When people travel they often hear about homesickness and the culture shock that can occur from visiting new countries. A big mental issue that is overlooked when traveling is the post-trip depression that occurs when returning home. Primarily, it occurs after extended trips or stays in another country and can affect everyone differently. I myself faced the burden of post-trip depression because of what I experienced in Ecuador. The reintegration process into the United States was harder than integrating into the communities that we helped at. Although it can be overwhelming, it is good to reflect on what you saw and experienced while not at home because it can help you make sense of what you’re feeling.
While I was trying to reintegrate back into society [Click here for ways to combat it] from Ecuador and trying to get back to working a 9-5 job, I felt my mental health slipping. I felt distant while being home, the things I enjoyed prior to the trip weren’t nearly as enjoyable, and I felt I couldn’t talk about what I did and saw with anyone because they wouldn’t understand how I experienced it. It felt like I was looking through black-and-white filtered glasses the first week and a half being back, and it made me want to be back in Ecuador even more. As time passed, it got better and (although my heart still misses Ecuador) my net of supporters helped me through the hardest part of it. I am grateful for the experiences I had and hope to be able to return one day.
Even though it does eventually pass, still treat post-trip depression with scrutiny and take care of yourself during this time. If you can, take time from work/school so that you can focus on yourself and your reintegration back into the daily grind of life back at home. Make sure you have a safety net to help you get back on your feet when you’re feeling blue, and to ensure that you aren’t going too hard too quickly.
Every form of depression is as important as the other, and everyone that has felt this type, or another should take the time to understand why they’re feeling under the weather and how you can eventually get over it. Just remember the time you spent in the other country or wherever your trip took you, reflect on what you experienced, take some time for yourself, and look forward to your next adventure.
Whether near or far, an adventure is an adventure.