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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Post Travel Depression



It's a fairly common thing for people who travel. They have an amazing trip. The highs are higher. The lows are lower. Life is more intense. Then you get back home. It feels good to connect with people. You might kick back a few days. You take some hot showers and eat some good meals. All is good, right?

Maybe not. Life become pretty bland. At first people may be interested in the things you've done, but interest soon wanes. After a while nobody wants to keep hearing about the amazing things you've seen. They heard about it once or twice, and really, that's enough. Life goes on.

You can feel pretty empty at that point, especially if you've had to step back into a normal life. Some people find the only way to deal is to head out on another adventure. That's how you get people who circumnavigate the planet six times. Some people hike the Appalachian Trail, come back, then soon are planning their next big hike. Many cannot go back to their old lives at all.

Let's assume, however, that you choose to continue with your old life, at least for a while. How do you deal with the depression? How do I keep it at bay? I've got a few things in my favor.

The first is that my lovely wife and I were gone for three and a half months. That's long enough that taking a break doesn't feel too bad. It's those who do something for a week or two, then have to go right back to work that have real difficulty. They had just settled into adventure mode and then find themselves back in the mundane world. Some people, near the end of their adventure, are already getting depressed as they aren't ready to return.

When we got back, we took some time to connect with family and friends. That was a good transition. Electronic communication is nice, but doesn't replace human contact. Hugs don't transmit well over the air waves.

For a while, I was too busy getting the house up and running to get depressed. Then we both dove into a lot of home projects that have been piling up. We are at the point now where all the critical stuff has been dealt with. There's time to think, and maybe time to start feeling a bit down. One can't work full speed all the time.

We've taken a few short trips, and that helps. Time sailing on the lake helps. It's good to get out of the house, even if just for a day or two.

One of the big things that keeps me going is planning the next adventure. With our camping rig heading for the boneyard, we have to figure out a lot of stuff from scratch. We can't just do what we did last year. I'm filling up notebooks with ideas, and doing a lot of research.

That's great, but I have to find a balance. Somehow I have to divide my time between my responsibilities and my adventures. Lately I may have been avoiding certain responsibilities for mental health reasons. I could justify putting some more boring things to the back burner as there was plenty of other projects in need of doing. Now it's time to buckle down and knock off some of those things I've been avoiding. It might be safe to do so, without those things driving me crazy.

-Sixbears

8 comments:

  1. I worked with a depressed adventurer years ago. He discovered mountain climbing soothed his soul, until he climbed Mt. Everest where 7 people died during a terrible blizzard at the top of the mountain, including himself temporarily. He lost his nose and hands to frostbite and now seems quite content to stay at home. He still works as a pathologist and is on the lecture circuit.

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    1. I read about him. Amazing story.

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  2. It's hard to strike a happy balance, you're right. It's also hard to get out and take care of the mundane chores that need doing. When I got on the internet this afternoon, it was to avoid a task outside!

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    1. It's raining right now and that's excuse enough for me. Never mind that some of those projects are inside projects. :)

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  3. I know how you feel. I have just a handful of small projects but find more excuses not to do them than a seven year old who's told to take out the garbage!

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    1. Those small projects are more attractive if there's a big project to avoid. :)

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