6 Apr 2015

How to Handle Post-Travel Blues

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

I have always wanted to travel and explore the most distant destinations around the world, and last year, I decided to realize all my plans. The first destination I wanted to visit was Europe for I have always appreciated my roots, our distinguished civilization and the culture that I come from, but differ so much from, as an Aussie. Finally, I have to admit that I had the time of my life!

The entire preparation for the trip was long and exhausting, as well as the trip itself. There were several annoying stopovers, but I was excited all the time. From the moment our plane touched the ground, to the moment I saw the Greek Parthenon twinkling above the city, I was excited, and then I was enchanted, enamored! During my entire 2 month long Euro trip, I followed a path from Greece, Italy and Czech Republic to the Scandinavian Peninsula. Each European country was specific in its cultural distinctions, but also similar to its neighbors, and that was lovely to see, given what we’d learned about “parts of Europe” on the streets back home. I was also amazed by the distinctions in people’s temperament, speech, and behavior.

However, when I returned to Perth, after a whole month spent in wanderlust, traveling and enjoying myself, taking things easy, I noticed that something inside me also changed. After each trip I take, I feel like a different person in unpronounceable ways, paying attention to some things I didn’t notice earlier. It is then that I realized what an impact my Euro trip had left on me.

When I first got back to Perth, I had a lot of trouble dealing with jetlag. The difference between time zones is mindboggling, nerve-wracking to say the least! I was so very exhausted. I have learned to deal with jetlag, being somewhat of a globetrotter. The foundation of dealing with jetlag is accepting jetlag. It will always happen, and it will always feel like torture. You could be aboard an airplane every other week, you could be an air stewardess, and you would still feel the weight in your eyelids as soon as you land. Time is tricky business. When I finally reach my apartment, I would take a long shower and have a nice, calming drink. I have established a working relationship with detoxifying food and drinks. I may or may not have taken foreign hard-to-digest food during my trip (I totally have), but the cleansing sensation is clear and psychosomatic. After my tea or smoothie, I spend an entire day sleeping and trying to adapting my organism Perth time again. But wait there’s more! Seasons. Australian summers are European winters, and the other way around. It’s always sunny someplace! And you feel it as if you had never experienced a change in climate before. Everything is ridiculously different!

However, as I’m trying to deal with my jetlag, I also have deal with getting my life schedule sorted out. Picking up a pace in order to have an everyday routine is not only difficult, it is also depressing. I feel so stressed out. Visiting Europe was my long-awaited dream and now, it’s a “been there, done that” deal. The post-travel blues were impossible to get around, and they blended in quite chummily with the winter blues, ugh. I can’t think about anything else, the only thing I care about are the memories I have left of Europe. I could go mad if this goes on for too long. However, since I realize that I need to change the way I approach things, I decide to actively work on restoring some sort of routine.

I have an additional trick to battling the travel blues. I like to go out for coffee with Emma, a friend of mine who also got bitten by the travel bug. She went to Europe long before me, and we had a fun sit-down, as we compared our journeys. It was amazing seeing her and talking about our experiences. It was nice to be near someone who understands. I show her my photos and we talk about the difficulties of adapting to my normal life. Then, she reassures me - this doesn’t have to be my final road trip. I could go and experience Europe all over again whenever I want. Or maybe I could mix things up, visit South America. Or Polynesia. There’s more possibilities than either one of us will ever be able to experience.

More tips! I started scrapbooking my entire trip because I want to make these memories forever. One day, when images and details start slipping from my mind, I will always be able to refresh my memory with my scrapbook and go back into the moment. And I am not just talking about photos! I mean, a real scrapbook, with flowers, pebbles, pamphlets, phone numbers, sketches and a whole lot of love.

I have also learned a lot about some people’s habits and I will try learn from their experiences. It is never too late or too early to make some changes in your life, and then pick apart the good from the bad, learn from the experience, too. Some innovations will definitely be for the better!

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