As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
I knew all along that I would have to leave South America for the colder climes of my homeland sooner or later but it’s all too easy to put that thought to the back of your mind when you’re exploring Machu Picchu or admiring the colourful streets of Cartagena. And so, when the time did finally spring itself on me I felt a sort of panic. What was I going back to? Travelling had become my purpose for the last nine months and I was scared about how I would adjust to life back at home. With no job prospects and nothing to do on a day-to-day basis I feared that my life would become suddenly stagnant after so many months of being on the road.
The initial homecoming is great: the reunions, the home comforts, and the things you’ve missed keep you busy and happy enough for a little while. But as soon as the excitement dies down, the novelty of being home begins to wear off too. You start to say things like “Oh, this time last month I was on a beach in Colombia sipping on a cold brewski”, or, “There was this great ceviche place… damn, I could go for some ceviche right now”. Everyone around you begins to tire of these travel-related outbursts and you have to try and come to terms with the fact that you are travelling no more.
So what do you do to tackle traveller’s blues?
I am no expert. I’m struggling with the adjustment. But, here are three things that have helped me since being back from travelling:
1) Be a tourist for the day
Treat any outing as your traveller self might treat it. For me, this means taking your camera out on any day trip you take, even if it’s to a place you’ve seen a thousand times. An outing to Oxford became a touristic experience for me, as I was able to appreciate the beauty of the city through my camera lens as if I were seeing it for the first time.
2) Music is food for the soul
Listen to the music you listened to in that country. Music is a huge part of travelling: even if you don’t understand the language, a certain song will take you back to the country where you heard it. I was bombarded with Latin American pop and salsa – in taxis, in buses, in shops, in clubs, everywhere. I came to know the words to songs and sing them of my own accord. So, when I came back, I downloaded Prince Royce’s album and played it on repeat. It made me feel like I was still connected to Latin America and my life out there.
3) Travel is as travel does
Start planning your next trip. If you’re anything like me then you were probably planning your next adventure before the one you were on had even ended. Maybe your finances won’t allow it any time soon (I know mine won’t) but that doesn’t stop you from planning. I’ve already looked into flights to South East Asia and possible routes and destinations I might choose. It makes you feel as though you’re still travelling and staves off that travel hunger for a little while.
These tips might not work for everyone but they’ve certainly helped me over the last month and have made the homecoming a little easier on me, and those around me! Maybe I’ll come up with a few more as time goes on but if anyone has any other helpful tips, send ‘em my way!