When I return home from an awesome travel experience, I go through a recovery period where I daydream and my attention flits around like a drunken bat. That’s to be expected as I sort the memories of the visions and encounters I just experienced.
But the worst part of recovery is a when I enter a funk, a sort of post-trip-stress disorder where my routine world seems meaningless and I long for nothing more than being back on the road.
Job tasks are pointless, meetings become insufferable and if I get the opportunity to rave about my trip, nobody “gets it.”
This, of course, is just part of the travel experience. There are ways to manage the post vacation blues and even use them as an impetus for personal change. Here are five things I do to clear my head and get on with living after traveling.
Keep your travel experience alive back home.
After our second trip to Vietnam, we threw a dinner party. Julie made pho soup and we showed a short selection of slides. The process of going to the local Asian food market, planning the party and making the pho kept us engaged with our experience even though the trip was long over.
There’s so much you can do with your trip afterward. Read up on the history or cultures of where you just came from. Learn how to cook the local food, take a language course or get involved with an organization that’s related to your destination. Make a scrapbook.
Share your photos.
It’s sometimes a pain to resize and post photos on Facebook or email them to friends and family, but I find that to be a much more fulfilling chore than everything else facing me when I return. It keeps my head in the trip a little longer, and gives me a chance to brag.
Plan the next trip.
This is a no-brainer for me. As soon as I return, I start thinking of where to go next. Looking at maps, and researching flights and travel routes is a good way to get my mind off of post-trip despair.
Get involved in a new project.
Like planning the next trip, I look for projects to keep my mind occupied. When we came back from one trip, we immediately started work on props and costumes to wear for the upcoming All Souls Procession in Tucson. We were so busy trying to get ready, we didn’t have time to get despondent.
For me, projects need to be creative and not the routine, gotta-fix-this-crap-around-the-house projects. Those just make me miss travel even more. But that may not be your case.
Make good on a travel epiphany.
Travel epiphanies. You know you’ve had them. You’re waiting in the airport, or sitting on a beach, and you realize that things have got to change in your life. Maybe you want to move (to the beach!), volunteer more, write that book, start a travel blog or change careers.
When you get home, why not act on one of those epiphanies? I’m a home-based employee and it was during one short trip to Mexico, filled with plenty of beach time, that I realized I could work anywhere in the U.S. as long as could get Internet service. We bought an RV and plan to spend more time seeing the country while I work.
When you act on a travel epiphany, you become master of your travel experience because it becomes a permanent part of personal growth.
What do you do to get rid of the post trip blues?