What did you do this summer?
This is a question so many of us get asked as summer fades into a distant memory, and we drift back to our respective realities.
Maybe you spent your summer trekking through South America, ascending Machu Picchu and salsa dancing the nights away.
There’s a chance you rode an elephant for the first time in India or enjoyed an authentic macaroon after climbing the Eiffel tower. Perhaps you fell in love with a new city, a stranger or even yourself.
To put it simply, our generation as a whole has been infected with a serious wanderlust epidemic, and we are deliciously cursed with an insatiable thirst for the world and its wonders.
The travelers of Generation-Y span the globe, especially during the summer, to broaden our horizons, our hearts and for a short time, our homes — to whatever hostel, hotel, couch or sleeping bag may come our way.
Nobody talks about what happens when the adventure ends, however; what happens when you have to return to real life. For some of us, it’s a relief. Reunions with family, friends and a comfortable bed are definitely worth the wait, but as the adventure comes to a close, PTSD can hit -- Post Travel Sadness Disorder, that is.
It's the gloomy, lonely, weary and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms travelers experience when they’re removed from their latest adventurous endeavors — and it's not fun.
Travel, to wherever it may be, can change your life and alter the perspectives through which you take in the world. Travel pushes people from their comfort zones into new cultures and situations, which can ultimately help them grow into more open-minded people.
Returning back to the comfort zone after learning to thrive outside of it can be very difficult. After I spent months traveling through three different continents, I flew home a different person. When the raw sense of wonder that invaded your life suddenly fades, it can be a rocky, albeit healthy and necessary transition.
Home sweet home is waiting; don’t let your post-travel blues keep you from seeing how deliciously sweet it really is. As summer winds down, and our adventures morph back into the daily grind of living, learning and loving, here are a few tips to help you cope with the post-travel blues:
Treat home like another trip.
See the place you live through the eyes of a traveler; notice the nuances and quirks that make your home unique. Experience all of the good your home can offer, and believe me, there is a lot, once you start to look.
A worldly community exists around you -- find it.
If you are missing the global community, join it. Volunteer with refugees; teach English; do service projects; help charities. There are so many causes and volunteer opportunities available at your fingertips.
Cherish the time you have with those you missed the most.
Enjoy special time with your best friends and family. While traveling, you will inevitably have days of homesickness and days you wish your best friends were with you. Create those special days with special people.
Traveling is exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. Anytime you leave your comfort zone, it can take a lot out of you.
Appreciate the fact that you can be home and not worry about someone breaking into your hostel locker or stealing your passport. Eat healthily, get some sleep and relax. More adventures are around the corner.
Start working and saving.
Get back out there. Plan another trip; save your pennies. Stay hungry for what you love.
Remember that you traveled for one person.
...That person is you. We often come back from traveling with more stories to tell than there are ears willing to listen. Oftentimes, only the people who truly care about you will be interested in hearing your stories, and the number of people who genuinely care may surprise you.
Whether people acknowledge the growth, miles or adventure you experienced is irrelevant. You have grown. You were out in the world, and you expanded your horizons.
That’s something of which you should be proud. It doesn’t matter how many likes your Instagram got; you must be part of that beautiful place, and you must experience something incredible -- that’s what matters.
Most of all…
Be grateful. Be copiously, immensely, monumentally and unendingly filled with gratitude for the memories you created while traveling.
The world is filled with people who never even get a chance to leave their hometowns. Travel is a huge privilege, not a right. It is the one thing you can buy that will make you richer, and so many people do not have the opportunity.
Also, be grateful for the fact that you have a home to which you can return; you have loved ones who miss you and whom you missed in return. What a gift it is to not only see the world but to also have people loving and supporting you, no matter how many miles are in-between.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It