Dealing With the Post-Travel Separation: Experiences Can Be Like Relationships Too
Coming back from Honduras, all I could think about was planning my trip to Brazil. My return on September 8th seemed so far, so unreal. My life centred around dreaming about finally being alone and independent. And now it’s the end of October and I’ve spent countless hours wasting my phone battery scrolling through 537 photographs from my 8 weeks in Brazil.
I think the kicker for me was how good I felt being away — and recognizing what it was that I was so happy to be away from. I mean, what was it in my real life that felt so draining to come back to? I think getting away from reality is always good for a little soul refresh, but it felt different this time around. It physically felt like someone blowing my heart out like a balloon while hovering a pin around it as a threat.
I arrived back downtown in a hoodie on my first day of school… yes… it was that bad. Have you seen Ryerson’s fashion standards? Some of us belong on Top Model runways. Eventually, I found myself in need of some self-reflection to adjust back to Toronto. Like me, I’m sure there were a handful of uscoming back from a vacation or just a really well deserved time off. So before diving in head first into the busy student/work life, I tried to keep some things in mind:
1. Do not jump back into work and school routine head first
This is difficult considering university skips the transition phase. Sure we have O-week and the first week of introduction but the commuting and the large social gatherings are still a little draining. Don’t let people make you think it’s time to “get over it.” This is your experience, this is your life, these are your stories; cherish them and embed them in your day until you are comfortable with your memories. Experiences transform you the same way relationships do and “breaking up and moving on” is not as easy as said.
2. Realize that vacation does not have to end there
Make changes accordingly in your life. You’ve had a flip in culture, food, and way of life. You can keep the trip alive by formatting your pictures and souvenirs into a showcase in a corner of your room, taking up a cooking, language or dance class to stay in touch with your experience, or get involved in the organization/charity you partnered with. This way you will find more people interested in the same culture. Plus, a hub like Toronto intersects countries all across the world so you shouldn’t have too much trouble. Also, try and check out Ryerson’s International Student’s Support and get in touch with some students to share Toronto with.
3. Share: talk, blog, rant, tape your friend to a chair and make them listen.
Sometimes, in order to get over something, is to understand it. You probably have amazing stories you want to share and beautiful pictures you want to show, so do it. Ask a friend out for lunch and rant it out and if everyone is busy, call your mama. She has an obligation to listen (just remember to filter all the 18A rated stuff). And, if push comes to shove, and you literally have no available friends, blog it out like yours truly.
I’m going to disclose something right now that might be a little unconventional, but it worked for me. I had a struggle with finding someone to talk to and fully be open with without judgement so I racked up some Tinder dates and threw a whole lotta verbal vomit their way. Obvious to say there was no second date but at the end of the day, I felt lighter.
4. Plan another trip.
The best way to overcome the travel blues is to have another trip to look forwards to. Save up for Montreal or New York if you cannot afford to go too far just yet. Vision boards and swear jars go a long way. It will soon add up and it’s a great way to focus yourself when you’re tempted to waste OSAP money on sugary treats or anything other than light shopping that you can do without.
5. Treat this is as a wake-up call for the things that upset you
When I stepped off that plane I felt so sad to be back — but not in a way that was reflective of how much I enjoyed where I was. To me, it reflected the things that were weighing down my life here in Toronto. And I think it was so necessary for me to feel this — to feel the juxtaposition of being away versus being back, and understand that it’s okay to live my life for myself right now. It’s okay to pull back from the people and things that make me feel bad about myself. I let go of some grudges, forgave a fist full of people, and dropped a bunch of classes I hated.