

Maybe I’m being over dramatic. Maybe I’m not. This is just my take on this matter. And
I just want to say to you, if you’ve experienced this:
You’re not alone. You are not alone with your thoughts. And you’ll get through with this.

HOW?

Talk about it. The worst thing you can do -in my opinion- is to go though all of these thoughts alone. I haven’t had the courage to tell almost anyone how I truly feel.
But I’m doing it now.  Maybe no one cares, but hopefully someone finds comfort from this text.

Focus on the positive things in life.
Create a new routine.
Find new friends. Get a new job. Start a new hobby. Find love. Eat all your favorite foods. Go out to party. Go see your friends in different cities. Plan new trips.  Pretend to be a tourist in your city.  Talk with people who have gone through the same thing as you.
Try to find balance.
Just find ONE GOOD THING THAT KEEPS YOU GOING.

And if none of this works…Find a job abroad. That’s what I’m doing, cos I practically failed at doing all of the above.
All the articles I’ve read on the topic are super comforting. Everyone says that the pain goes away sooner or later. BUT WHAT IF IT DOESN’T.

What if there’s a constant feeling in your heart that something’s missing?

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Here’s my story and how I’ve been surviving :
I guess in my case we’re not talking about just post travel depression anymore. I don’t know what to call it. Anyway.

When I returned home last June after living in Boston for 1,5 years (and 8 months in Mallorca before that) I felt empty.

I moved back to my old room in my parents’ house because I had nowhere else to live.
I got a job from a crappy townie bar in a nearby hotel.
I had to walk the same streets, same forests, same neighborhoods I had walked through my entire life.

I didn’t feel like I fit in my group of friends anymore.
I found comfort in solitude like never before.

I tried to get a job that I would like. Tried to start a career. Get a job where I could use my talents. Where I’d be useful.
Couldn’t find one. Not the way I wanted.

I tried to get back in touch with some people from my past.
I tried to find peace in making music.
But I couldn’t find people who were on the same page as me.

I tried to continue my improv comedy. Same problem.
I tried to find love. Kind of the same problem.
For some reason I failed at everything.
And it’s been a struggle. In all the ways possible.


On the outside I’m still the smiling, bubbly girl I am.
I try to find the positive side of everything.

But at night I cry and think was “it” (life, being happy, achieving success) always this hard?
No. It wasn’t. Because now I know what makes me happy. Now I know what I’m capable of. Now I know what I want from life and what all the glorious things life has to offer. And my hometown can’t give me those things. And I just don’t want to settle on anything, not when I know there’s a world full of possibilities out there. 

I figured that the only way for me to be happy (=have a job where I’m appreciated, be motivated, use my talents, find new adventures) is to find a job abroad.
And soon I’m moving to a new country.
This is my solution. My way of surviving.
Your path might be easier to walk, or it might be harder.
But what I’m trying to say, is that just keep fighting.
And miracles will happen. 

I’ve probably made this sound more horrible than it actually has been, but the truth to be told I’ve been swimming in quite deep waters lately. And the only waters I’d like to swim in are the actual oceans with sea creatures.
Now as the days are getting longer, there’s more sun in the world and also in my thoughts.
I’ve let myself get attached on the things that make me smile. I’ve fought hard to keep my pink glitter brain as sparkly as it should be. 

And who knows..maybe someday my mind changes and I move back to Finland with a happy heart and a big smile on my face.

If last year taught me anything, it’s that you shouldn’t be afraid of your emotions.
You should embrace them. That’s the magic of being alive.
You can’t be sad if you haven’t been extremely happy first.
And I’ll keep on looking for those high moments.

And you should too.
If you’re suffering from Post Travel Depression, or have an aching gypsy heart – you’re not alone.
If you need someone to talk to I’m here.

xoxo

 

 


8 thoughts on “Post Travel Depression is a Real Thing – What it feels like and how to survive it

  1. I always find myself feeling really sad and not being able to enjoy the end of a trip because the time to go home is drawing near. This time around that feeling has been quelled because I have plans to leave again within two months of returning home! That feeling really shouldn’t be associated to going home to a familiar place and people I know and love but this is my travel dilemma! Wonderful post!

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  2. I think i’ve had post travel depression for about a year now. I didn’t know that until I read this post. Lol. I can’t appreciate my life in my country anymore. Most times i cry thinking why it’s so difficult to be happy about my life, to stick to a routine, or to want to go to work. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s great to somehow understand, even by a little bit, why i’m like this.

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  3. Loved this! You pretty much described my exact feelings, i’m glad not the only one who feels like this! Beautifully written 🙂

    Like

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