7 Tips To Help You Avoid The Travel Blues
Because you can't be exuberant 100% of the time.
So you’re out on the adventure of a lifetime, halfway across the world, far from home and having a ball. Then suddenly it hits you; the dreaded travel blues. At first you hate yourself, because you think no one in your position or in their right mind would feel sad, depressed, or even a little bit blue while globetrotting – all that is supposed to happen after you get home, when you start missing the freedom of travelling.
But it’s not that simple.
The fact is people do experience sadness and even depression while travelling. It might be due to the fact that you’re simply not enjoying the experience as much as you thought you would, or your usual network of friends or family aren’t there to support you. Maybe you’re worried about how much money you’re spending, and already thinking of how you’ll have to pay it off when you get back. The reasons for the travel blues may vary, as well as how you decide to deal with it.
Here are some tips that might help.
#1 Leave The Emotional Baggage At Home
Easier said than done, but it’s important to remember that travel isn’t always a solution to whatever problems you may be dealing with at home. Obviously if you’re actually suffering from depression it’s best to plan and prepare with your relevant specialist so you can avoid a worst-case scenario, but even if you have less pronounced personal or inter-personal problems at home, running away overseas is not necessarily going to solve them. So think hard about whether these problems are going to psychologically hound you while away, and do your best to sort them out before you get on that plane.
2 Have Some Flexibility To Your Plans
Some people love to plan trips down to the finest detail; others like to completely wing it. There’s no right or wrong way, but many a traveller experiences FOMO at some stage. Often opportunities go begging because you’ve allotted yourself three nights in Location A before your booked train ticket gets you to Location B and doesn’t allow you to go off gallivanting to Location C with a bunch of like-minded travellers you just met. Missing out is a traveller’s worst nightmare, so try and leave yourself some wriggle room.
#3 Meeting People Isn’t Easy, But It’s Fun
Hostel pub-crawls usually end up being either the best or worst night of your life, but if getting drunk with a bunch of strangers isn’t appealing, then don’t forget hostels run plenty of non-alcohol related activities and tours too. Nothing beats exploring yourself, but spending some time with other backpackers in a setting that doesn’t involve Jam Doughnut shots means you can experience new sights with other travellers, start more natural conversations with them, and maybe even make some new buds. At the very least you’ll pick up some travel tips for the road ahead.
#4 Limit Your Contact With Home
No one is suggesting you sever all ties and fail to notify people about where you are in the world, but Skyping friends and family too frequently is something you should avoid. You’ll be home eventually, and you can regale (or annoy) them with your travel stories once you’re back.
Plus, the more of your travel time you spend talking to those back home, the more likely you’ll be to experience homesickness. Not everyone can live in the moment 100 percent of their travel time, but you went travelling for a reason and while it’s important to maintain your relationships back home, you’re perhaps better off fostering new ones while you have the opportunity. But if you do need that moral support from home, its comforting to know that it’s just a phone call away.
#5 Write About Your Travels
Don’t worry, you don’t have to start a travel blog – but if you enjoy writing even a little bit, keeping some kind of travelogue, even if for your own purposes, can be beneficial.
Personal writing is a form of introspection, and if you do find yourself having a hard time travelling, then writing is a good way of venting about it, albeit to yourself. It will make you think more about what you’re enjoying, and what you’re not, and expressing what may be troubling you along your journey can be helpful in actually addressing it.
#6 It’s Your Experience; Don’t Compare It To Others’
Be prepared that your experience might not stack up to what you had envisaged in your head, or what your friend’s Instagram photos from their travels led you to believe. Photos are representations of things, not the actual thing itself. When we see our friend’s travel photos, or hear their travel stories, they’ve already presented it through a filter, and when you take in these images and tales, you filter it again – what comes out is a far rosier experience than they’ve perhaps had.
So don’t compare your experience to theirs, and don’t be alarmed or too saddened if the perfect adventure you had in your mind isn’t the same one you actually experience. You will end up in a less-than-perfect hostel. You will see some rough parts of town. That sun-kissed vista you’ve seen in photos? Yep, it will be obscured by rainfall when you actually get there yourself. The important thing to remember is that for every perfect moment you envisaged that doesn’t occur, there will be an equal measure of brilliant, unexpected ones that will.
#7 Don’t Lose Your Mind Over Money
Though no one would advise you to rack up a ten thousand dollar credit card debt, returning home a little bit in the red is not the end of the world. You have your whole life to earn more money, and travelling really is a luxury.
Be as smart as you can with your spending, do your research, finds deals, and leave with enough money to theoretically last your whole trip, but don’t be so frugal to the point you can’t experience or enjoy your travels. Stressing over your finances while travelling will just lead to anxiety. Avoid at all costs. Pun intended.