When I got home from my first travelling experience in South Africa I was lost, totally and utterly. I didn’t see the travelling blues coming, but when they did they hit hard. I’ve now discovered it’s not uncommon to fall down after such a high, and there is help out there. That is also the aim of this post, to share with you my experience and how I overcame my travelling blues. I normally write most posts with the aim of being a little amusing at least, but this one is a little different and very personal, but hopefully it come across as imformative and not just asking for a sympathy vote.
Two months in South Africa had been the best time of my life, by far! … and that was the problem. When I touched down in Heathrow I was ecstatic to see my parents and heap on them not only washing, but stories of drunken nights, jumping out of planes, jumping off of bridges, the usual backpacker stories. I then retold the same stories to all my mates, I just loved seeing the reactions and showing off my pictures I guess. Bragging rights too maybe, but I was also proud of myself, proud that I’d done something of note with my life.
I thought that my travelling experience would change my life back home, that somehow overnight everything would fall into place. I walked with a spring in my step and more confidence than I previously had. There was the tiney tiny possibility of a (brief) travel romance developing back at home. For that first week back at home, things were good, but it didn’t last and soon it all came crashing down, things changed big time!
LOSING THE PLOT
It started when I noticed how little other people really cared about my travel experience, and why should they, they had stuff going on in their lives and hadn’t been travelling so couldn’t relate. This deflated me. In a short space of time I also scared off the girl I liked from my volunteer project. I resorted to trying to replicate great nights out I’d had whilst away, drinking games, pub golf, three legged pub crawls. Once again, no one was really interested, they had to get up in the morning for work and I was supposed to be looking for job myself. Instead more often than not I woke up with an incredible sore head and very little memory.
Soon I was losing sleep (when I wasn’t drunk), depressed and hardly speaking to my family. It wasn’t their fault in any way, I was being a little sh*t. I spent my time listening to songs that reminded me of being away and looking at my photos, wishing I could go back. I’m sure other people go through worse, but in terms of my life, it was an all time low!
Getting over these feelings wasn’t an overnight job, and it involved a little help from a couple of mates, and a frank talk with my parents. But I made it.
First off I got a job. It wasn’t the most exciting job in the world but it established a routine in my life. My friend got me the interview and it obviously went ok so I was soon earning myself a bit of cash on a monthly basis. The job also opened other doorways for me, mainly through the people I met at my new workplace. I got back into playing football through my now flatmate, who at the time I job shared with. Even now 6 years on we still play in the same Sunday side. I also met my now girlfriend through that job, we actually started work on the exact same day.
The second significant step was setting some goals, giving myself some focus. My personal goal was to save, save money so that I could go away again. Not in a running away sense, but to see the world and finish what I’d started. I’d had a taste of it and wanted more. To achieve this I would need to work hard and save hard, and that’s exactly what I did. For 12 months I pushed paper and crunched numbers for 5 days a week, and eventually saved up enough to go on a round the world trip for 12 months.
ARRIVE HOME PART 2
I think my parents were fearful when I arrived home from my second bought of travelling, and they had every right to be. But things were different this time though, I had wanted to come home, I’d had my fill, achieved what I’d set out to do and was now very tired. I also drew of my previous experiences and these I share with you in my guide to overcoming travelling blues post.
I’d like to think i’m a pretty happy person now, there are the usual stresses of work and bills, but thats pretty standard. On the whole i’m proud of my travelling experiences, and plan many more. Arriving home from a travelling stint doesnt have to be the end of the world, maybe its just a stepping stone towards you next adventure!?