Dealing with Post Travel Depression

You’ve just returned home from traveling and you feel empty, sad, confused and out of place.  Isn’t the place you call home supposed to feel comfortable?  Why do you suddenly feel like a foreigner in the place you have spent the majority of your life?Why don’t your friends and family understand what you’re going through?  Maybe it’s because you don’t even understand why you are feeling the way you do.  This is what I call post travel depression.  If you are dealing with post travel depression, please watch the video above and know you are not alone.

You can also check out the article I wrote on post travel depression upon returning from a 10-month trip around the world  right here!

If you or anyone you know just returned home from a life-changing trip and need to talk, don’t hesitate to connect with me at kristenj@hopscotchtheglobe.com

Have you ever dealt with Post Travel Depression? How did you deal with it? What advice would you give to others who are going through it?

Kristen Sarah has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcho of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe. She’s also a television host and actress. You can catch her most recently guest starring in Season 4 of Angry Planet and Season 1 of Fabulocity.

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16 Comments

  1. August 7, 2014 / 8:44 am

    It was great to watch this. I came back from 15 months of travelling SE Asia and Australia and the U.k is the exact same as when i left it (except a building or two gone or new). I actually nearly cried watching this haha. Thankyou for the video and letting travellers know in general that others feel the same. I personally can’t wait to go again, i just feel travelling is what i want to do for a long time. Having the same sights and people around me here makes me feel like i’m missing out on what’s going on in the rest of the world.

    I’m not sure if it’s just cause i’m used to it all here or because it just isn’t the place for me but i’m counting down the days until i get to go again :D. Thankyou again, you’ve made me feel better knowing that i’m not alone.

  2. ART
    February 27, 2014 / 11:14 am

    Glad I am coming across these articles. It seems like every time I travel and get home, I always miss the place I traveled to. The funny thing is I am usually alittle homesick at first, but then by the end of the vacation, I miss the place I traveled. Just got back from a 2 week solo vacation in New Zealand, and I miss it quite a bit…the physical place, the atmosphere, etc. The strange thing is I was on my own mostly, didnt have any company really, spent alot of time sightseeing etc on my own, but yet I still miss it and look back with fond memories. Having to integrate back into the daily routine can be hard, even though I only left for 2 weeks. When I was missing my holiday, I found it strange I was feeling this way, I mean, should I not be happy and anxious be back home, with family, friends etc, and in a familiar environment where I was born and spent my entire life? I thought I was the one who was abit strange. Now, thanks to these articles, I know I am not alone and there are many like me. Thanks!

    • March 14, 2014 / 9:33 am

      Hey Art! You are definitely not alone. When I was feeling everything you just mentioned, I thought I had something wrong with me. I couldn’t find anything online about this which is why I decided to make this video. I’m glad we can all help each other realize that travel can effect a person in ways we never think of. You’re not alone. Keep smiling and keep travelling!

  3. February 20, 2014 / 10:26 am

    Hello there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thanks!

    • February 22, 2014 / 9:46 am

      I built my website using Elegant Themes and the mobile friendly aspect was built into the coding. I would look for a template that you can build on that already has the coding worked into the theme.

  4. October 26, 2013 / 4:09 pm

    Wow, Kristen, you nailed this on the head. Getting back sucks. I just got back last month from my first “big” solo trip backpacking across Europe over 100 days this summer. On top of the reverse culture shock, I found out at a doctor appointment the day after getting back that I needed (and have now had) additional surgery on my broken leg from what I thought was mostly healed before leaving on the trip. So now I’ve been immobile for 4 weeks, with another 4-6 to go. Squashing the depression bug is tough but I’ve found that focusing on planning the next travel, six months in Central and S. America, and looking forward really helps to distract. But it’s so true what you describe, everything is the exact same back home as when I left it and what is “normal” anyway? Thanks for confirming to me I’m not the only one with the post travel blues. Safe travels!
    Josh recently posted..Wisdom Gained & Lessons Learned Backpacking EuropeMy Profile

    • October 28, 2013 / 2:04 pm

      I’m sorry about your surgery and you know, that doesn’t help with beating the depression either because you can’t do anything “normal” and watching Netflix gets old and lonely very quickly. Where are you located? Or home base I might say, as you’re probably a nomad.

      You should try going to a conference called WDS in Portland OR, you’ll meet other travelers, educated, united people. I have created an amazing group and support system on these traveling endeavors!

      Best

    • December 12, 2013 / 11:24 am

      I hope that you leg is healing well. Planning an upcoming trip does always help, but I think it’s also nice to tell yourself that even if you are “home” you are still travelling. I doubt you are going to stay in one place the rest of your life, so think of being back home as just another stop on your journey…because it is. 🙂

  5. October 4, 2013 / 6:46 pm

    Wow, I watched the entire video and I have a short attention span, as I’m a travel-addict too! I’ve lived and worked on 3 continents and have traveled to over 40 countries usually on my own. Each time I leave, I think that I won’t have reverse culture shock. And for the most part, I don’t for the FIRST WEEK. But then “the dumps” set in, I don’t want to leave the house, I don’t want to go out with friends, I have no passion for the things I used to be passionate about and even saw a therapist for a while to whine about why I couldn’t stand NOT traveling. There should be a DIAGNOSIS of travel addict and that travel for us is life’s elixir and nourishment, and without this necessary “drug”, we go down.

    I’ve tried all types of remedies, ie. Skyping friends that “understand” me, exercise, running races, giving myself little goals, though nothing ever compares with travel and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I NEED this in my life and I may never be the proverbial “normal”. This is who I am and I know what I want and need, and there is a certain comfort in knowing thyself, knowing that you might not be in your own milieu and that it’s NOT necessarily YOU that’s causing these depressive thoughts, it’s your environment—-or lack there of—your proper environment.

    My favorite place in the world is on a PLANE! I can’t tell you how exhilarated I get knowing that I’m my way to see some place new. The drug.

    We are OUR normal and don’t let anyone tell us otherwise, just like someone is a die-hart Yankees fan and can’t miss a game, we don’t want to miss our plane!

    • October 5, 2013 / 1:13 pm

      So well said! Travel has opened our eyes up to the most incredible experiences. It’s an attack on all of our senses. They become heightened to the max and then the life lived before becomes to plain for us. Travel is so stimulating that the person we used to be is no more because we know what’s out there and we don’t want to stop exploring this crazy, beautiful world. It’s such an amazing thing. I like how you said that you have come to terms with the fact that you need travel. It’s like an artist needing to create. You take that away from them and then they get depressed, there is no need to wonder why that happened! It’s the same thing with explorers. If we can’t explore, we lose our spark. However, I have also learned that even when I’m “home” I’m actually travelling. Life is one big trip. If you think of returning home as just another step in your adventure, then it becomes more exciting. You may be surprised to what you find as well. I just wrote another post called YOU are a Travel Addict. I think you’ll like it:) Check it out: http://hopscotchtheglobe.com/you-are-a-travel-addict/

  6. Jo
    September 10, 2013 / 7:30 am

    Hi, Your post was amazing. My family and I (kids 8 & 9) returned 3 weeks ago from a year travelling. It was the most incredible thing we have ever done and I thought having travelled the world pre kids I would be more prepared for the return home. I was wrong, Its been manic getting kids into school and now the school runs and homework, god i’m missing our freedom. And as you said no one understands how you feel. Finding your post made me laugh and cry, thank you so much for doing it, you nailed it completely. I think what you say is right – embrace it! Keep up the good work, so happy I found your post. Heres to planning our next adventure!!!!!

    • kristenj
      September 18, 2013 / 7:20 pm

      Hi Jo! Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, there is nothing quite like the freedom travel gives you. So many people tell me that I must get all my travelling out of my system now because once I have kids, I won’t get to. I just look at them with the most puzzling look on my face. It’s incredible how many families I see during my travels. There’s nothing quite like watching young children running around, laughing and playing with the local kids. They can’t teach kids in school what travel can teach them. Where do you think you’ll go on your next adventure?

  7. millie
    July 22, 2013 / 3:02 am

    Wow! What an important post. You actually made me cry. I’ve never heard anyone address this topic before – I had only heard it mentioned briefly in passing. After living in southwest China, the reverse culture shock was absolutely overwhelming for me when I came back to Canada. A lot of traumatic things happened over there and it was the best and worst time of my life. I had been really looking forward to getting home, so was certainly not prepared for the emotional upheaval that would come. I hadn’t realized that I would feel so alienated. I was fortunate to have travelled with my husband, so I at least had him to talk to. Otherwise, no one at all could remotely begin to understand what I had gone through. Frankly, it’s also pretty disappointing that most people here don’t even want to hear about it either.
    I’m so glad I found your youtube channel first, and now this blog. I’ve been struggling now for eight long years trying to get back to “normal” to get back to my old life. Now I realize that that’s never going to happen. It happened on the surface, but I’ve been profoundly unhappy inside. When I set out I had no idea that doing that trip would change me, and now know that I’ve been living in denial about that. I found you because I was looking for packing tips for a trip to Europe this fall. It’s probably going to be the beginning of something completely different for me, now that I know I can’t go backwards, but must move forward. Thank-you.

    • kristenj
      July 23, 2013 / 8:38 pm

      Hi Millie! I’m so glad this post found you! I was struggling for over a year trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I googled everything I was feeling, trying to come up with the answers. I finally figured it out for myself and once I did, I felt better. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in this. You will never be the same once you travel and experience another world so different than your own. Now that you know you’re not alone, I hope this helps you deal with those nasty feelings when they arise the next time. Travelling makes you wiser and opens up a part of your mind, heart and soul. It is then hard for others around you who haven’t experienced what you’ve been through to relate so you feel alone. It’s also crazy when you arrive home after a life changing experience and see that nothing back home has changed. Anyways, I’m glad you are here and I look forward to chatting with you:)

  8. erickmoura
    May 22, 2013 / 12:05 am

    What an amazing description of that process! I know exactly what you are talking about, having traveled alone for the last time to India, 4 years ago – and I only spent 2 months… And it took me several months to integrate it, just like you said. Thank you….great reminder for me to get ready for the next trip!!

    • kristenj
      July 23, 2013 / 8:34 pm

      I’m so glad that this helped you understand you’re not alone. It’s interesting that no matter how many times I leave, I still suffer from PTD. It just means you grew so much in such a short time and learned a lot about yourself and the world. Sometimes we just don’t realize how much travelling makes us grow. Have so much from on your next travels.

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