Post-Travel Depression: Coming Home Is Hard

Before my first trip abroad, plenty of information was thrown at me. All the experienced travelers I knew, and some I didn’t, told me what apps to download, what...

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Before my first trip abroad, plenty of information was thrown at me. All the experienced travelers I knew, and some I didn’t, told me what apps to download, what to do when I got to Paris, where to hide my passport, and how to be cheap when eating. I was fully prepared for what became an trip I will always hold near and dear to my passport. What I wasn’t prepared for was the depression that came when I made it back home and plopped down on my couch.

For days I walked around finding cures to what I thought the strange feeling was. It wasn’t hunger, constipation, or some crazy stomach thingy from the well-undercooked beef in Barcelona. “You’re depressed,” Devin said, and I immediately believed him. The feelings stayed with me for the next few days, and I created this list:

    1. Only you will grow. Seeing the world and how the sun sets in another hemisphere, how nice the people are, and what true history looks like up close, will undoubtedly change us. We return home and expect our friends and families to have grown with us, but in reality, they haven’t.
    2. Not many people want to hear sentences that begin with “When I was in ________(fill in blank with any country visited)” all day. Your stories are cool, but the people who sat in cubicles to barely make enough to pay their cell phone bill aren’t too interested in being envious at the moment.
    3. There will be no welcome home parties. All your friends are working when you land, and your mom isn’t answering her phone. The grand memory you had of home was all make-believe and now, while standing at Baggage Claim, you remember the truth. Open up Uber on your phone and make your way to your apartment. Maybe someone will call and take you for a drink later.
    4. Coming home to the familiar is harder than going out into the unknown.

Coming back to Los Angeles from a trip to New York City was the hardest. I hoped breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and milkshakes would cure the blues, but they didn’t, and I needed to act quick. My mood was bringing others down, and I’m rarely one to isolate myself. Here are the things I found that push out the blues a bit quicker:

    1. Find local treats and happenings that remind you of the amazing things you’ve seen out in the world.
    2. Get to work on your next trip. Start playing around with fare deals, create another bucket list, press the BUY button, and be excited about what’s to come.
    3. Connect with other travelers who know how important it is to share and talk about these things. Buy a bottle a wine or tequila and just talk and laugh and use this time as a sort of therapy.

Sometimes, the place where we house our belongings isn’t home at all, and we’re sad because all the unknown spaces in the world is where we truly belong, and we’re just homesick.

Categories
Travel

Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.

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