You’re about to step on a plane and head back home. You find your seat, passport still in hand, and gaze wistfully out the window. Your incredible trip that you spent weeks planning and months longer dreaming about, has finally come to an end. Within just a matter of hours, your feet will be touching down on home turf and that feeling of familiarity slowly sinks in. But deep down, in your heart of hearts, you have an inkling that the open road is where you really belong…
Whether you’ve been gone for two weeks, two months or two years, the second your feet touch home soil, you’ll be hit with a confusing emotional cocktail of excitement, confusion and instant nostalgia – because you just know you’re coming back a different person. It’s a shifted perception of the world, an appreciation for how small it really is, how interconnected we all really are. The people you’ve met, both locals and those who shared your adventure, have changed something in you. Call it cheesy AF, but it touches on something like an awakening…
Time passes quickly.
In the first few weeks of your return, your travels are the topic of conversation and a breath of fresh air for those who are slaves to the daily grind. You see your friends, your family, the old room you left behind, and it slowly dawns on you that whilst you’ve been away having this enlightening experience on the other side of the world, life for everyone else has remained the same. Well, everything except for the new relationships formed, engagements popping up on your feed left, right and friggin centre, people purchasing their first home and job promotions that followed. You know – the standard.
Your days are no longer filled with spontaneity, they’re semi-structured. No more midnight swims, cocktail hour at 11am or getting lost just for the hell of it. You’re back to routine and that sense of freedom and adventure, seems lost.
You feel confused, angry almost. Your mind begins to wander, asking if this is where you’re supposed to be – familiarity. Old territory. Is this really right for you? You know that this trip opened your mind, heightened your sense of awareness and appreciation. The stamps on your passport act as a reminder of all the countries you visited, the borders you crossed, and the stories you’ll tell time and time again. You’ve got a serious case of the itchy feet.
And the fact of the matter is, your soul is elsewhere…
Bits and pieces of it scattered around the world. Your soul is a jigsaw puzzle; each piece lost to the beautiful shorelines, snow-capped mountains or skyscraper-lined streets that you visited, or in your most treasured moments from your travels. You feel incomplete.
Conversations become slightly less meaningful as people struggle to relate to your experience of driving through the Canadian Rockies and seeing a glacier for the first time. They don’t understand the true meaning of the picture as you stand tall atop Machu Picchu, your arms spread wide.
So what do you do?
Sit there feeling sorry for yourself as you scroll through pictures of your adventures, pining for times gone by? No, don’t do that.
What you’re experiencing are the dreaded, and very real post-travel blues. During your adventures you’ve seen too much, experienced too much, been opened up to new cultures and new ways of living. And there’s no going back from that. Your mind has been opened. Your vision has been refreshed, your passion for the world and it’s inhabitants re-ignited, or even discovered. You are an entirely new person. And that is the biggest, and coolest gift travel can give you.
By this point in the cycle, you have been well and truly bitten by the travel bug.
It’s seeped into your mind, and everything from this point on becomes a new possibility to your next big plan. Each conversation becomes a new idea; a new country to dream of, a new adventure to wish for. You are addicted to this high and your drug of choice is travel. Whether it’s a job change, moving to a new city, meeting new friends or best of all a whole new travel plan, use this positive energy to propel yourself forward to where you want to be.
This is the cycle of travel, and it never fades. A sequence of reciprocal cause and effect, while you’re dreaming of an adventure, your conscious mind is mentally planning another trip which one day will come to full fruition.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you – it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
This article was originally published by Contiki.