“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” – Miriam Adeney
What comes to your mind when you think of vacation? Is it a five-star resort and sandy beach, an eco-village working holiday, a cruise, or maybe a guided tour? Vacations have different meanings for each and every one of us, but often one thing is common: we all feel the so-called post-travel blues.
It is often said that you need half as much time as you were away to process your trip. I have been home for eight years now and I’ll be honest–there are many moments where I am still processing the magnitude of what I experienced over six years of backpacking abroad. There are loads of clichés surrounding travel–such as “build a life you don’t need to escape from”–and while on some level I understand the intent behind them, I personally feel we should all escape often…and here is why.
Travelling offers us one of the greatest opportunities to get to know ourselves. As we travel and meet people, we see reflections of how we appear to others in who we meet and how we meet them. Many travel experiences can feel uncomfortable. If we spend enough time travelling, we will lose sleep, lose personal items, experience theft, get lost, and potentially find ourselves at the mercy of total strangers. It is this very uncomfortable feeling that sets into our bones, our veins, our brain waves, and permeates our hearts–becoming so visceral that we are forever changed. For me, upon pulling up to an airplane terminal, my body instantly makes the change to that curious, scared and excited state…and the opportunity to grow within takes flight.
This uncomfortableness is a feeling which I believe we need to bring back with us to our day-to-day lives, as it is the very place within which we have the greatest opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally. Think of it this way: when we travel, we sleep in, take in tourist attractions, have meals with people and share our excitement over what we see; we typically spend time in nature and try our hand at new things. Once we get home, we tend to eat at the same places (or skip meals altogether), take the same route, spend all of our time inside, and never make time to try something new. Is it any wonder we get the “soul blues”?
I am the first to admit that when I started to travel, I was indeed running. I’ll be honest–I didn’t know what I was running from at the time, but despite my retreat, an immense amount growth unfolded in the process. As a life coach, I am grateful for those years on the road, as they taught me what “living big” was like, as well as cultivating humility, gratitude, hardship, happiness, and growth (among other qualities), which I am able to translate into opportunities to encourage my clients to push their limits. I am not saying everyone should jump out of a plane at 18,000 feet–although this will teach you something about yourself, too–rather, I am saying that if you keep doing the same things, you will get the same results.
Remember, “not all who wander are lost”; some are just ensuring their growth buttons are being engaged by leaning into curiosity and exploration full throttle. If those wandering are lost is that really such a bad thing? That wandering can lead to a whole realm of possibilities never before imagined. As for the travel blues sign me up because in the space of uncomfortable away or adjusting back at home lies immense opportunity for growth!