I recently wrote a post about how I deal with the “travel blues” while away from home & out of my comfort zone for months at a time. I wrote about why traveling isn’t always as glamorous as it seems from the lens of a nature-filled instagram account & why, sometimes, even amidst the most captivating adventures in the most magical places, travel blues can arise.
Today, I’m writing on a similar topic. Some travelers refer to the topic I’m writing on as “the post travel blues.” I prefer to name it the “not travel blues” because I am in the phase in my life when I am sitting still for a while, working, saving money, & awaiting the next travel adventure.
The phase of life after months of travel is riddled with personal “what’s nexts?” & “where tos?” & “what am I doing with my lifes?” Friends & family ask questions, such as, “aren’t you going to settle down??” or “are you ever going to get a real job??”
Full time travel is exciting, invigorating, & inspiring. Every day is a new open-ended adventure full of new opportunities ahead. During that phase of life, anything & everything seems possible. The world is my oyster & “carpe diem” is my motto.
On the other hand, life after traveling feels mundane. The days run together. Lack of change leads to boredom. Boredom opens the door for doubts & questions to creep into my mind that never cross it while traveling. Will I be able to save enough to afford the next adventure? Should I just settle somewhere? Where will I go next? What if the next destination doesn’t live up to the Antarctic expedition? (hint: it won’t.) What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations?
Full time travel is fun! Returning can leave a person feeling stir crazy & ready to go again & again & again.
So what are the steps I take to pull myself up & out of this “stuck” feeling?
Step 1: I constantly remind myself that there is a purpose for all seasons & life phases
If I weren’t feeling “stuck” in my pharmacy job, I probably would never have mustered the courage & motivation to travel. My life would look a lot different than it does now if I were in a job that I looked forward to doing on most days of the week.
The reality is that I do my pharmacy job so that I can save the money to travel & have long, open-ended adventures. I appreciate my job because it allows me to have this opportunity.
Life cycles like the phases of the moon. Just as the moon sometimes does not appear in the sky, sometimes there are periods of rest & inactivity in life & it’s difficult to see the future coming together. But the moon is always there, working & holding the Earth in place, just as the future will always bring light & excitement & adventure to times darkness. For me, the moon & what it symbolizes is powerful & uplifting. I often meditate on this idea & am reminded me that even though I feel as if I am “stuck” in life there are things that need to happen to prepare me for the next adventure ahead.
Step 2: I re-read the “how I deal with the travel blues” post & apply those self care principles to my current life.
I don’t need to go into the details of this post again. The same self care techniques apply as much at home as they do on the road, & sometimes more so.
I try to take care of myself, mentally, physically, & spiritually.
Step 3: Small action steps lead to inspiration
After traveling for 6 full months, it’s easy to believe that every day must be a big adventure. But sometimes it just takes doing something small, like going for a day hike, to realize that adventure can be found anywhere.
Personally, I like my life to be constantly changing & I like to be on the move. These times when I’m sitting still & attempting to save money can be mentally taxing. This is when I have to consciously create the illusion of change in my life.
Perhaps I take a new bike route to my yoga studio, or, better yet, frequent a new yoga studio or teacher. Maybe I visit a new coffee shop, instead of that same one I’ve been to every day this week. Perhaps I start a new hobby. Last year, I tried indoor bouldering during the rainy, fall & winter months & loved it. I’m currently debating about what my next activity will be. I’m slowly recovering from a back injury, so, for now, I’m taking this time to practice Spanish, read new books, & do small city hikes that I’ve never done. I also joined a Portland travel, meetup group in which I get to meet with a bunch of like-minded, travel loving ladies every month. These ladies give me inspiration & ideas for future travel.
Step 4: I set travel related goals & deadlines
Step 1- Decide what continents & countries I’ll visit next
Step 2- Buy a travel book
Step 3- book a plane ticket
Step 4- begin planning a loose itinerary
Once it becomes real that more adventures & travels are around the corner, the excitement begins to build on itself.
Today I purchased a plane ticket to Australia & I can already feel the travel bug surfacing. In fact, I already feel less “stuck” than I did this morning.
Step 5: I plan mini trips & act like a tourist in my own state
During this season of not traveling, I’ve still packed in pretty exciting adventures.
I took a 5 day trip to Alaska to hike, see glaciers, & camp in the Alaskan wilderness with the bears. Five days doesn’t seem like a long trip when you’re accustomed to open-ended plane tickets but, trust me, it was exactly what I needed to break up the monotony. The best part- the plane ticket only cost $200 round trip! Skyscanner.com ftw!
I also hosted a friend from Texas & acted like a tourist with her in my own city for 5 days. It was epic! We packed in all of the fun, Portlandy things & even took 2 road trips in that time! I don’t have to go far to adventure & hosting a friend was just an excuse to do these fun things.
Next, I’ll host my parents & sister for Thanksgiving & this gives me one more thing to look forward to! They can be pretty difficult to please, which just ads to the excitement.
Rest & Recuperation
I am still recovering from 6 amazing months of hiking, camping, & daily adventuring in South America. My body needs a break & it has its way of letting me know.
For someone as active as I am, this can be a challenging & I have to constantly remind myself that slowing down & being bored is not only ok, but also good & purposeful. For without this recovery period, I would not have the energy or inspiration for my next adventure– scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef.
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