look to the sky

Life After Travel

Like all things, travel has its downsides. Living out of a suitcase, getting sick, loneliness, missing family and friends, dealing with challenges in a new country. For me though the hardest part about traveling is the coming back home.

Travel can be tough on the mind and body. A packed itinerary or long-term travel overseas can wear you out and by the end you might even feel ready to come home. On every plane ride I’ve taken back to Toronto I get a wearily sense of nostalgia but I never feel sad. I’m happy to see my friends, tell my family all about my trip, sleep in my own bed, have my comforts again.

But as soon as the excitement dies down and life resumes back to normal, that’s when the post-trip depression hits me. I experience waves of anxiety, and feel incredibly lonely when I’m by myself. I go through trip photos over and over again and even cried once while doing laundry, as if washing my travel clothes also meant washing away all the memories I made while wearing them.

It sounds dramatic but anyone who has ever experienced post-trip depression knows how overwhelming this feeling can be. Wanderlusters especially.

The problem is that you’ve changed; you’re now a new you. Travel is one of the most enriching, life changing things you’ll do. It makes you think differently of the things and the people around you. You come back with a new lens on the world to find that although you have changed, home hasn’t. You’re still doing the same routine, working the same job, coming home to the same apartment. After all you’ve been through and you’re back to where you started.

I find comfort in planning my next adventure, knowing that there are new countries to discover, people to meet, and wisdom to untap. Truthfully I have yet to find a solution for post-trip depression that doesn’t involve planning another trip. But maybe there is no real cure — that’s just the price we pay for experiencing the world and growing as a person.

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