KEEPING CHEER WHEN A TRIP IS OVER.
You had a fantastic journey. For some time you could think that you lived in a dream or a movie. The thought of your traveling life coming to an end creeps onto screen of your psyche like a dreadful shadow in Hitchcock movie. You fly home and after few cheerful days of family and friends checking in, you lay awake at ungodly hour wanting to be anywhere but here. You got a case of post-travel blues.
What Are The ‘Post-Travel Blues’?
Post-travel blues are intimately familiar to most debutantes of travel, especially those that encounter experiences along the journey that made it deeply meaningful. Those situations that led to deeper understanding of one’s inner world of motivation, inspiration and values.
Many people that travel regularly continue to experience Post Travel Depression because they miss the regular flow of external stimulation. Meaningful travel journey is usually full of impressions that instigate inner alertness and an insight into the inner process where circumstances elicit creative action of oneself being a distinguished hero or actor who tangibly shapes own story.
There’s a great sense of freedom in that and a meaningful satisfaction. Most often there’s no one day like the other during the travel and in comparison to the life left behind, time becomes stretched and rich with impressions, experiences and creative imaginings that transcend the ordinary production-clock-driven routine at home.
When returning to the obligations of mundane life while holding onto with longing for that “paradise lost” of timeless spontaneity, endless novelty and a magical sense of the unpredictable connections and discoveries, creates a cause for PTD (post travel depression).
Why People Get Post-Travel Depression?
The short answer is that when being back into routine of daily life but holding onto a mental picture of a recent travel adventure and energizing it with attentional preference causing Post Travel Depression. On a deeper level, it is a lack of understanding that everyone has power to direct their thinking. That is choose to see one’s life filled with meaning, where all experiences of travel are integrated into the entirety of one’s life.
It is when the interpretation of the ordinary post-travel life is skewed and labeled as something that is not fully valuable and purposeful, but rather something unattractive or filled with meaningless activity that one one must do.
In other words when the “traveling life” is being kept separate from the rest of life, as something “the only” valid and worthy of living, there is created a psychological fracture caused by the inner state of opposition which generates an experience of deficiency and refusal of what is labeled as ordinary “boring life”.
This inner disagreement produces mental anguish and depression, which is a gradual increase of withdrawal from participation in the present moment of life. This present moment in life is not accepted, but is refused to be fully lived based on preconception of a need to have certain external conditions met in order to be happy.
From the view of Neuroscience, this lack of emotional plasticity to recover which is called resilience has a definite reflection in the current of brain electricity. It is measured in the lab as a reduced neuronal exchange between prefrontal cortex and amigdala – a process which determines how quickly brain will recover from the upsetting experience.
How People Can Avoid Feeling Blue Once They Get Home.
I am not a proponent of the superficial application like planning a next trip for example as a solution. I propose to embrace the full potential of travel as a path of transformation, or psychological maturity and that includes working the whole process.
Travel can lead to the individual maturity we are all subconsciously seeking — the individuation, or profound knowledge of oneself.
Even though planning a next trip could be used as a good temporary tool of diversion when one is sinking into Post-Travel Depression, however the solution would be to use the fruits of traveling life and bring them home. In other words to look at one’s own life and truly befriend it.
That is to take this lesson out of travel and apply it consciously to any life you come back to — become your own unconditional friend that accepts and cheers you on no matter what. That is a holistic background that therapeutic travel helps us to experience and cultivate. Bring it all home.
Imagine your life is like a giant mural painting, and to gain a better perspective at it and to see it better you must step outside of it. And this is why you travel — to see a whole picture and not to escape this amazing masterpiece of your life.
From there start really looking at your life:
- Realize that you are choosing your life, building it moment by moment with your mental attitude regardless of the circumstance at the moment.
- Determine heart-felt meaningful priorities for your life. Realize that focused thought is your power to create (get help if needed).
- Leave the past. Holding grudge against yourself or others is your major energy leak: Accept – Forgive – Let Go
- Finish incomplete plans. Direct your creativity. Renounce meaningless obligations.
- Surround yourself with environment and people that support your aspirations and goals.
Immediately Upon Return:
- Unpack your luggage.
- Take calm and quiet time to settle in and get grounded.
- Avoid trying to impress others with your travel, some people might unconsciously try to bring you down.
- Edit your visual stories or pictures, complete them.
- Outline all the gains you received from your trip, so you can come back to it and continue empower yourself.
- Notice what would you like to change about your life. Immediately create action plan for it and do it.
- Find things to be grateful for in your life EVERY DAY.
Tackle Post Travel Depression Before The Trip.
I would recommend setting up intentions for travel first.
- Become clearer why would you spend energy and time to go travel.
- Try to sense what does it mean for you to take this trip.
- Imagine how would you like to be different when you come back?
- Contemplate how this experience and time to rejuvenate will be reflected in you as a person when you come back?
- See how you can weave this travel experience into living more authentic and meaningful life.
- On the trip create an Ideal Life Vision for the life you want to give your energy a worthy ideal.
How To Prolong That Sense Of Adventure Once Back Home?
Stay in touch with people you shared the adventures, remind them of the special moment you remember.
Review your visual stories. Keep the images that remind you of the moments feeling intensely alive on your smart phone, so you can boost your positive emotions and feel the adventure.
Look at the map where you traveled.
Imagine the landscape, the streets, the sounds coming alive from that place in your mind.
If there was a music associated with that place, bring it on.
Imagine yourself to be a tourist in your own town or locale, drop al prejudices and assumptions and go to explore without an agenda or time constraint. Make your mind nimble and fresh. Continue to be an explorer.
Ways To Fondly Remember A Trip Without Feeling Sad About It Being Over.
Re-read your travel diary. Review your visual records, pictures or videos.
Make a special time for yourself where you feel unconditional regard for yourself. In your mind revisit all the valuable and deeply felt travel moments. Especially recall how you felt and how it enriched your life beauty, adventure and meaning.
Appreciate yourself for the courage and commitment you had to make in order to have such experience.
This is the essence of the time travel and you can do it any time (smile). Interestingly enough the neuroscience tells us that the neural function that is responsible for generation of memory, imagination and perception uses the same area of the brain. Therefore any of those faculties could in some way inform our experience a reality originating from either one of those sectors.
Remember that travel is the surest investment to make a rich life.