Coping with Travel Withdrawals

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Being at Home and at Peace –
without going crazy!

It starts with acceptance. The trip is over and now you must return to the normal people, food, music, clothing, smells, and sights as before. You think about the adventure and freedom you had; the confidence, curiosity, doubt… the people, the cool spots, the exotic language and styles. Customs and fun you had that you just can’t find at home. Home is good, it’s okay, but it’s not like being on a train in a foreign country. It doesn’t compare to using their confusing money system and being asked about home. It’s like being a celebrity, especially if you don’t look like everyone else. All while you’re learning and sharing and giving and receiving so much.

Needless to say, coming home from travel is heartbreaking. Not always immediately, but it gets worse the more time goes by without it. I’m going on 3 months since my last trip abroad and I feel like I gave up heroin or hugging puppies. I feel mentally sick. Anxiety attacks, insomnia, sometimes my appetite is increased, sometimes it’s decreased, and the world feels empty. Depression from lack of travel sounds absurd to some people, but it’s a real thing for the seasoned traveler.

Of course, there will be more travels and “being home is a journey in itself”, but… you know… it’s not the same. It’s not easy. Especially with the marketing tactics online! It’s designed to look like everyone you know is ALWAYS traveling. You’re the only loser who isn’t sunbathing in Jamaica in January or playing with monkeys in Thailand. Plus, all the airline deals and contests that come automatically since that trip you took 8 years ago. They just keep coming and you keep clicking them and salivating. Is that just me? I salivate over the thought of seeing what games are played in South Korea and what they eat for breakfast in Ghana.

Plus, the fantasies are endless. Maybe my job will require me to live abroad for 6 months or my long-lost cousin in Costa Rica will invite me to stay for the Winter!  Not because I hate New York, not because I am sick of my family, or need a break from reality, I just love who I become when I go away. It’s not someone I can access while I’m home. It’s all about the mystery and potential for what can occur in a distant country, or even just a different state than the one I’ve lived in my entire life.

Not having any trips planned is my promise to myself now. For the sake of staying put until I have my job set and stable, in order to appreciate my situation, and to save up money for a grand trip, eventually. All valid reasons to wait, but it feels like the wait will never end. For what am I awaiting? There’s nothing ahead or next! Wake up, eat, walk dog, work, go to the gym, walk dog, eat, sleep. It’s an actual circle of the same activities. Forever. How do people live this way?

Fortunately, I know it won’t last. Fortunately, I know how to enjoy each day. I know how to slap myself in the face and realize that there are worse problems, bigger battles, and there is so much more time to do and see everything I know I will do and see. There’s not a doubt in me. Of course, if I die tomorrow, I’m out of luck, but you can’t have regrets if you’re dead…? See? Who says I’m not optimistic!?

You, traveler, if you’re also hurting bad to travel at a time when it’s not an option, keep your eyes on the prize. Focus on why it’s so important and how you can keep things spicy in the meantime. Yell at whoever or whatever is preventing you. Get mad, be honest, don’t settle, otherwise, you’ll get used to the safety of your home bubble and never get back out there. Just don’t compromise your current safety and comfort out of frustration and impatience. There’s no sense in throwing everything away out of spite and rage.

As much as I want to burn down my apartment, give the middle finger to my responsibilities, and run away, there must be something bigger that awaits me. A long-term success or accomplishment. At least, that’s the mantra I’ve chosen. No one is intended for mediocrity, but many of us accept it. If you’re not willing to accept this, then there is no other option, you will be part of wonderful things. And believe it or not, there’s more than travel to experience all the world has to offer. There’s more good you can do, right in your own country or city or town. Seriously, don’t let the airlines convince you that you need them to “live”. Your life in your personal movie, you’re the star, whatever you do, it’s going to be worthwhile.

 

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