Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Feeding Your Travel Bug

It has been over two years since I wrote about the post-travel blues: that feeling of depression, or comedown, that hits once your trip of a lifetime has come to an end. I thought I’d return to the topic today to shed some new insights into post-travel coping strategies. But first, to recap. Among the suggestions in my previous post are: Start working on your next trip; Take a short course; Be a tourist in your home town; Learn the Lingo; and Use the Internet to connect with like-minded travellers.

 Since returning to Australia in March from an eight month trip that took me across America, into Europe and finally to Cambodia, I have continued to feed my travel bug in three major ways:

By turning my best travel photographs into a constantly changing slide show
Like most people who travel today with any type of digital camera, I returned home with literally thousands of images saved to my laptop. Putting some of these to good use, I have created a folder for my favorite photos. These are programmed to change the Desktop image on my computer every 60 seconds. In this way, I am constantly reminded of my trip highlights, and always thinking about my next journey, which as of this post is less than a month away (when I head to Melbourne for a five week house sitting stay).

I have also started posting a daily photo online via my Twitter profile. This forces me to go through my files looking for interesting images to upload, which again serves as an ongoing reminder of the travels I have undertaken, and kept me focussed on the travels still to come.

By treating my return home as just another extended stay in a never ending journey

I figure if Bob Dylan can embark on a ‘Never Ending Tour’, I should be able to embark on a ‘Never Ending Journey’. Therefore, I try not to think in terms of being ‘home’. Instead, I tell myself I am simply paying an extended visit to Adelaide, from which in due course I will move on. So, after returning to Adelaide from Melbourne early in February, 2012, I will once again spend time here before heading to Europe in May, and America in July. And thus the never ending journey rolls on.

This is just a mental mind game, I know, but it works for me, and may well work for you too, so give it a try, and let me know how you get on.

By Writing, Reading, and Researching

It is far too easy to fall into the routine of the daily grind once you return from your travels. I deal with this by maintaining this blog, and by writing guest posts for other blogs. This forces me to remember my trip, and to engage with the wider travel community wherever it may be found.

I also read as many books as I can about the cities and countries I plan to visit. And by books I am not talking only about travel guides. I look for histories, biographies, and novels that will help give me an understanding of the culture and the countries I will be passing through.

Recent titles include Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies; Bill Brysons Life And Time of The Thunderbolt Kid; and The Historical Atlas of New York City by Eric Homberger. Right now I am reading two books, Bloody Crimes (James Swanson), about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the hunt for Jefferson Davis; and Douglas Brinkley’s The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and The Crusade for America.

Add to these a shelf full of books still waiting to be read covering Venice, the Crusades, the pirate Captain Kidd, and the history behind the gardens at Versailles (to name just a few areas of interest), and you can see how I manage to keep myself occupied when I’m not actually on the road – or online.

Quite frankly, there is almost never a waking hour when I am not thinking in some way about travel: either journey’s I have completed, those about to begin, or still others on the distant horizon. I think it is fair to say, my travel bug is constantly being fed on a steady diet of information, images, and ongoing plans that help keep it full and focussed on the next travel ‘meal’.

Feel free to share your strategies for dealing with the post-travel blues via the Comments section below.

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