Historically, one of my biggest struggles with travelling (and I know I’m not alone in this) is the dreaded back-to-reality feelings that can hit me like a debilitating blow, usually on the last day of any getaway. Most people don’t relish the idea of returning to work and to whatever other obligations may await them, but for me, this transition could be paralyzing at times. Travel expands my human experience in such a way that I have had immense difficulty returning to “normal” life afterwards. This reaction is no longer as prominent for me after making some big life changes (namely, moving somewhere that I absolutely love as well as establishing a better work/life balance); however, on a smaller scale, I have also adopted many simple but meaningful strategies to help ease the transition and keep my spirits high during the journey home from any destination.
Plane ride home
- Relish this last opportunity to remain completely unplugged from the rest of the world. I love the feeling that planes in particular cultivate of being in a comforting bubble, offline and unavailable. I utilize this time to watch movies and documentaries or to listen to podcasts or travel playlists (streaming apps are my best friend here- I always take time to download hours of offline content before I leave for any trip). Ensure you have something inspiring and comforting to watch or listen to on the last leg of your journey.
- While waiting in airports or embarking on long journeys home, I will usually spend some time reviewing all of the photos I took. This not only reminds me of the amazing things I have seen and done while away, but allows me time to really reflect with gratitude. Nothing makes me smile more than the new memories I have created.
- If I have not already taken the time to journal throughout my travels I will always take down some notes on the way home as a way of processing my experience and what I learned. I will write about what inspired me, what difficulties I encountered and how I overcame them, lessons learned and takeaways that I would like to incorporate into my daily life at home.
First night back
- Self-care is paramount upon returning home; I often need reminders to be as gentle with myself as I can. I touch base with those I need to but in general I try to dial inwards. The explosion of connection can be overwhelming at first- particularly if you are coming off of airplane mode for the first time. I stay offline as much as I can the first night to lessen anxiety, remain calm and not overwhelm myself with what I may have missed.
- Things like taking a bath, picking up healthy take-out or cooking a cozy meal depending on time of day and energy level are welcome comforts. Go to bed when you are tired and listen to what your body needs. Stretch. Light candles.
- Unpack right away if you can- for me this is a must to help ground myself and feel organized and settled back into my surroundings.
First weekend at home
- Before leaving on any trip, I try to plan something in advance for my first weekend back to ensure I reconnect in a positive way with my reality and life at home. Whether this is a hike, yoga class, breakfast or coffee with a friend at a favourite local spot, it helps me to fall back into step with my routines and daily rhythms.
- Focus on what you love about where you live and find a way to celebrate that upon your return.
First few months back
- If I have the means, I like to plan a weekend or a night away within the first few months back from a longer trip. The feelings of sadness and longing that I can experience at the conclusion of my travels always hit hard; to keep me looking ahead with positivity, I need to know what is coming up next. Having a mini-getaway to look forward to really helps to lessen the post-travel blues. I like to keep it close to home but even one night away can help to re-ignite the joy of exploring and seeing someplace new.
Within the year
- Start dreaming of and planning your next epic adventure- regardless of how far in the future it may be. I like to start building a loose timeline and then work towards it- pick a destination and decide on an ideal year/season to visit, start researching, start saving; never stop exploring. As soon as I set an intention for my next trip, I come alive- it truly helps to stave off any feelings of stagnation that may surface over time in day-to-day life.
Are there any other specific strategies you use to re-acclimate to life back home with more ease after travelling? I would love to know.