What inspired your commitment to traveling? What was it that led you to face a come down so harsh? Often times, it’s stories from friends on the road, movies that depict life-changing experiences, or a strong desire to change your way of living. Regardless of what inspired you; a life of travel – even a short-term commitment to travel – is likely to bring you unimaginable experiences beyond your wildest dreams.
You’re going to meet people who push you further, do things you didn’t think you could handle, and live in a way that you learn to love. In essence, you’re going to become a new person. And it’s going to be real; the real you. Whether the change in yourself is minor or dramatic, you are going to bring something home with you that you didn’t have before you left.
The problem is, as much as one changes during travel, home is still the same when you return.
“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.”
–Jonah Lehrer, “Why We Travel,” Panorama Magazine (Deccember 2009)
Coping with the Post Vacation Depression
You’ve witnessed and been opened up to so much that it becomes frustrating to tell your friends back home about all of it. As you tell stories of your incredible life-changing journey you’ll get the feeling that they don’t feel as moved as you imagined and even a bit disinterested.
The truth is, the sooner you understand this the better: People will not change with you. Your friends will remain your friends but there will undoubtedly be times when you get frustrated beyond belief with their worldviews and their overall life views.
It is hard for those who have not been there to know exactly what you’ve gone through. Imagine yourself in a conversation centered around a topic you have no knowledge of. It’s intimidating, isn’t it? So what will this lead to?
Naturally, you’ll start to find more friends – friends who have been there and gone through the same kind of experiences you want to share. Friends with more openness to the things they don’t understand.
You’ll continue to find inspiration that your friends won’t understand. I’ve picked up several new hobbies and interests that inspire me now that my friends think are fake. I’m drawn to new things now because it keeps my mind alive and my life moving slow.
You’ll continue friendships from abroad. As time passes, you’ll lose touch with a few. You can only reminisce on old memories for so long through Skype and Facebook messages. But remember, you’ll always have a connection to your friends abroad that no one else really knows about. And that’s a cool thing to think about. Be persistent in seeing them again (sooner rather than later). And keep making an effort to stay in touch with them even when it feels forced.
Continue speaking of your experiences. Find the people who care (or at least try to care) and try to inspire them. Your stories, to them, are the same ones that inspired you to travel – only told by a different person; you. You can have an impact on others in ways you can’t even imagine.
Keep dreaming. This is the most important coping method of all. Don’t let others’ conformity get you down. You don’t have to settle for a life that doesn’t excite you. Live your own life and keep dreaming things that seem unlikely and even profoundly risky to others. It’s the only way that you can stay true to yourself. You owe it to yourself.
Get involved as much as possible. Even if it means venturing out on your own into abnormal routines because your friends back home don’t want to try new things. That doesn’t mean you can’t. This is also an easy way to meet new friends that could change your experience at home before you hit the road again.
Life will begin to speed up. You have to be ready for it. The stress from your life that you thought you’d never have to deal with again while abroad will eventually comeback. To-do lists will progressively get stacked higher and higher and you’ll get yourself involved in more than you have a desire to be involved in. Life will become routine again.
It’s a sad reality, but you can use it as motivation to return and recapture the life that you experienced abroad. That’s the only thing you can do.
The things you said you wouldn’t return to when you get home from traveling will, eventually, all come back. Don’t let them blindside you. Don’t try to resist them. Whatever it is that you didn’t think would become routine to you again, will. It happens naturally and you shouldn’t hold back. The more you try to fight it, the sadder it will be. Just remember the feeling of being free from whatever it was you escaped from while abroad and strive to return to that feeling.
I’m a firm believer in destiny. There’s a reason we have the life-altering experiences that we do and that’s why I stick with mine even when it seems the feeling I got from it is fading. There’s always going to be more to a life that brings you alive. You just have to be diligent enough to find it.
It’ll be trying. At times, you may feel stuck in a life you no longer want. The beauty of your life is that the time for change is always upon you. There’s nothing stopping you that would have stopped you during your life-changing moment abroad. You can be stronger than you think.
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