Travelling: yeah sure, it’s super fun, super cool, you really expand your mind and soul (sometimes your waistline – lay off the cocktails!) and it’s what we all become richer from, no matter how much we spend on the trip! But what about when it ends? What happens when the travels end and you have to come sloping home with a threadbare rucksack trailing behind you, a tan that has already begun to fade and you come face-to-face with the life that you had left far behind?
The post-travel blues are so tough. Some even go as far as calling it post-travel depression, and I can safely say that that term isn’t an understatement!
After all the tears and hugs of the homecoming, you’re just back in your old bedroom, sat on your bed with the carpet feeling totally alien beneath your bare feet. It suddenly hits you that it’s all over and you’re home in a life that isn’t anywhere as colourful as life on the road.
Between the years of 2009 to 2013, I was pretty much travelling and living a life that didn’t quite feel like reality. I backpacked and then settled in vibrant Melbourne where a flight to Asia was pittance in comparison to flying from London. You could drive for an hour and be in a completely different landscape surrounded by either bush, surf or endless land that rolls out over the horizon. You could grab a last minute flight and pop up to the east coast where it’s a beach bum’s paradise, or go over to the wild south Australia! The possibilities of travel and escaping city life were endless.
When I returned home early 2013, it was grand seeing the family again and being reunited with the beloved sister… but it’s only now in the month of November 2014 where I’ve finally let go of my past overseas life and begun to appreciate an English life in the city of Bristol.
Why did it take so long for me to adjust?
- I left behind friends who were simply incredible.
- I left the endless sun and all the warmth and freedom it gave.
- I left a carefree lifestyle of bar work and extended holidays.
- I left a flat that was submerged in the neighbourhood of all my favourite nightlife, cafes and shopping destinations.
- I left.
Maybe I’m just a bit a bit of a change-hater? Maybe I had become too comfortable in that life and was suddenly uprooted because of the fucking stupid visas (damn you immigration)? Whatever the reason, it was hella tough coming home.
I ‘toughed’ out two weeks at home with the parents before scooching over to Bristol. I started working in bars and pubs, but it just wasn’t the same. I felt out of place, isolated, insecure, shaken to the core of leaving my Aussie nest and my confidence was at an all time low. Basically, WTF mate?!
It took me a while to adjust, but now upon reflection, I can outline the steps I took which got me back on track:
1. I began focusing on getting out of bar work. It just didn’t suit me anymore and I was freaking about ‘careers’ and getting a proper job that would pay me when I was sick and pay me when I took holiday time. Also, bar pay in England SUCKS in comparison to Australia! And tipping culture is slim in the UK, and even then the tip jar might get stolen.
2. I moved in with some friends who I had met in Melbourne – pure luck that they too had come to Bristol, but thank the gods!
3. I immersed myself in all the joys of Bristol in the summer. The festivals, carnivals and events here are endless!
4. I coaxed an Aussie love over from Melbourne to join me in the UK 😉 Phew.
5. I took up hobbies: crochet master classes and tried getting regular yoga and long walks in my life (which reminds me, I need to get back on that ole horse). And does Instagram count as a hobbie? It definitely was a great way to see Melbourne through my Aussie pals’ eyes. Thanks @elmohopo!
6. I love blogging so I teamed up with local bloggers to create #BlogClub – Bristol’s first monthly blogger meet-up to share tips, motivation, inspiration and just chat all things blog, which I relish. Meeting new people with the same interests as me was perfect and O yeah, cocktails and cake made the sessions awesome too.
7. I did numerous London trips as many of the Uni mates who I’d left behind had all migrated to the big smoke. It’s not too far from the ole south west.
8. Getting all my worldwide friends involved in Viber or What’s App. These phone apps literally keep your friends at your fingertips and someone will always be awake to hear your crises!
9. In the wise words of my sister: location, location, location! I recently moved to a house immersed in all the cool cafes and nightlife in Bristol: Montpelier/Stokes Croft. Being in walking distance to great places to visit definitely makes me more social and entertained! Plus, living by a train station and right by a main vein of bus routes makes it so easy to get out and about!
10. I got an internship at a viral advertising company, which developed into a long term role… then that led me to working in digital marketing/content creation which I’m passionate about and am excited to walk into the office! Getting off my arse and looking for a job that would get me inspired in life was transforming… but it took time.
And that leads me to my conclusion. It is hard to adjust to life after travelling and it just takes time. But avoid moping as it’s happened and life isn’t going to wait for you to pull your finger out your ass and get your shit together. Stay focused and do stuff that improve you or your life. Be distracted, follow your passions and keep variety in your life – the routine that you were so relieved to leave whilst travelling can be jazzed up or avoided to some degree as long as you actively try.
Travelling may be over, but it is only for now. If you love travelling, it won’t be the end of it all just because you’ve had to come home for a bit. Perhaps it’s a pause and a chance to just experience a bit of stationary life?…. It doesn’t stop me from dreaming and planning another trip. From weekend getaways, to last minute European breaks, to potentially a larger ‘save-all-my-holiday-for-this-one’ trip that could see me popping back to Aus. Hey yoooo!
How do you deal with your post-holiday/post-travel blues?