“One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true-the joy of anticipating is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life.”
― Maria Von Trapp
It’s true that I’m always happiest when I have a trip coming up. The planning and preparation, the packing lists I make in my head, all of this adds to the excitement of what’s to come.
But sometimes when I return, instead of feeling refreshed and joyful, I get what the internet calls post-travel depression. All of a sudden, “real-life” can feel tedious and empty, until I plan my next trip…and the cycle repeats.
So, I asked myself “when you love to travel, is it harder to be content at home?”
In the last 10 months, my concept of home has gone through several transformations. In August, I left an apartment I’d loved for four years, moved my things into storage, and started housesitting for my parents. Between September and January, I spent only a couple of weeks in my home city of Montreal, and in the midsts of all the chaos, did something fairly scary and surprising…
I bought a condo.
It came as a shock to most of the people around me because they thought I was done with Montreal or that I’d become a digital nomad.
When I finally got back to the city and officially moved into my 500-square-foot box, something else happened: I didn’t have any travel plans. My bank account was pretty depleted, my long-distance relationship was fizzling out, and I was tired.
For three months, I stopped watching flights, I didn’t sign up for any out-of-town conferences and even took a break from travel blogging (sorry). But that’s also when I learned to be happy in my new little home — happy with the routine, being present in the city, while ignoring any urge to “escape”.
Here are the lessons I learned in my sedentary season that made me happier at home and can help you fight post-travel depression.
1. Make your home a haven
This one is pretty obvious: make your home somewhere you’re excited to return to. While travelling is certainly a luxury in itself, there are some comforts only home can provide. Make your home inviting, cozy, and a place that offers different, but equally awesome perks.
Purchases that didn’t make sense when I was travelling a lot all of a sudden became an option. I started using nice candles, got some houseplants, and reinvested in my kitchen so I had a nice set up to cook. I even got a carbonated water dispenser, so I have sparkling water on demand. It goes without saying, setting yourself up to love your space will change the way you feel about leaving.
2. Invest in people
Ever feel like you’re always RSVP’ing NO to things because you’re away? Being home for a good chunk of time allowed me to be available to my friends and church in a more meaningful way. Instead of just casual ‘catching up’ chats, I had the time to have real, deep, and significant conversations.
If you feel like your life is going to be so boring when you get back from a trip, make plans to look forward to. Give yourself enough time to rest but don’t let that turn into a slump. Get back into caring about your friend’s lives and you’ll feel more grounded, connected, and purposeful.
3. Celebrate the rewards of routine
I love novelty but there are some benefits you can only get from routine, repetition, and practice. When it was more clear I’d be home for three months, I renewed my pilates membership and joined a ballet class. Being able to stick to something for weeks at a time felt great. With every class, I feel stronger and more confident in my abilities. I love the challenge and look forward to getting back to class if I miss one.
Committing to something long-term creates a sense of attachment that can help create joy in your routine. If you have something you’re working towards, you’ll be happy to come back from a trip and pick up where you left off.
4. Take time to enjoy your travel memories
When I was getting back from Europe, it occurred to me I take travel for granted. Some people save up for a few years to afford a trip like that. They plan every single element of it and cherish the memories for years to come. I was off the plane, laundry in the washing machine, and on to the next adventure with no real appreciation.
Being home allowed me to revisit the memories of my recent travels in a more deliberate way. By retracing my journeys, taking notes of the sights, smells, and potential blog content, I was so much more grateful for them. For anyone feeling down after getting back from a big trip, editing photos, looking at maps, or putting together a travel journal can really help stretch the joy and wonder of a recent adventure.
5. Rediscover your own city
I love my city but sometimes I wish I could see it with fresh eyes. Luckily, there are still parts of Montreal that surprise me. Making time to go to a neighbourhood I haven’t seen in a while is a fun way to break up a routine, see something new, and do something I could only do in Montreal.
I also love playing the role of the travel guide when visitors come to town. Even if I’m not the tourist, I get to relive all the awe and excitement through their experience of the city. It revives my appreciation for the place I call home.
Want to see more photos of my tiny condo? Browse the gallery.
Happy Travels xox