Anyone who has been travelling knows how difficult coming home can be. You’ve just spent months abroad, being stimulated every day by new sights, people and experiences; then suddenly you’re back to the old life – and it’s boring!
Maybe you were looking forward to coming home, seeing friends, your comfortable bed and all those familiar things, but once the initial excitement has subsided, life seems drab. You start poring over photos of your trip – now a lifetime ago. Fear not, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are nine tips that might just help you to banish the post-travelling blues:
1. See the positives in being back
Remember that travelling wasn’t always a laugh a minute. What about the time your bag got nicked along with your passport and bank cards? How does your bedroom compare with that dorm in the hostel from hell? Then there was getting lost in a town with incomprehensible street signs, and being scammed the minute you stepped off the plane…
Now that you’re home, getting things done is miraculously easy: trips to the bank and the doctor’s are a breeze. Depending on where you’ve returned from, the pavements may seem exceptionally clean, the roads much safer, and – joy of joys – there’s decent wifi. Buying food is also straightforward – you don’t have to barter and it’s unlikely you’ll accidentally buy chickens’ feet.
2. Seek a new challenge
This is one of the best ways to get out of an apparent rut, as focusing on the next opportunity will help you to look forward. For example, look for a new job or enrol on a course. It could be something as simple as challenging yourself to get fit or learning a new recipe every week.
3. Avoid being a travel bore
“When I was in Dubai…” and “These kale crisps aren’t a patch on the deep-fried locusts I ate in Myanmar.” Oh how easily the nostalgic phrases trip off the tongue. You wish you could stop: you’ve become a traveller parody and you know it. Even so, it’s frustrating when you’ve just had some life-changing experiences and no-one seems remotely interested.
One way around this is to write a travel blog. You’ll get all the stories out of your system, plus all your friends and family can share the adventure while you’re living it – and it’s up to them if they choose to read it. This means that when you come home you can relax and enjoy hearing other people's stories rather than bombarding them with recollections.
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4. Keep your up-for-it attitude alive
Why is it that when you’re abroad, you’ll do things you’d never dream of doing back home? Like bungy jumping or mountain biking. If it made you feel so good, why stop now? So, book a paragliding session, climb a mountain or join an aerial yoga class if you want to.
There are plenty of less active alternatives, of course. For example, you could sign up for an evening class (maybe learn the bongos properly so you can hold your own the next time you're on that beach in Thailand?). Start volunteering – it’s not something you only do abroad. If you’re feeling sociable, you could find a social group via Meetup.com, or even take in Couchsurfers – you'll get to meet people from all over the world and bring that friendly hostel way of life to your own home.
5. Take time out
One of the most enjoyable things about long-term travelling is having time to please yourself. Whole days spent lying in a hammock or exploring a town... So at home make time for self-indulgence, too: relax with a book in the sun, while away an afternoon in a café with your laptop and a coffee, or take yourself off to a quirky museum that only you would be interested in.
6. Keep in touch with travel buddies
These days, it’s so easy to continue relationships via email, social media, so there’s no reason to lose touch with some of the great people you met on your trip. It makes the world seem like a smaller place. Plus you’ve no doubt got a glut of offers to stay with people around the world.
7. Make the most of the ways you’ve changed
Surviving all sorts of difficult situations, from dodgy scams to hellish bus journeys, gives you confidence in your ability to look after yourself. If you found work in unlikely places, you’ll know you can do it again back home (even if it’s just any old job for now). You met all sorts of people – from the lovely to the nutty – so your relationship skills can only have improved. Plus, you’re now so laidback that you see the morning rush hour as an opportunity for valuable thinking time.
8. Realise how lucky you are
Not everyone gets to travel. So instead of moping about the house, take a moment to consider this and keep hold of the memories of a trip that made your life that bit richer. You have stories to tell the grandchildren that wouldn’t be worth telling if you did them every day.
9. Book the next trip
There's nothing like the promise of a holiday to banish the post-year-out blues – even if it's a short camping trip or a visit to see your granny. It may stretch those near-empty purse strings, but it’ll be worth it to know you’re off on another adventure. Get some inspiration here.
Top image © Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock