There’s that unmistakable poop-feeling that eats at your spirit when returning home after a long, life-changing trip abroad. Shout out to #stanknation post-trip depression.
I feel you; no longer being able to binge on Nutella and eat 1 euro baguettes by the Eiffel Tower can really get you down in the dumpsies.
It seems as though you’ve been counting down the days to finally be able to sit on your mom’s couch and watch American cartoons, or skip through your local Walmart to revive the American consumerist you once were before departing. It was all you wanted when you were abroad, but in the first few days back, it hits you like a big ol’ ton of bricks: you’d trade it all for being the “foreign kid” again.
You’re home, and it sucks.
After being victim to this gross, but inevitable stage in the travel game, popularly known as “reverse culture-shock,” I’ve adopted some ways of thinking that have helped me get over my post-travel-funk.
peel open your old world with fresh eyes
Everything can chafe your energy when you’re pissed about not being somewhere you want to be. Something as small as the fact we Americans double bag a tube of toothpaste at the grocery store, or the way you have to walk at least six blocks to find a non-chain restaurant. You’ve been abroad and you’ve seen a different way of life. At first, you’re jaded, but here’s the deal: traveling abroad and coming back home gives you a huge advantage; you’ve opened the door to choices that weren’t even there before you set foot outside of your comfort zone. With every trip you take, you collect more values to place on your mental “souvenir” shelf. Before you know it, you’ll start picking and choosing pieces of cultures that you connect with most and apply it to your old way of life.
the born-again you
What better time for change like right after you’ve put yourself through the craziest, most outer-body travel experience? I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but rather, post-travel resolutions. Whether it’s as subtle as changing your diet, or changing your entire group of friends, you’ll never come back from a trip unchanged simply because you’ve had to adapt abroad to survive and thrive. If you didn’t adopt any change, that means you were probably stuck behind your Netflix screen the entire time you were abroad… and das a no no.
you can spice up everyday with an adventure
Whether you’re going back to school, work, internships, or whatever it may be that seems extremely monotonous, remember that you have a choice to infuse your life with adventure. Another bit of good news is that you don’t need to get on a plane to travel. The minute you feel bored with repetition of life at home, just think back to the times where you’d party until 6AM and still make it for the 9AM excursion to some remote city near wherever you were studying abroad. The spirit of travel will now be inside of you (cheesiest thing I’ve ever said), and it’s up to you to continue to grow it. Damon and I are stuck for months at a time in NYC to go to meetings and save moolah, but that doesn’t stop us from taking day trips to nearby cities; or do anything that feeds our travel bug for that matter. If we can’t jump on a bus to somewhere new, we swipe our Metrocards and go to a far away borough. Don’t take what’s near you for granted… go out and explore it.
new interests means new friends
One of the bluntest things I’ll ever tell you is that when you travel, your taste in people will change… mostly for the better. Odds are, when you leave your friends back home to pursue your journey there will be many things that they won’t be able to relate with you anymore. While they were brushing up on their celebrity pop-culture drama, that doesn’t actually matter to their lives, you were out living yours. It’s tough to let go of people who have been around for a while, trust me, I’m the queen of long friendships and relationships that sometimes come to an end. After deciding to part ways with my best friend of 12+ years, my take on this is that you have to take friendships for their memories and respect them for what they taught you in that particular stage of your life. Bottom line is that you should embrace the fact that you sometimes outgrow them. If you choose to keep the oldies around, good for you! Having friends with different interests isn’t a bad thing, but having friends that can relate to your new wanderlust-filled point of view feels so much frickin’ better. Open your friendship circle to other travel-bitten peeps and you’ll start booking more trips than before.
get excited about your next trip
Just a reminder: the world is a big a$$ place. Get stoked about the next journey you take. The earlier you plan, the sooner the travel days will come! Instead of wallowing in the funk of being back home, make use of your time by Google mapping your next adventure.
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