Coming Home: Dealing with the Post Traveling Blues.
You’ve just had the journey of a lifetime. It’s a bittersweet feeling that washes over you on the flight back. The trip is over, but you’ll finally reconnect with all your buddies, eat again at your favorite restaurants, take a crap on your own toilet, and sleep in your own bed. But a week later a funk suddenly drops over you. The welcome back get-togethers are over and the refreshed impression of home has dulled back to its normal tint. Regular life has resumed and, in light of your recent adventures, it’s hum drum bubblegum.
Here are a few tips to buck up your spirits as you blast through the common phenomena of the Post Traveling Blues:
- Focus on your friends’ stories instead of your own — As you are preparing to return you will hear from multiple acquaintances that they “can’t wait to hear all about it!” They don’t mean exactly that. You’ve built up a footlocker’s worth of impressions, but most people only want a shoebox size summary. Give them a quick summary of the cultural quirks and then one or two snazzy stories with a good punchline. Then shut up, dial in, and enjoy their tales. You already know what you did on the trip, but what you missed is a mystery. Focus now on being a good listener and genuinely reconnecting by showing your friends that you want to hear everything.
- Clean up your scene — Post trip is a great opportunity to tighten up the home scene. Throw on some of the jams your rocked on the road and then clean out that closet, throw away stuff you aren’t utilizing, rearrange your furniture, and upgrade your pad with some new art.
- Get back in shape — I always get a bit soft on the road with all the tasty food and social drinking. I think of my time home as body tune up time. Get adventure ready with some new routines and see just how fit you can get before you step on that next plane.
- Pick up some new skills — On my first trip to Zion National Park I gazed longingly into slot canyons descending away from the sides of the trail I was hiking. I resolved to come back one day and explore them. So when I returned to Los Angeles I took a canyoneering course, bought some gear, and got skilled. Next time I went to Zion it was a whole different bunch of bananas.
- Use your sharpened travel skills at home — When you were abroad your antennas got tweaked so they could pick up whispers of off-the-beaten path adventures, secret cafes, and hidden temples. You were tuned in to the wanderlust wavelength. All too often we switch this mechanism off the minute we get home. Don’t. Apply your savvy, road sharpened eye to your local scene. Frame the whole thing as an endeavor that you will chronicle: Top 5 happy hours in your neighborhood, hiking the circumference of your city, rappelling off every water tower in the county, etc.
When a memorable trip ends the momentum of the journey is guaranteed to be swinging back with some force. Without the right plan it could drop you right into a puddle of funk, but channel that energy the right way and it will take you Tarzan style to the next vine of adventure.