If You Suffer Post Travel Depression this May Be the Reason
In my mind, at least.
I was officially depressed.
After nearly 2 years in Southeast Asia, Kelli and I returned to the United States. During winter time.
No palm trees. No warm weather. No tropical beaches. No banana shakes.
I wanted to blame my post trip depression on being….a post trip depression. Or being home. But I had to own the root of my depression: me.
Or more accurately, my fears fueled my depression.
I feared stuff. I buried stuff. I blamed my depression on not being in Thailand. Or being in New Jersey. It was never about being in New Jersey or not being in Thailand.
My depressed feelings were just experiences from childhood I had not fully embraced, felt and released.
In most cases the reason why you feel depressed when you return home after a trip is because the stuff you buried, and haven’t embraced, because you believed you could run away from it, is still there, and triggers when you return home, so it bubbles to the surface and feels really shitty.
Your Depression Will Follow You Everywhere
Don’t believe travel bloggers who blame their depression on the post travel bit.
I do understand that you resonate with certain areas of the world. For sure.
I also get you may not like your hometown or home country. For sure.
But when you clear fears, and embrace your stuff, instead of trying to outrun it, you will be happy anywhere on earth.
Here’s why: the person creates the experience, and if you color your experiences predominantly with love, not fear, you love it the way it is.
You love your country the way it is. Sure you may keep traveling. Sure you may dislike certain aspects of your country. But you feel good living there.
Ditto for travels. You love hitting the road. You love seeing the world. But being open, genuine and honest helps you see certain aspects of foreign lands that you do not prefer.
Love colors reality with Truth. Fear creates an illusion, and illusion fuels depression.
Thailand is my favorite country on earth. I love the place. Feels like home in many regards. But as I have cleared my fears, and dissolved my post trip depression, to where I love being in the United States whenever I return home – even when the wind chill is -6 degrees F now, as I type these words – I see aspects of Thailand I do not prefer.
I embrace the face-saving culture. I also see all the problems that arise from not being honest with people, from dodging the truth for fear of hurting people’s feelings and yes, from folks being unable to handle criticism, even if the critique is offered from a loving, caring, light, relaxed place.
I still love Thailand though. Even though I do not prefer the face saving culture, I love it the way it is.
The Popular Travel Blogger Meme and How it Reflects Something Deeper
You have likely read 1, 100 or 20,000 posts by travel bloggers explaining how to get over the travel blogger post trip depression.
How it tends to read:
- said blogger feels depressed being home
- nobody at home has changed, when you get back, and nothing at home has changed, while wonderful you has grown like a weed, has improved themselves and has all but become enlightened…and being so worldly, you cannot connect with folks who just don’t embrace life
- people at home bicker about lame ass issues, and have zero interest in your travels, and you cannot relate to anybody
Guys, I was this person in 2013 when I returned home, depressed, frustrated and filled with fear.
A pretty decent part of my driver to travel the world was to escape my life in the United States. I was sick of being home. I left to experience a life of freedom, of fun and of experiencing new cultures.
But when I returned home, I felt depressed. Turns out, I still clung to many deeply buried fears that I tried to outrun (like most travel bloggers who experience post trip depression), and was still grieving my mother’s sickness.
As I gradually cleared these fears through a series of circumstances in my life that triggered my fears – both in New Jersey and overseas – I began to predominantly feel better. As I felt better most of the time, I began to enjoy returning home. I loved heading back to New Jersey. I also loved traveling.
What the heck? Wasn’t I supposed to be depressed being back home, where everybody was living in their comfort zone, miserable with their first world problems, not a worldly, open-minded, adventurous bone in their bodies?
I just wasn’t the egotistical, judgmental, frightened asshole filled with fear whom I was in 2013.
I vibed mainly from an energy of love, generosity, service and joy. I became more successful online. I connected with my friends at home, and family, with greater ease, being able to chat about all types of stuff other than travel. I also found that my buddies enjoyed my travel stories more genuinely.
See how love connects people? When you clear the fear that causes depression, judgement and dissatisfaction?
Sorry travel bloggers; I feel for you, and feel compassion for your post travel depression, so I have to tell the truth.
If you suffer post travel depression, the fears fueling the depression have little to do with where you are located on the blog and much to do with the stuff you have buried, or stuff you tried to outrun, on the road.
In rare cases you may not resonate at all with:
- your home country or home town
- your friends from home
- your family from home
- the culture of your home country or home town
These folks are genuinely, honestly depressed because they don’t like their home country, hone town, friends, family and culture.
In most cases though, your depression is some fear that you have been outrunning, that you believed traveling the world would either bury, or solve.
The fear is triggered when you return home, creating the feeling of depression.
Guess what? The fear will get triggered eventually during your world travels too. Even if it hasn’t arisen yet, it will.
You cannot get over something that is still in you. No matter where you are in the world.
Be with your shit. Feel your fears. Explore your pain.
When you face your demons versus trying to outrun your deepest fears, the fear energies dissolve, your depression vanishes and you will live in a predominant stage of love, fun and harmony, no matter where you are in the world, because you will largely love everything the way it is.